Tamarind Syrup

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Tamarind syrup is made from the fruit of a shade tree that grows in India. The tamarind is often referred to as an Indian date. Its seeds are encased in pods, and have a sweet-sour pulp that is dried and used for flavoring. In Middle Eastern cuisine, this sweet syrup is used much like lemon juice is in Western foods. It adds flavor to chutney, curries and pickled fish.

Tamarind Syrup Has Many Uses

This versatile syrup is also one of the main ingredients in Worcestershire sauce. A popular Arabic drink consists of tamarind juice and resembles lemonade. In lentil dishes, it acts as a souring agent for curry and other dishes. It has a more pure flavor than lemon juice or vinegar. Meat dishes often feature tamarind, which gives them a tangy sourness.

Everything from rice to meat to beverages can be flavored with tamarind syrup. The seeds of the tamarind lend a tang to any recipe, and can therefore be an acceptable substitute for vinegar or lemon juice. It is also used to make soda. Adding the syrup to soda water makes a sparkling and refreshing beverage similar to a cola drink.

Tamarind syrup gives Middle Eastern cooking a distinctive taste. It is available at Arabic food stores and specialty markets, where you will find everything you need to make Arabic delicacies using this fruity syrup. Tamarind should be in the kitchen of every good Middle Eastern cook.

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