Tamarind is the strange brown pod that makes me think of Latin America.  In Mexico, there is a popular iced drink made of the sweet syrup of the tamarind plant called agua de tamarindo.  It also makes its way into sauces, ice creams and other dishes of the Latin kitchen. 

To my surprise, however, the tamarind plant is from tropical Africa, particularly Sudan. Its name comes from Arabic تمر هندی‎ (tamr-hindī) meaning date of IndiaTamar means date palm in Hebrew and is the origin of the girls name Tamara.

In Sudan they do speak Arabic, but why would they call it the date from India? Although the pod is native to Africa, Southeast Asia has adopted it as its own.  Some say it might have made its way to India as early as 2000 BC.  Arabic speakers who got most of their tamarind from India cemented its name as the date from India.   


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: