Tamarind is extracted from the pods of the evergreen tamarind tree.
The tamarind tree is a tropical tree that originated in east Africa. The main growing place is now India but the tamarind tree is grown in such diverse tropical locations as the Caribbean, Mexico, northern Brasil, Hawaii and Florida.
The tamarind pods have a brown, sticky pulp that is the extract. Once extracted, the pulp is squeezed into flat blocks. The blocks are processed to produce tamarind paste and concentrate.
Tamarind does not have much of an aroma and has a sour, fruity taste.
Tamarind is added to curries (such as vindaloo) as well as pickles and chutneys to make best use of the sour taste.
Tamarind sauce, served in Indian restaurants to accompany other dishes, is made by mixing tamarind concentrate with water.