Friday, July 27, 2012

Fruity Fridays - Sapodilla

This Friday's fruit: Sapodilla
Also known as: zapote, naseberry, chikoo, plus many others
Vietnamese name: hồng xiêm
Cost in the market outside my house: I think I paid about 20,000 dong for a kilo, but it was a while ago so I'm not sure!
Season in Northern Vietnam: I bought these in April when they seemed very plentiful, although I just read something that said sapodilla trees fruit all year, and I have seen some recently!
Interesting facts: This fruit and various part of the tree it grows on seems to be used in all kinds of ways to cure all kinds of ailments. Also, the tree produces a lot of latex, from which a lot of chewing gum is made. In India it's called chiku, which is how Chiclets got their name!

I bought them when they were quite hard, but left them out for a few days and they softened up pretty quickly.

When you cut them in half they have this brownish pulp inside, which has a slightly grainy texture a bit like a pear, and tastes sweet with a hint of brown sugary flavour.

It's pretty easy to eat, you can scoop out the insides like you might with a kiwi, but be careful of the big black seeds inside! Apparently sometimes they have a little hook on them, so if you accidentally swallow one it can get caught in your throat and become quite unpleasant.

I tried eating one of these fresh, and it was ok but honestly I wasn't a big fan of the taste or the texture. Somewhere I read that they're better cold, but I decided that instead of waiting for one to chill, I'd just bake with it.

I scooped out all of the insides....

....mashed it up....

...and used it in place of banana in my mom's amazing Banana Bread recipe.

It was a bit juicier than mashed banana, so this Sapodilla loaf was wonderfully moist and delicious! The only modification I made to the recipe was to add a tiny bit of ground cloves, because it seemed like they'd go well with the sapodilla's brown sugary flavour. And oh yes they did!

I'm sure there are plenty of other things you could make with sapodillas, and in fact has a couple of yummy looking recipes for Sapodilla Souffle and Sapodilla Kulfi (Indian ice cream). It also suggests stewing them with lime juice and ginger (which I'm thinking would be great on vanilla ice cream), battering and frying them, or fermenting them to make wine. There's also a recipe floating around for Sapodilla Pie. It seems they can also easily be used in any recipe where you'd normally use apples or bananas, so go nuts!

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