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A cooking ingredient, made from the tropical tamarind fruit, originating in North Africa and Asia, which is used as a seasoning for meat, chutney, curry dishes and pickled fish. The fruit resembles a vegetable with its large brown pod, which contains small seeds and a brown pulp with a sweet-sour flavor. The pulp is boiled and extracted from the pods and used in sauces, desserts and preserves. It has an acidic flavor somewhat like lemon juice. The seeds are removed from the pulp, cooked and then ground into a meal. Tamarind is an important ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and is used as a flavoring in many East Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It is available in cans as a paste, in jars of concentrated pulp or as whole dried pods. It is also known as an Indian date or tamarindo. If tamarind paste is not available, substitute a teaspoon each of dates, dried apricots and lemon juice for a teaspoon of tamarind paste. Chop the dates and apricots into fine pieces and add the lemon juice.
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