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Jakarta Post

The exotic romance of tamarind

  • Janet DeNeefe

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 13 2008   /  12:32 pm

Picture a tamarind pod. Peanut-shaped and suede-like, it contains a complex flavor sensation that is tangy and sour with a hint of mellow sweetness, almost like a ruby red wine. Nestled inside, is the tamarind paste: That secret ingredient that set Coca-Cola on its fizzy feet and gave Worcestshire sauce its distinctive flavour. The word "tamarind" conjures up sensuous images of romance, flowing saris and exotic curries; of novels, movies and the sultry Omar Sharif (he starred in the movie The Tamarind Seed, remember?) But what exactly is tamarind, I hear you ask. Join me as I peel away the outer shell of this prized ingredient and shine a light on an unforgettably luscious seasoning. Once upon a time, I had no idea what tamarind was. I knew it was something used in cooking but that was as far as it went. And then I moved to Bali. I saw it appear in oh-so-ma...