Salak: An Exotic Indonesian Fruit

Salak or salacca palm is a species of palm native to Java and Sumantra regions of Indonesia that bears strangely unique fruits also known as snake fruits. Let’s learn more about salak and its many culinary applications.

What is Salak Fruit?

Have you ever wondered what a salak fruit looks like? Well, the fruit is about the size and shape of ripe fig, with a pointed spike at the tip. The most attractive quality of this fruit lies in its brownish-maroon snake-like scaly skin. This fruit grows in clumps at the base of the palm trees. In Indonesia, the harvest season of salak usually begins in May and ends in December. 

Having at least 30 known varieties, the salak fruit is also known as ridan, snake fruit, rakum palm fruit, and luk rakam depending upon the region. Salak is also called the “fruit of memory” in Indonesia because it’s believed to have high levels of potassium and pectin, which are considered essential for brain health and development.

Image Credit: Robert Lens from Pixabay 

What does Salak fruit taste like?

Salak has a typical tropical flavor that’s sweet and tangy, similar to pineapple, jackfruit, and durian. The texture and flavor of salak vary greatly with the variety, for instance, salak Bali is more mild, moist, and crunchy while the salak pondoh is super fragrant, dry, and brittle-textured. Certain varieties of salak can leave your tongue with an astringent aftertaste. Some people also describe its taste as overwhelming or complex while others believe it’s a bitter variant of jackfruit in its overall flavor profile.

How to Eat Salak?

Southeast Asians treat salak, durian, and jackfruit the same way that Americans treat apples and oranges. Salak is best eaten raw by peeling the outer skin from the tip so that it can be pulled off easily. The fruit contains three lobes, at the center of which is located an enormous inedible seed. Salak lobes can be picked out separately like cloves of garlic and devoured right away.

Image Credit: Flickr user chooyutshing ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Salak fruit can also be used to make smoothies, juices, wine, candies, chips, and a variety of desserts. Pickled-ice snake fruit is a popular Indonesian dessert in which cubed salak fruit is immersed into a sweet and sour liquid and served chilled on the hot summer days. Try adding it into your salads or make a flavorful salak fruit sauce to pair with meat dishes or you can always make salak jam to be on a safer side in your food experimentation. Salak pudding and cake is another great way of devouring this tropical fruit. 

How to make Salak Fruit Cake?

To make a salak fruit cake, take 200g of white flour, and mix it with 1 tsp of baking powder, 40g of ground hazelnuts, 130g of caster sugar, and a little salt. Then add 80g butter, 2 eggs, and ¼ tsp of vanilla essence into the flour mixture and beat for 3 minutes. Toss 300g of cubed salak fruit into the batter and pour into a loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 350°F. Once baked, remove the mixture from the oven and cool completely. 

When the mixture has cooled down, beat 200g butter, together with 200g of icing sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to make the frosting. Now, evenly spread frosting on top of the cake. Now your salak fruit cake is ready to serve. Garnish with some raisins and icing sugar.

Feature Image: InstagramFOTOGRAFIN from Pixabay 

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