What acid is present in tamarind?


Tamarinds from the Philippines

Tamarind (also Indian date or Sour date) are the pods - often called "pods" colloquially - of the tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) and are used in Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Mexican and also African cuisine.

The tamarind probably comes from Africa. In Narhan on the Middle Ganges, approx. 3,300 year old charcoal from tamarind was found. The word tamarind is borrowed from the Arabic language. In Arabic the fruit is called Tamr hindi (تمر هندي, DMG tamr hindī, often Tamer Hindi), from تمرة / tamra / 'Date' and هندي / Hindi / 'Indian', meaning Indian date.


Pods, pulp and seeds of Thai tamarinds

Tamarinds are formed from the flowers of the tamarind tree. They are about 5 to 20 cm long, cinnamon to brown, round in cross section, slightly curved and breakable. Inside the pods are the seeds, which are encased in a brownish to reddish black (pulp), the fruit pulp.


The pulp of the ripe tamarind consists largely of carbohydrates and water. The composition fluctuates, also depending on the degree of dryness. 100 grams of pulp contain 28–52 grams of water and up to 67.4 grams of carbohydrates. Plus up to 5.6 grams of fiber, 3.1 grams of protein and rarely more than 0.1 grams of fat. Minerals to be mentioned are up to 10.9 mg iron, which corresponds to about 77% of the recommended daily dose, 53 to 170 mg calcium, 54 to 110 mg phosphorus, 375 mg potassium iodide, 24 mg sodium iodide and very small amounts of vitamin A, thiamine, Riboflavin, niacin and traces of oxaloacetate.


Tamarind tree on Réunion

Tamarind can be divided into two groups in terms of taste. The sweet tamarind has a brownish pulp, the sour tamarind with an almost black pulp is similar in consistency and color to the raisin. In addition to sugar (35 to 50%), ripe tamarind fruits contain large amounts of tartaric acid (up to 20%), which, depending on the concentration, causes the sour taste. The taste of sour tamarind juice is reminiscent of lemon juice, which can also replace tamarind juice if necessary.[1]

In Thailand and Mexico, tamarind is candied and seasoned with chilli as a hot-tasting confection, often with shrimp. In Thailand the tamarind (Thai: มะขาม - [máˑkʰǎːm]) is extremely popular, is eaten fresh and dried, also pickled (both the beans and the whole pods), sweet, sour and salty. In the Middle East, especially Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, a lemonade is made from tamarind that looks dark brown, similar to cola. Such a light brown-reddish lemonade called Colombiana is also available in Colombia. To make tamarind juice, which is often sweetened because of its bitter taste, dried or fresh fruit pulp or tamarind granules are placed in water for several hours.

Tamarind pulp is also found as an ingredient in seasoning sauces such as Worcestershire sauce or brown sauce.


  • Dorian Fuller: An agricultural perspective on Dravidian historical linguistics - archaeological crop packages, livestock and Dravidian crop vocabulary. In: Peter Bellwood / Colin Renfrew: Examining the farming / language dispersal hypothesis. Cambridge 2002, pp. 191-213
  • Jens Gebauer: Ecophysiology and possible uses of the wild fruit species Adansonia digitata and Tamarindus indica in Sudan. Berlin 2003. (online)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anne Iburg (ed.): Dumont's little spice dictionary. DuMont, Cologne 2002, p. 209. ISBN 3-8320-8780-X

Web links

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