Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Praise of Belimbing

The belimbing tree by the house is so ridiculously laden with fruit, but no one touches it and even the birds don't feed on them. It's because they are so sour! Botanically, the Bilimbi is of the genus Averrhoa, and closely related to the carambola tree. You can't do that much with belimbing, at a pinch you can make drinks with it and it can be used in curries as it can substitute for assam.

I asked Vero to cook a dish with belimbing. It goes well with fish.The belimbing is halved and cooked with pineapple, garlic, fresh chilli (in this case chilli padi or birds-eye, the most fiery chilli of all), shallots and to make the sauce Assam Pedas is added. This is a ready made Assam Fish Sauce flavoured with Assam, Onion, Lemongrass, Chilli, Sugar, Salt and bound together with cooking oil.

Steam the fish (white pomfret or pek chio is best because it's flat). Add the Assam Pedas mix with the Belimbing and all the other fresh ingredients and add fish stock or water. The pineapple will add a touch of sweetness to the mix. Lay the fish in the sauce that's formed and heat until the sauce mix soaks into the fish. Such a perfect dish for the usually overlooked belimbing.

Mum and Dad, Vero and I sat down for lunch with this as the star dish. There were lots of loud drawn breaths, it was so chilli hot, yet is was so seductively delicious. Sour complemented by the sweetness of the pineapple, chill hot and spicy, all rolled into one spectacular dish. It makes you want to eat more rice. Vero is cooking more belimbing for dinner tonight.


  1. Sounds yummy Makcik!! Can cut belimbing and preserve like a crunchy sweet munch? Like sour kanna or sour mango preserve?? Or even make relish with it? (Loads of sugar perhaps?) Happy eating!

    1. You can sun dry belimbing slices, its called Assam Sunti. Apart from fish curry, you could push the fruit in Belimbing Toffee and even making wine. Or you can just use it to make squash, have to use sugar of course and perhaps singboi and lots of ice. And wince as you take each sip for the sour/sweet and in-between to work it's spell!