(Tamr Hindi, Indian Date, Asam, Asem Jawa)
Tamarind is the sticky flesh of the fruit of a tree native to East Africa and Madagaskar. It was spread to India and South East Asia a long time ago, and later on also to Australia and South America. The latin name of the tree is Tamarindus Indica.
The name "Tamarind" was derived from the Arabic "Tamr Hindi" which means Indian Date. If you look at the picture of Tamarind pulp below, you can see why.
Block of Tamarind Pulp.
Tamarind has a very specific acidic aroma. The pulp of the ripe fruit that you can buy in Indian or Asian markets or tokos has a distinct sweet and sour taste.
Tamarind is used extensively in India and South East Asia cuisine. In India it is an important ingredient in various chutneys. In Mexico and South American countries like Peru it is used in candy and soft drinks.
Of course, Tamarind is one of the exotic ingredients available in our cabinet of barbecue spices. You can use Tamarind to add a specific sweet and sour aroma to a marinade, basting sauce or barbecue sauce.
By the way, Tamarind is an important ingredient in commercial products like Worcestershire Sauce and HP Sauce.
Other Use of Tamarind
Tamarind pulp can be used to clean brass and silver. In some temples in Thailand that's the way they do it.