#BlackHistoryEats / Day 15 / Tamarind




  • Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a tropical plant that is native to Africa (particularly the Sudan)
  • 5,000 years ago it made it's way to Asia and more recently in the last several hundred years, parts of South America and Mexico. The fruit is actually in a seed pod, making tamarind a legume!
  • Without a doubt, tamarind has had a significant impact on Indian cuisine (in some places they are referred to as "Indian dates") so much so that many mistakenly think tamarind originates from India 
  • There is evidence dating back to roughly 500 BC suggesting that tamarind was widely used amongst Egyptians 
  • Tamarind trees get very large and provide a lot of shade. They are also very low maintenance. On average they continue producing fruit for roughly 60 years. Tamarind tree wood is very durable and also has curative antibacterial properties


  • Tamarind dry pulp is a significant source of iron, vitamins B and C. It's sweet-n-sourness is due to it's richness in natural sugar as well as tartic acid
  • Tamarind seeds are made up of complex carbohydrates, heart healthy oils, and essential amino acids and protein
  • Tamarind pulp has long been used as a laxative in many parts of Africa. It's roots and bark have been used as a way to treat sore throats and coughing by creating a hot tea. Some also use tamarind as a remedy for diarrhea 
  • Tamarind has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for gastrointestinal problems for thousands of years


  • It has been eaten dried as candy (Mexico), it it used both as a fruity drink and a carbonated soda beverage similar to Coca Cola (Mali and other part of Africa), mixing into millet porridge called "ugali" (Uganda), as a part of soups, curries, and chutneys (India), in a addition to so many other uses
  • Tamarind extract is the secret ingredient of Worcestershire sauce, giving it that subtly sweet and tangy flavor, as well as Jamaican Pickapeppa sauce and other barbecue like sauces 
  • Here is a recipe for a Somalian sauce called "shidni" (a mix of tamarind and chilli)
  • Here is a recipe for Black Beans in a Spicy Tamarind Sauce