Thai food had once been my extra super favourite in the whole world. It was also one of the first things I knew I couldn’t eat anymore. The last time I had Thai food from a restaurant, I was doubled over in such horrible toot cramps that I swore I would never eat it again. After doing the research I needed to do to create this recipe, I now know why. I knew that conventional Thai food was loaded with sugar, but holly smokaroondles, I didn’t know there was that much sugar. Seriously. The combo of vinegar and sugar is a perfect recipe to create the biggest toot bomb to ever be ballooned in the belly… not to mention suspect fish sauce.
Not to worry my Thai food lovers. I am here for you. I have you covered with this gem. Last week when we rocked the mango salad, I talked about my (now embarrassing) discovery of Sambal (seriously- how did you all know about it and I didn’t), so I thought I’d share some info on another ingredient that I have had before but never bought before. This one will for sure be knew to a few of you… at least I hope so.
The first time I ever heard of tamarind was in the Caribbean and it was so gross. It was formed into this overly sweet, sugar coated jelly ball that made me want to yak-adoodle. I’ve had a bad taste for tamarind since then. Buuuut- then I saw it in all these Thai recipes and decided to dig a little deeper.
As it turns out, tamarind, as I suspected, is actually a deliciously sour and sweet fruit. No sugar needed here. Tamarind is often considered an herb but it is in fact a fruit.
Wikepdia filled me on the following interesting world wide uses.
- Guadeloupe: used in jams and syrups.
- Trinidad and Tobago: rolled into balls (5 cm in diameter) with white granulated sugar and a blend of spices to create tambran balls.
- Mexico: sold in various snack forms: dried and salted; or candied.
- Egypt: served as a sour, chilled drink
- Southern Kenya: the Swahili people use it to garnish legumes and also make juices.
- Somalia: used to give rice some sour flavour.
- Madagascar: fruits and leaves are a well-known favorite of the ring-tailed lemurs, providing as much as 50% of their food resources during the year i
- Northern Nigeria: used with millet powder to prepare kunun tsamiya, a traditional pap mostly used as breakfast, and usually eaten with bean cake.
- Turkey: consumed as a sweetened cold drink.
- Myanmar: young and tender leaves and flower buds are eaten as a vegetable. A salad dish of tamarind leaves, boiled beans, and crushed peanuts topped with crispy fried onions is served in rural Myanmar.
- Philippines: used in foods like sinigang soup, and also made into candies. The leaves are also used in sinampalukan soup.
- Thailand: bred specifically to be eaten as a fresh fruit: it is particularly sweet and minimally sour. It is also sometimes eaten preserved in sugar with chili as a sweet-and-spicy candy.
- Used as an Ayurvedic medicine for gastric problem, digestion problems and cardio protective activity.
- Tamarind can be used as a mild laxative.
- Supports liver health and gall bladder activity
- High in vitamin C
- Healing to skin inflammation
- Being a good source of antioxidants, tamarind helps fight against cancer.
- Tamarind is used as blood purifier.