Star light, star bright, starfruit in my tums tonight!
Starfruit season is quickly approaching and I see them popping up in Asian markets already. This delightful fruit, formally named Carambola, is native to Southeast Asia. Its distinct star shape makes it a treat even to children with the pickiest palates.
Starfruit is eaten in many Asian cultures and it is Duan Wu Festival’s signature fruit.
You know, the festival where people race dragon boats! (端午節)
Since I’m on a no-dessert diet for 1 month (what the heck was I thinking?), I’ve been munching on more fruit than ever to satiate my sweet tooth. Dipping ripened starfruit in a spicy, tart, and salty sprinkle is my favourite way to enjoy this subtle, juicy fruit.
Pairing salty with sweet (think watermelon feta salad and salted chocolate caramels) is trending like umami was several years ago. However, the combination of these opposing flavours has been in my repertoire since I was a child. My parents had no problem serving lamb stew with a side of chocolate cake and my favourite treat is salty french fries dipped in ice cream.
Asian cuisine is loved because it skillfully combines a variety of flavours, often kicked up with a dash of heat. Salted dried fruit is a common snack throughout Asia and salty powders are sometimes used to coax out the sweetness in tart fruits such as pineapples and bergamots. Here’s quick fruit dip I concocted that combines sugar, salty dried plums and a hit of chilli to tingle the tip of your tongue. Sounds strange? Give it a try first. This drip can also bring zing to any tart-ish fruit such as kiwi, guava, grapefruit, and even strawberries.
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 3 salty dried plums, ground into powder (1/4 cup), available in Asian supermarkets
- 1 tsp chilli powder
Curious: What’s your favourite sweet and salty combination?