Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is the source of Asam, commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. Part of the legume family (Fabaceae), this tree that grows up to 30 m in height can be found along several of our streets across the island. The Tamarind is long-lived, making it an ideal urban tree.
The mildly fragrant pale yellow flowers resemble orchids and are about 2 cm in diameter. Produced in small, drooping clusters, they are pollinated by insects and develop into bean pods that grow between 5 to 15 cm in length. Each fruit contains eight to 10 hard and flat seeds.
Surrounding the seeds is the tasty yellow-brown edible pulp, prized for its complex and sour flavour that gives dishes their characteristic Asam taste. Outside of Asia, it is a component in the renowed Worcestershire sauce.
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