This is Tamarind

New Meals

We went to a new lunch place today and got pretty freaked out. Prakash said we should check out the canteen at NISH (an institute for those with communication struggles), since it’s practically right out our front door. Not that he’d ever eaten there – it’s just the kind of place to have one.

Today, we went there and arrived too early (as we do), but then we got fed a lovely meal by super-nice people and paid less than anywhere else nearby. Not only that, they do breakfast! Idly and sambar (we hope) in close proximity! Wow! We’ll be checking that out tomorrow morning.


As we were walking back from lunch today we saw a couple of very nice people shaking a tree in quite a few different places. They’d shake and a bunch of brown pods would fall. We approached and asked what it was and the man reached into a bucket that he was rapidly filling with these things, pulled out a couple and handed them to us. He made the universal, “Go Ahead and Eat It, It’s Great!” gesture (Hand to mouth, big grin) so we did…

Wow, Fucking wow!!!

It was incredible! It was almost like my (James) body just absorbed the stuff, like I needed it, badly!

And, it turns out it (my body) did.

Tamarind is a very large, long lived shrub although to me it looks like a big tree. The evergreen leaves are elliptical ovular and pinnately veined; in other words, it’s cool looking. At night the leaflets close up like little books in a great green library.

Now for the good part, it’s sweetly sour right off the tree and perfectly edible but best of all it is outrageously good for you, it has…

37% of your daily Thiamine, 13% of your Riboflavin and Niacine, good amounts of vitamins C, E, K and a few more of the B’s. Unusually for a fruit it has Calcium, and also the more common Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium and Zinc.

Dena refuses to buy any Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t have this plant in the recipe and really Lea and Perrins is pretty much the only one. Developed in the 1830’s it was obviously stolen, like everything else “English”, from somebody very creative here in Hindustan.

The people that gave us the tamarind today were absolutely thrilled by our reaction to this incredible plant and I think it’s safe to say we all made each other’s day.


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