Tamarind: useful properties and contraindications
They say that in life you need to try everything. Lovers of gourmet cuisine understand this expression in the literal sense of the word. The tamarind fruit is a familiar food for the peoples of Africa and Asia, but for Europeans this product is still a culinary exotic.
- What is a tamarind
- How it looks
- Where does it grow?
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of tamarind
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- In Pregnancy
- When breastfeeding
- For kids
- What is Tamarind Paste Good for?
- Tamarind in cosmetology
- Harms and contraindications
- How to choose and store
- How to eat tamarind correctly
- Cooking Usage
- Sour-sweet gravy with fresh fruit
- Tonic drink
- Shrimp with tamarind sauce
- Homemade Worcester sauce
- Spicy soup with pork ribs
- Chicken kebab
- Vegetarian pilaf with tamarind
- Chinese peanut sauce
- Interesting facts about tamarind
What is a tamarind
Tamarind is a tree that grows in the tropical belt of the planet. In the botanical catalog, it is referred to as the Indian date or Indian tamarind. The plant belongs to the legume family and is the only representative of its species.
What it looks like
Tamarind is an evergreen tree that grows up to 20 m. The wood of the plant is unusual in appearance: the inner part of the trunk is composed of a hard dark red core, while the soft sapwood is colored light yellow.
The small, oval leaves are green to moderately green, and the leaf laminae are thin and moderately stiff. There are 10 to 40 leaves on each twig. The arrangement of the leaves is the same as that of the fern or acacia.
Once a year, the tamarind is densely covered with lush inflorescences. The flowers have an unusual and beautiful shape. The oblong, pointed petals are arranged in a corolla with long, ornately curved stamens and pistils inside. The petals may be white, pale pink or reddish in color, and the color of the lower and upper petals may vary.
The fruit of a tamarind is a pod (bean). The pod is 18-22 cm long and 2-3 cm thick. Inside the hard rind are seeds surrounded by a dense, "fleshy" pericarp, which resembles date pulp in appearance and consistency. The seeds are smooth, large, and have an angular-round shape. The appearance of the seeds resembles pebbles or rounded crystals.
Where does it grow?
The tree is native to the tropics of eastern Africa and the island of Madagascar, where tamarind grows in deciduous dry forests. Even before Christ, travelers took the seeds and spread the plant species far beyond its natural range. Now the tamarind grows not only on the African continent, but also in the tropical regions of Asia and on the islands of Oceania.
Already in the 16th century the tree was introduced to Central and South America and became well established in local soils. The species is cultivated as an ornamental and agricultural crop.
Composition and calories
100 g of raw tamarind contains 239 kcal. The composition of the product includes:
- plant proteins - 2.8 g;
- carbohydrates - 57.4 g;
- vegetable fats - 0.6 g;
- water - 30-31 g;
- fiber - 5,1 g;
- ash substances - 2.7 g.
- Energy value of 100 g of fruit - 1000 kJ.
The pulp of raw tamarind contains large amounts of vitamin A, beta-carotene, all kinds of B vitamins (folate, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, choline, thiamine and riboflavin). The product contains a lot of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), E, PP, K.
Tamarind contains macro- and macro-nutrients. There is a lot of potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, sodium. The product is rich in iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Tamarind has complex amino acids necessary for metabolic processes - lysine, tryptophan, methionine. The pulp contains fatty acids - stearic, myristic, oleic (omega-9), linoleic and palmitic acids as well as omega-6 groups. Tamarind is rich in sugars (di- and monosaccharides) and pectin.
Useful properties of tamarind
The high content of vitamins and a variety of microelements make tamarind a useful and nutritious product. It also has a therapeutic effect. Let us list the important useful properties of the plant.
- The product contains organic acids, vegetable fibers and oils, so it improves digestion and contributes to the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Fresh tamarind leaves are used to treat skin rashes, have an anti-inflammatory effect, reduce irritation and itching.
