Tamarind sees many applications as a flavour in both sweet and savoury dishes.
From tasty soups to fresh juices, many people have found a new love in tamarind.
This article will cover what tamarind tastes like and common questions related to its taste.
What Does Tamarind Taste Like?
Tamarind is a tropical fruit that comes from the Tamarind tree. The fruit grows in seed pods and has a date-like texture. But, this texture has nothing to do with its taste.
When fresh out of the pod, tamarind exists as a sticky pulp. This pulp is high in tartaric acid, which gives it a range of sweet and sour taste.
The taste of the tamarind fruit ranges from sweet and tangy to a sour and tarty flavour. The wide range in taste is owed to how ripe the tamarind is.
The more mature and ripe the fruit is, the sweeter. However, the less ripe the Tamarind fruit is, the sourer it tastes.
Many will describe the fruit as something similar to tropical lemonade with a hint of caramel. At first, it’s sweet, and then a tarty sourness creeps up your throat.
Does Tamarind Taste Like Fruit?
Depending on the fruit you have in mind, tamarind does indeed taste like fruit. However, the exact fruit it tastes like depends on when the fruit was harvested.
Tamarind that experiences a quick harvest will taste as sour as lemons or limes. However, it may not be as bitter.
Tamarind can also taste as sweet as bananas! But, this is only common with Tamarind fruits that have gotten very ripe and mature.
So, you see, tamarind does taste like fruit, but the exact flavour is dependent on various factors. How you cook or eat tamarind can also affect its fruit-like taste.
What Does Tamarind Sauce Taste Like?
One of the answers to the question of how to eat tamarind is this – make a sauce. However, this begs a follow-up question of what tamarind sauce tastes like.
There are many ways people make tamarind sauce which can affect the final taste. Still, the typical flavours associated with tamarind sauce are sweet and tart.
Experimenting with condiments when making your sauce with tamarind can lead to various exciting tastes. For instance, with red chilli in your tamarind sauce, you’d get a sweet and sour taste.
Omit, ginger and garlic added to chilli pepper will get you hot tamarind sauce. Bear in mind that adding sugar will taper off the sourness of your sauce.
What Does Tamarind Paste Taste Like?
The paste from the tamarind fruit is, more often than not, very sour. Sometimes, it may have a hint of the citrus flavour. Some people also report that it tastes like caramel.
An alternative for tamarind sauce is a paste from the same fruit. Most people who use tamarind paste find that it is an equally satisfying alternative.
Although tamarind paste can be an ingredient in the tamarind sauce, the tamarind paste can stand on its own.
However, unlike its sauce counterpart, tamarind paste usually requires an ample amount of sugar. This helps to cancel out the sourness from the fruit.
Tamarind paste finds application in many recipes, including desserts, beverages, candies, and even cocktails. The paste is particularly common in various Asian dishes such as Thai Stir-Fry Tamarind Shrimp.
Many people also use the acidic property of tamarind paste to tenderise meat.
How to Eat Tamarind
There are several ways you can enjoy the fruit of the tamarind tree. But first, let us tell you the various forms in which you can encounter tamarind.
- Raw pods
In this form, the tamarind has undergone the least amount of processing. Here, the pods are still intact. So, you only need to open the cocoon and remove the tamarind pulp.
- Pressed block
Here, the shells and seeds of the tamarind fruit are no longer together. The resulting pulp is then compressed, under high pressure, into a block. However, the tamarind undergoes no chemical process. So, it is only one leap away from the raw tamarind.
- Tamarind Concentrate
Concentrates of tamarind have undergone boiling. Through evaporation, the water content drastically reduces to give tamarind in high concentrations.
Now that you know the forms in which you can get tamarind let us see how to eat it.
You may add tamarind in its many forms to any meal of your choice. It is sure to give you a sweet-sour flavour that you’d love.
You can also add tamarind to your juices and even beverages. We especially recommend this for people willing to try tamarind but are not ready to dive in.
Furthermore, tamarind is a superb addition to your sauce. Many dishes and desserts across the globe benefit from an addition of tamarind.
Also, you may use tamarind paste to make candy. Be sure to put in sugar though! Besides, this beautiful fruit is an excellent replacement for lemon
Another tip on how to eat tamarind is to use it when making condiments such as chutney. Many people also use frozen tamarind as syrup when cooking.
If you are an adventurous person, you can combine tamarind in numerous exciting ways when cooking. Whichever way you choose to use this fruit, you are sure to end up with a delicacy.
Can You Eat Tamarind Raw?
The prospect of eating tamarind raw raises several questions in most people’s minds. ‘What does raw tamarind taste like?’ ‘Is it safe to eat tamarind raw?’
Right off the bat, the answer is ‘yes’. You can eat tamarind raw. Indeed, it is quite healthy to eat tamarind without cooking or anything.
Furthermore, when you eat raw tamarind, you get the full hit of its flavour – sweetness, tanginess and all. So that is another thing to look forward to.
If you need more incentives, here is a list of some of the nutrients that are present in the tamarind pulp. In 120 grams of raw unprocessed tamarind, you get:
- 19% Iron
- 9% Calcium
- 28% Magnesium
- 22% Potassium
- 14% Phosphorus
- 34% Vitamin B1
- 1% Vitamin B2
- 12% Vitamin B3
All the above nutrients are beneficial in various ways to the body. More importantly, they are present in raw tamarind.
How Many Tamarinds Should I Eat?
We have established that consuming tamarind is beneficial to your health in several ways. However, many people wonder if they are limits to how much you should eat.
There is no specific amount of tamarind that is safe. Instead, it is best to watch how your body reacts to the amount you eat.
Then, you can decide whether to increase your consumption rate or cut down on it. As a rule of thumb, it is best you start with small amounts and then take it from there.
However, if you are prone to issues with your weight, you should watch out for the tamarind fruit. This is because of its high-calories content.
Otherwise, you can eat as much tamarind as you want!
Can I Eat Raw Tamarind Seeds?
Now that you know what tamarind tastes like, you may wonder, does its seed have anything special to it? If you are wondering if you can eat raw tamarind seeds, you are not alone.
While the seeds of the tamarind fruit are not poisonous, we do not recommend eating them raw. Instead, they are ways you can safely enjoy the health benefits of tamarind seeds.
- You may choose to grind your tamarind seeds to make juice. Then, you can quickly drink it when you want. You may also throw in some tamarind pulp for a better taste.
- Also, tamarind seed water is another way to enjoy its benefits. You can achieve this by boiling the seeds in about a glass of water. Do this until it is enough to make a cup of tea.
- You may also dry out the seeds and then grind it into powder. Then, you can pour a teaspoon into a glass of water and drink.
These are a few ways you can consume tamarind seeds without posing a threat to your health.
How to Store Tamarind
Knowing how to store your tamarind correctly will ensure they are excellent and fresh when you need them. Here are some tips on saving your tamarind.
You can store whole pods in a cool, dark place that is at room temperature (a pantry works fine). Tamarind pods can usually last an extended period this way, years even.
But, if you have to open it, you can keep them in the freezer. But, make sure to wrap them up tightly. In the freezer, the pods can last as long as three months.
Seal jars of tamarind concentrates can also store indefinitely in your pantry. When opened, you can keep them in your freezer.
To Sum Up
Tamarind fruit is quite the treat with the entire range of flavours that it offers. Its health benefits are merely incentives for many.
Hopefully, we have been able to answer your questions on what tamarind tastes like and more.
Have fun surprising your friends and family with your tamarind flavoured dishes!