Ambarella Fruit

Hog Apple or Golden Plum?
Shades of Melville

Ambarella or Otaheite Apple

Ambarella — Otaheite Apple

Recently you could find them in some Asian markets in North America retailing for about three dollars a pound.  It’s a small fruit that looks like a plum.

What could you do with this fruit? Ambarella is relatively little known in North America or outside its tropical habitat. The fruit has many names in local languages and grows in a wide range of tropical Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. [1]

Asian children sometimes eat the Ambarella fruit as is, or dipped in various mixtures, like sugar salt and chili in several countries. Ambarella also appears in several dishes in the Pacific Rim, in particular in some curries and chutneys and is popular in Sri Lankan cooking. [2]

Other Names: The basic botanical name for Ambarella is Spondias dulcis. It is often called Hog Apple or Golden Plum as a common name.  Another name for the fruit is Otaheite Apple, which sounds very exotic and old-fashioned, as that’s the way people referred to Tahiti around the time of Melville.

Other Asian Names: In the Pacific Rim, there are many names in various Southeastern Asian and Pacific Island languages for this fruit. The most important may be Kedondoing in Bahasa Indonesia and Quá Cóc in Vietnamese.

Nutrition: Ambarella is fairly low in calories, with a little more than 150 calories per 100 grams and is a significant source of Vitamin A, so it is a healthy food. [3]

Health Aspects: While more research is needed, there is some evidence the fruit and other parts of the Ambarella plant may have value in strengthening the immune system and helping manage hypertension and diabetes as well as having cancer-fighting properties.

Cooking and Eating Ambarella: This fruit is enjoyed in a minor way in many of the Pacific Rim cuisines.Many of the published uses are as apple substitutes, especially in the Caribbean, which is beyond our scope.  Besides some uses in relishes, chutneys and curries in South Asia, maybe the best answer to the question, what to do with this fruit, is to nibble it and enjoy the way many Asian kids do!

For Further Information:

[1] “Spondias dulcis,” article, Wikipedia — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spondias_dulcis
[2] “Sri Lankan Food & Recipes” contains a recipe for Ambarella Curry —  http://www.slmeal.com/2012/07/ambarella-curry-recipe.html
[3] “Nutritional Value of Spondias Dulcis,” Livestrong.com —  http://www.livestrong.com/article/498372-nutritional-value-of-spondias-dulcis/
[4] Health Aspects of Spondias Dulcis —  http://www.blurtit.com/q2127624.html

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  1. Pingback: Vietnamese cuisine | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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