- Infusions of fruit, bark and leaves have a calming and relaxing effect.
- Tamarind can reduce acids in the stomach, which is important for healing ulcers, treating colitis, bacterial and non-bacterial inflammation.
- The pulp of the fruit has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
- The product is able to restore the hormonal background of the body and functions of the genital system.
- The substances in the fruit are antioxidants and bind free radicals that trigger the formation of tumors.
- The presence of potassium, selenium, sodium in the fruit helps to improve the heart and circulatory system.
- The product is useful for patients with anemia, as it contains a large amount of iron.
- The fruit contains vitamins that are important for maintaining immunity.
- Antioxidants, which are rich in tamarind, promote cell renewal and slow down the aging process of the body.
- The product reduces the level of "harmful" cholesterol and prevents many diseases of the cardiovascular system.
- Tamarind is useful for people suffering from hypertension.
- Residents of the subtropics are well aware of the effect of tamarind on digestion. People who include the product in their diet notice that this fruit improves appetite.
According to Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine), tamarind is effective in treating diarrhea. Healers believe that when diarrhea occurs, the intestines are quickly cleansed of poisonous, disease-causing and irritating substances, after which the body will launch recovery processes.
According to traditional recipes of Asian healers, decoctions are prepared from the bark and leaves to treat malaria. The drink helps in the treatment of infectious diseases of tropical countries and nervous fever.
Tamarind and dishes with supplements of this fruit are useful for women suffering from hormonal failures. It can be eaten, taken in the form of infusions and decoctions for female diseases accompanied by inflammatory processes.
This plant belongs to the strong aphrodisiacs, acting specifically on women. The product increases the sensitivity and sexuality of the fair sex.
The product has a healing effect on any foci of inflammation, so it is good to include it in the diet for acute inflammation of the prostate. Men can eat tamarind for infectious diseases, to improve immunity and maintain vitality.
There is no unequivocal opinion on whether to include tamarind fruits in the diet of pregnant women. Some sources argue that the future mother should completely exclude such products from her menu. Other authors believe that the fruit can be eaten, but not often and in small amounts.
Public sources do not contain any information about the harm of tamarind for breastfeeding mothers. Most likely, such studies have not been conducted, so it is better to exclude the product from the menu when breastfeeding. In any case, both during pregnancy and when breastfeeding should be consulted with a gynecologist and a pediatric doctor.
Folk healers recommend taking tamarind decoction to expel worms, including in children. The same drink has a laxative and soothing effect. If the mother has doubts about the use of the plant for therapeutic purposes, it is better to consult a pediatrician. The doctor will give recommendations, with what age it is possible to treat the child with such remedies and how to prepare them.
In weight loss
The product is able to suppress the feeling of hunger and stop the "rumbling" in the stomach that occurs at the sight of food. This property of the fruit is used by people who lose weight and include it in their diet.
The fruit of the plant contains hydroxylimonic acid, which interacts with stomach enzymes, reducing the time of their interaction with food. This prevents excessive accumulation of nutrients.
Hydroxylimonic acid derived from the fruit is included in supplements for those who want to lose weight. This substance can also be found in other weight loss products.
What are the benefits of tamarind paste
There are two kinds of tamarind fruit. The fruits differ in taste. Sweet and sour-sweet fruits are eaten without any processing, in their natural form. They have a characteristic taste reminiscent of a mixture of good prunes and apricots or berry marmalade. Paste is made from sour varieties. Both types of fruit emit a strong, rich fruity flavor.
Store-bought tamarind paste is a thick, dark brown mass. Factory-made product differs from homemade paste in its density and viscosity. Homemade tamarind paste is available at markets in southeast Asia. When cooking, take into account the concentration of the product: the higher the viscosity of the mass, the smaller the amount of tamarind the cook will need. In an "overdose", the food may turn out too sour, astringent and tart.
