The tamarind is an evergreen tree native to Africa, but it spread to India in prehistoric times and then to Southeast Asia. Today tamarind is very popular in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the United States, it is commonly known as an important ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
The large (about 5-inch-long) pods contain small seeds and a sour-sweet pulp that, when dried, becomes extremely sour. Tamarind brings an acidic zing to food. It is a much-valued food ingredient in many Asian and Latin American recipes. High in carbohydrates, the tamarind provides a moderate amount of the B vitamins, protein, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and niacin.
Tamarind is essential to Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cooking, giving foods a sweet-tart flavor and it appears throughout various other cuisines. You can use tamarind in grilling glazes, barbecue sauces, and curries as well as stir-fries and soups.