Monday, 21 December 2015
Fruits of Thailand - 15 - Sweet Tamarind - 'ma karm' - มะขาม
Plate 1. - SWEET TAMARIND - 'ma karm' - มะขาม
It is a sweet version of a fruit that is usually sour and used to flavour savoury dishes, or make preserves. The sweet version grows all over Thailand and can be eaten fresh. They grow on trees and come in long pods between two and six inches long. Crack the pods open and pull away the viney strands that may be around the fruit. The fruit is long, sticky, and dark and contains some inedible seeds. It is sweet with a texture like soft raisins.
In Thailand, this carefully cultivated sweet variety, with little to no tartness, is grown specifically to be eaten as a fresh fruit. It is also sometimes eaten preserved in sugar with chili, as a candy. Pad Thai, a Thai dish popular with Europeans and Americans, often includes tamarind for its tart/sweet taste (with lime juice added for sourness, and fish sauce added for saltiness). A tamarind-based sweet-and-sour sauce served over deep-fried fish is also a common dish in Central Thailand.