The paste has the same composition as the raw fruit. The product retains all the vitamins, organic acids, macro- and micronutrients of the original raw material. Concentrated fruit mass has bactericidal, antimicrobial, laxative effect. The product exhibits aphrodisiac properties in the same way as fresh fruit pulp.
Tamarind paste is sold in glass jars, plastic containers, soft plastic packaging and is a liquid or viscous concentrate. It can be a thick, highly concentrated juice, ready to use.
Tamarind in Cosmetology
In China, Thailand and other Asian countries, tamarind is commonly used in beauty salons. Infusions, decoctions and compresses of fresh leaves are used to treat acne and other skin diseases. From plant material make masks and baths. The pulp of the fruit is used for compresses and wraps.
Concentrates and extracts from the leaves and fruits of the tree are included in dozens of cosmetic preparations of factory production. The plant components are an important ingredient in lotions, lightening creams and masks. Tamarind is contained in gels, tonics, cleansing scrubs. Cosmetic products have a rejuvenating, bactericidal, antimicrobial, soothing effect.
Pharmacological companies and cosmetic manufacturers use as raw material not only the leaves and pulp, but also the seeds of the plant. They are ground to powder, made into extracts and added to anti-wrinkle creams, treatments for fading and dry skin. With regular use of products renews the skin, triggers the process of regeneration and rejuvenation of cells.
The active ingredient of plant raw materials is xyloglucan. This organic compound binds water molecules more actively than hyaluronic acid. As a result, the skin remains moist and fresh even in dry air, which is especially important for ageing and aging skin.
Its whitening properties help to get rid of age spots. Creams that include a plant extract of the plant are used to protect against the sun's ultraviolet rays. Antioxidants contained in the seeds of tamarind help maintain and restore collagen in the skin.
Tamarind (amber) oil is produced from the seeds of the plant by artisanal and factory methods, which is also used in cosmetology and medicine. It is extracted by direct pressing; quality raw material does not contain other vegetable oils, extraneous additives and colorants.
Tamarind oil is added to face and hair masks or simply rubbed into the scalp. With regular use, hair becomes shiny, thick and smooth. The itching stops, the skin is moisturized, and the hair cuticles are restored. The oil destroys fungal infection and skin parasites, so it is used for dermatological diseases.
Harms and contraindications
Tamarind fruits should not be eaten by people who have been diagnosed with stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers. The fruit has a laxative effect, which should be borne in mind when prone to diarrhea. The product is excluded from the diet if a person is treated with blood thinning drugs, because the combination of this group of medications with the exotic fruit can lead to internal bleeding.
Diabetics should consult with their doctor, because the pulp of the plant contains sugar. If an allergic reaction occurs, the product is completely excluded from the diet. The fruit is consumed with caution and in small portions, if there are kidney and liver diseases. It is forbidden in infectious diseases accompanied by diarrhea - dysentery and salmonellosis.
Do not eat unripe beans or use their pulp for cosmetic purposes. Green beans contain a lot of tannins and are bitter even after prolonged heat treatment.
How to choose and store
Fresh fruits of the Indian date can be bought in countries with tropical climates, where tamarind is grown. In Europe and Russia, this fruit is sold very rarely. When choosing a product pay attention to the condition of the skin of the fruit. The skin of the quality fruit is firm, even, with a uniform color.
A sign that the fruit is spoiled is a wrinkled, soft peel. If there is damage, cracks, and soft spots on the pod, you can assume that rot has penetrated inside the fruit. Fresh, quality fruit spreads a strong fruity aroma after peeling.
Unpeeled pods are stored for 5 to 7 days, using the bottom drawer of a refrigerator as the storage location. If kept in a room, the fruit will not stay fresh for more than 1 to 2 days. Dried tamarind loses a lot of water, and the sugar contained in the fruit is a preservative. Therefore, the shelf life of dried fruit and pressed pulp concentrate is 1.5-2 years.
