Tamarind in Sudan
Use of Tamarind in Sudan Roger Sharland 05.02.99
Re: Use of Tamarind in Sudan Dominique Bounie 06.02.99

Fri, 5 Feb 1999 14:31:03 GMT

From: "Beatrice L. Rogers" <BRogersatinfonet.tufts.edu>

Subject: Ngonut: Use of Tamarind in Sudan


This seems like a natural question to pose to the NGONUTs.

-------------------------- [Original Message] -------------------------

I was talking with Jennifer Martin a couple of weeks ago. I met her in Lokichoggio to discuss her research and we began talking about some wider food security issues relating to southern Sudan, and in the course of our discussions she recommended that I contact you about the matter below.

I have been working in Southern Sudan on and off since the 1970s, and have recently once again become involved in various food security interventions. The issue that I was talking about with Jennifer related to the use of Tamarind in sorghum porridge. I remember almost twenty years ago reading a research paper that suggested that there are enzymes in Tamarind that greatly increase the absorption of sorghum when added to porridge. The implication was that babies being weaned cannot physically take in enough sorghum porridge to satisfy their energy needs, but if tamarind is added the amount needed is reduced. I remember when I read this thinking it was an interesting piece of research but had no reason to use it and follow it up.

However, in recent months the potential relevance of this article has re-emerged in my thinking as I have been involved in food security issues in Bahr el Ghazal where there has been the recent food shortages which have been publicised as "famine". Tamarind is one of the wild foods that have been significant in the survival of some of the Dinka people worst affected by the famine. They grind the seeds and eat them as flour. This reminded me of another use of tamarind.

I have been thinking that tamarind may well have another important significance in areas of food shortage. Sorghum being high in roughage has relatively low absorption so a relatively large amount of bulk has to be eaten in order to get the needed energy. If it is true that tamarind really does have enzymes that can increase absorption this could be very relevant teaching for the Sudanese. It would mean that a smaller amount of grain could have the same nutritional value, and therefore the shortfall of available food could be reduced. Tamarind is already sometimes added to porridge for flavouring but this is not seen as a nutritionally significant practice. Should we be teaching this as a way of reducing food deficits?

Unfortunately I have been unable to find any reference to the paper I refer to above and I mentioned this to Jennifer when we were talking. She suggested that you might be able to help me in this. I would not want to push the idea based on something I read so long ago and might not have remembered well. If you could find any reference to this I would therefore be very grateful, and could hopefully take it forward to some useful teaching if the research says what I remember it to say.

I hope that this makes sense! If not do get back to me for clarification.

Thank you for your help


Dr Roger Sharland,

REAP. Box 76584, Nairobi, Kenya.

E-mail: REAPatmaf.org

Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 10:50:15 +0100 (MET)

From: Dominique.Bounieatuniv-lille1.fr (Dominique Bounie)

Subject: Ngonut: Re: Use of Tamarind in Sudan


Dear Roger Sharland,

Here is the composition of Tamarinds, raw (Tamarindus indica) as given in the USDA table of food composition (ref. 09322).


Dominique Bounie


Refuse: 66% pods and seeds


Composition, per 100 of edible product :

Proximate analysis:

water, g : 31.4
energy, kcal : 239
Protein, g: 2.8
Total lipid, g: 0.6
Carbohydrate, g: 62.5
Fiber, total dietary, g: 5.1
Ash, g: 2.7


Calcium, mg: 74
Iron, mg: 2.8
Magnesium, mg: 92
Phosphorus, mg: 113
Potassium, mg: 628
Sodium, mg: 28
Zinc, mg: 0.1
Copper, mg: 0.086
Selenium, microg: 1.3


Ascorbic ac., mg: 3.5
Thiamin, mg: 0.428
Riboflavin, mg: 0.152
Niacin, mg: 1.938
Pantothenic ac., mg: 0.143
B6, mg: 0.066
Folate, microg: 14
B12, microg: 0.0
A, IU: 30
A, RE, microg: 3
E, alpha-TE, mg: 0.7


14:0, g : 0.007
16:0, g: 0.168
18:0, g: 0.06

18:1, g: 0.181

18:2, g: 0.059


Amino acids:

Tryptophan, g: 0.018
Lysine, g: 0.139
Methionine, g: 0.014