The tamarind, indigenous to tropical Africa, has a long history. As part of the Leguminosae family (legumes, peas and beans), the ingredient was introduced to South America in the 16th century. From then on, the tamarind has become a necessary ingredient in every Colombian kitchen.
This tropical fruit has a fleshy, acidulous pulp and interestingly, contains both vitamin B and calcium. Due to its unique aromatic composition, the tamarind has many uses. In fact, it has four dominating aromas: floral, roasted , spicy and green!
The two dominant subcategories in the floral aroma characteristic of the tamarind are honey and rose. The honey direction is so strong that it allows the ingredient to work well with sour dough bread, rum, beer, passion fruit and aiji mirasol, a Peruvian chili. Similarly, the rose aspect of the floral aroma is not only found in passionfruit but is also present in other fruits like raspberry and spirits like tequila.
Tamarind also has an intense roasted aroma, caramel, which makes the combination of tamarind with fried meat, chocolate, or coffee so delicious!
One wouldn’t think a fruit could have spicy aromas however, tamarind has both vanilla and spicy notes in its composition. The vanilla component allows tamarind to be paired with mostly anything you have to warm up like bread and coffee. Examples of ingredients that share the spicy aroma are beet root, pineapple, cognac and elderflower. Interestingly, elderflower and tamarind share another spicy aromatic component: balsamic. Another ingredient that has a balsamic base is the huacatay, a unique Peruvian herb.
Although the green aromas are not the tamarind’s largest aroma, it is still strong enough for it to affect what works well with the Colombian ingredient. It allows bell pepper, beef, butternut, crab and camembert to be great food parings.
To prove just how versatile the tamarind is, Foodpairing is giving you a full tamarind menu!
For the opening aperitif we present this delicious cocktail. Next up is the entree, a fusion dish with a Colombian touch, a common practice in Colombia. To finish, a scrumptious dessert!
Tamarind – Tomato – Tequila – Cinnamon
Tamarind – Bacon – Lemongrass – Chinese Cabbage
Tamarind – Fig – Chocolate – Cream Cheese
The tamarind you can find in the Foodpairing database was analyzed to promote Colombian ingredients in cooperation with Fontur, Colombia