How to eat tamarind properly
The pod is cut with a sharp knife lengthwise along the fruit to reveal all the pulp. This is not difficult to do, as the skin of the fruit is thin and quite soft. After making the cut, take the pod in your hands and with a light effort break it in half. After this, the fruit pulp is taken out and the seeds are extracted. They also remove the threadlike fibers which are not edible. Tamarind seeds are not eaten, they can be thrown away.
The fruit is good to eat in the morning, before or instead of breakfast. This product can replace dessert during lunch and afternoon snacks.
Tamarind fruits are suitable for making juices, cooling and toning tea, and invigorating drinks. The fruit is used as a confectionary additive in pastries, cakes, and desserts. It is used to make jellies and jams, jams and marmalades, as pectin is a natural thickening agent. Tamarind softens meat and gives it an exotic, spicy taste. Asian cuisine has many recipes for spicy, sour and sweet marinades, sauces, side dishes that are served with sushi, rolls, any meat, poultry and fish dishes.
Flavorful water with added tamarind is often prepared to accompany spicy dishes. Such a drink softens and complements the taste of oriental spices.
Sweet and sour gravy made with fresh fruit
To make the sauce you need:
- sour-sweet tamarind fruits;
- red pepper;
- Peel 3-4 tamarind pods, remove the pulp and remove the seeds. Pour the paste with warm boiled water and leave for 20-30 minutes, then drain the water.
- Dates are cut open, remove the pips and remove the hard skin from the fruit. The pulp is cut into small pieces.
- The ingredients are placed in a small saucepan, add a pinch of red hot pepper and a small piece of ginger root rubbed on a fine grater. One clove of garlic is peeled and pressed through a press (garlic crusher) and also put into a container.
- Gravy components whip with a fork or whisk. Add 150 ml of water, put the pot on the fire, bring to a boil and turn off the stove. Gravy stew under a lid for 5-8 minutes and remove from the stove.
To prepare the drink will need:
- A cup of cane brown sugar;
- 4 cloves of badjan (you can replace it with the same amount of anise);
- A glass of liquid tamarind paste;
- 3 cinnamon sticks;
- 4 cups of pineapple juice;
- one glass of water.
- Sugar is diluted in water and syrup is boiled. A couple of minutes before the end of boiling, add the badanian. The syrup is removed from the stove, cooled and poured into a large container (jar or pot).
- In the syrup put the tamarind paste and pour all the pineapple juice. The ingredients are stirred together. The drink can be served to the table.
This recipe is used to make a tonic drink in all the countries of Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese version of the recipe adds crushed roasted peanuts and a pinch of salt to the drink.
Shrimp with tamarind sauce
To prepare two servings of the dish take:
- 300 g of large shrimp;
- 2-2,5 tablespoons tamarind paste (no topping);
- 2 medium garlic cloves;
- chili pepper;
- A small sprig of cilantro.
- Boil shrimp, peel off shells, and fry in sunflower oil for no more than 2 to 3 minutes. You can use olive oil or mustard oil.
- Peppers are cleaned of seeds and ground in a blender along with garlic and coriander.
- The resulting mass is placed in a metal saucepan, add tamarind paste, a teaspoon of sugar, pour a glass of water and stir until smooth. Put the container on the stove and bring it to a boil with stirring.
- Pour the sauce into the pan, where the shrimp are fried, close the container with a lid and stew the dish for 3 minutes. Then spread the food on portion plates and serve.
Homemade Worcester Sauce
This famous sauce was "invented" in 19th century England. The product is good for hot appetizers, roasted meats, and stewed vegetables. The sauce is mass-produced in the food industry, but with the modern availability of products and seasonings, it can be prepared in the home kitchen. The cook will need:
- 1 medium-sized head of onion;
- 2 garlic cloves;
- 25 g of fresh ginger root;
- 2 small anchovies;
- 2 to 3 peas of black pepper;
- 3 tablespoons dry mustard;
- 0.5 tbsp. curry, ground red pepper, sugar;
- 2 cinnamon sticks;
- 3-4 pieces of dried clove seeds;
- 2 teaspoons cardamom;
- 30 ml table vinegar;
- 0.5 tsp. tamarind paste;
- 1 cup soy sauce;
- 100 ml water.
