Tamarind: ma kam piek

Tamarind is the meaty surrounding of the pods from tropical tamarind trees. These ochre-brown curved seeds are covered in a wet, sticky, flesh-like encasing that tastes extremely sweet and simultaneously sour to the taste.

Used as one of the basic souring elements of Thai cooking, tamarind gives a tasty tartness to soups, stir-fries, salads and sauces. If you are able to find fresh tamarind pods, open the brittle outside and take out the wet flesh which you can use to make tamarind water. You can also buy fresh "wet tamarind," which is essentially the fleshy part of the pod, packed into compact blocks. This is the most common form of tamarind, and is easily found in Thai and Southeast Asian markets. Traditional medicine uses tamarind as a method for ridding the body of intestinal parasites.

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