The brown pod-like fruit of the tamarind tree is a cooking ingredient used across Southern Asia for its sour flavor and ability to tenderize meat.
Tamarind refers to two things: the tamarind tree, and the brown, pod-like fruit that grows on it. Within this fruit, you’ll find a tangy, sweet pulp. And that is where the magic lies.
This pulp is a popular ingredient around the world — particularly in the tropics — and, in Asia, is common in the south and southeast. In these cuisines, it’s often used in sauces, stews, chutneys, or marinades (and is one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce). Even more fun, candies and desserts can be flavored with tamarind, too!
The flavor of tamarind varies based on the age of the fruit at harvest; young tamarind is quite sour but still has value for pickling and other, more specific uses. More mature tamarind, though, is more frequently called-for and is the taste you’re more likely to encounter.
Next time you’re cooking with tamarind, you can find tamarind in our produce department as well as tamarind base or concentrate in our grocery department. And, if you’re in the mood for tamarind-flavored sweets, we carry those alongside our other candies.