- Chop onion, garlic and ginger root into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add mustard powder, red pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. The components are mixed and transferred to a three-layer gauze bag.
- Tie the bag with a knot and place it in a saucepan. Pour sugar on top and put tamarind pulp, add table vinegar and soy sauce. The pot is placed on the stove, heated and the contents boiled for 40 minutes over low heat.
- In a separate bowl, combine chopped anchovies, curry, water and salt, stir the components and add the mixture to the pot.
- Finally, the sauce is removed from the stove and poured into a glass jar of the desired volume (along with a gauze bag). Close the jar with an airtight lid and put it in the fridge.
- The vessel is opened after a day, the spice bag is taken out and squeezed into the liquid, and the jar is closed again. After 2 weeks the bag is thrown away.
- The sauce is ready, it is poured into bottles and put in the fridge for storage. Shake the liquid before using.
Spicy soup with pork ribs
This first dish is prepared without potatoes. To prepare it, you will need:
- Onion of medium size;
- 5 garlic cloves;
- A red ripe tomato;
- A third of a cup of olive oil;
- half a cup of fish sauce;
- 1 white radish;
- 2.5 tablespoons tamarind paste;
- 0.6 cup water;
- 2 to 3 sprigs of spinach;
- Dice onion. Garlic is chopped on a fine grater. These ingredients are fried in a deep frying pan, in vegetable oil, until golden (3-4 minutes).
- Pork ribs are thoroughly washed. Peel radish and cut into large cubes.
- Put the meat and shredded vegetables into the pan (with the onion and garlic), pour the fish sauce. Stir the contents of the container, cover the pan tightly, bring the stock to a boil and stew for 10-12 minutes.
- Then pour water so that the vegetables and meat are almost completely covered with broth. The soup is boiled for 10 minutes, periodically removing the foam.
- Then add tamarind paste and salt, close the pot with the lid and continue cooking until the meat is tender (30-35 minutes).
- After that, add tomato chopped into rings, and finely chopped spinach. Keep the soup on low heat 5-6 minutes more. This dish is ready.
Chicken shish kebab
This is a very tasty and original dish for a holiday picnic outdoors. To prepare it, you will need the following products:
- 0.6 kg of chicken fillet or breast;
- onion of medium size;
- 2 cloves of garlic;
- 1 hot green pepper;
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin;
- One cup of tamarind juice (paste diluted in water to taste);
- 150 g green onion feathers.
- Prepare the vegetables first. The garlic and onion are peeled and finely chopped on a board. Pepper is cut open, peeled of seeds and cut into small pieces.
- In a pan with heated vegetable oil put the onion, peppers and garlic and poured cumin. The components of the mixture are mixed and fried until the onions are soft.
- Pour the tamarind juice into the fried vegetables and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Then turn down the heat to minimum and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the stove and stir its contents with a blender, which grinds the vegetables to a homogeneous mass. The gravy is poured into a saucepan and start cooking the meat.
- The chicken breasts (or fillet) are cut into pieces and threaded on wooden skewers prepared in advance. The meat is brushed with olive oil, salted and placed on the grill. Shashlyk fry until light crust, 6-7 minutes on each side. While grilling, brush the pieces with sauce and turn them until the meat is cooked. Before serving, the kebab is placed on a large platter and sprinkled with green onions. The remaining sauce is served in a saucepan.
Vegetarian pilaf with tamarind
The pilaf cooks quickly and has an unusual flavor, and the tangy, sour taste of the main ingredient - rice - will pleasantly surprise fans of vegetarian cuisine. The cook will need:
- 300 g of steamed long-grain rice;
- 2 tablespoons of thick tamarind paste;
- 1½ teaspoon of olive oil;
- One onion of medium size;
- dried chili peppers;
- 6 dried clove seeds;
- half a tbsp of coconut shavings.
