The tamarind tree produces pod-like fruit that contains an edible pulp used in cuisines around the world.
The hard green pulp of a young fruit is considered by many to be too sour, but is often used as a component of savory dishes, as a pickling agent or as a means of making certain poisonous yams in Ghana safe for human consumption. As the fruit matures it becomes sweeter and less sour (acidic) and the ripened fruit is considered more palatable. In Western cuisine, it is found in Worcestershire Sauce and HP Sauce.
Tamarind paste has many culinary uses including a flavoring for chutnies, curries, and the traditional sharbat syrup drink. Tamarind sweet chutney is popular in India and Pakistan as a dressing for many snacks. Tamarind pulp is a key ingredient in flavoring curries and rice in south Indian cuisine, in the Chigali lollipop, and in certain varieties of Masala Chai tea. Across the Middle East, from the Levant to Iran, tamarind is used in savory dishes, notably meat-based stews, and often combined with dried fruits to achieve a sweet-sour tang. In the Philippines, the whole fruit is used as an ingredient in the traditional dish called sinigang to add a unique sour taste, unlike that of dishes that use vinegar instead.