- Rice is washed, placed in a wide saucepan, and water (0.6 liters) poured in. Turn on the stove and boil the rice grits until tender.
- In a small pan, lightly fry the coconut until golden brown, then pour the product into a bowl. Again put the pan on the fire, fry the onion in olive oil, adding chopped chilies, cloves and salt.
- Add tamarind paste to the container. After 5-7 minutes put cooked rice and stir everything. Dish is ready. The pilaf is served in serving bowls or plates and sprinkled with coconut shavings.
Chinese Peanut Sauce
This product has a spicy, nutty flavor that is created by a combination of peanuts and hot peppers. The finished sauce has a tangy spice, unobtrusive sourness, and a hint of salt and sweetness. The sauce is prepared for boiled rice, boiled and fried meat. The cook needs the following products:
- 300 g peanuts;
- 3 cloves of garlic;
- a small chili pepper;
- 2 shallots;
- one-third cup brown sugar;
- half a tablespoon of tamarind paste;
- ginger root;
- half a small lime;
- one-third cup vegetable oil;
- 400 ml water;
- Peanuts are peeled of the peel and the film covering the kernels. If the reddish skin comes off badly, put hot water on the peanuts. After cleaning, the peanuts are poured into a blender and crushed.
- Rub a piece of ginger through a sieve or grater to make half a tablespoon of paste, and put it in a cup. The lime is cut open and the juice is squeezed out in a separate bowl. The chili pepper is chopped into small pieces. Grate garlic with a fine grater or press it through a garlic press.
- In a separate bowl combine the prepared ingredients - garlic pulp, grated ginger, chopped chili pepper and lime juice. The shallots are peeled and finely chopped.
- Pour sunflower oil into a thick-walled frying pan and heat it. Pour the shallots and fry until golden brown, but no more. Then add garlic, chili, ginger and salt. Cook the sauce for 15-20 minutes with constant stirring.
- Add crushed peanuts, sugar and water and stir the sauce until it is smooth. The mass should cook well with constant stirring and not stick. Cook until the sauce thickens, which will be about 20 minutes. Add the tamarind paste before removing from the stove.
Nut sauce can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. On the refrigerator shelf, the product retains its flavors for up to 5-6 days.
Interesting facts about tamarind
- Tamarind is grown at home as an indoor plant. Seeds or cuttings are used as planting material. To accelerate germination, the hard shell of the seeds is often notched.
- The plant is often grown as a bonsai. This tree tolerates pruning and shaping of the root system well. The perennial bonsai looks very beautiful, the small tree builds up a thick trunk and a lush crown.
- In Sudan, the Indian date tree is an invasive species. The tree does well in tropical forests.
- In Asia, the pulp of tamarind fruit is used to clean statues of gods, brass and bronze elements in temples. Acids are good for cleaning grease and oxide films (patina) from metal surfaces.
- Tamarind is depicted on the coat of arms of one of the provinces of the Kingdom of Thailand. This plant has become a symbol of the Cuban city of Santa Clara.
- Red tamarind wood is used to make floorboards, parquet and furniture. In past centuries, the flexible branches of the plant were used to make roses.
- The oil extracted from the fruit kernels is used to make furniture varnish. The coating is strong and durable.
- The sprawling crown of mature trees forms a dense canopy, through which the rays of the hot sun do not penetrate. This is used in southern India. Trees are planted along roadsides to create shade.
- In some Asian countries, tamarind bones are believed to be carried with them at all times. They protect against robber attacks, unpleasant events and injuries, and attract success and good luck.
«Important: All information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. purposes. Consult with your health care professional before applying any recommendations. specialist before using the recommendations. Neither the editors nor the authors shall be liable for any possible harm caused by materials."