Caramelised palm sugar and chilli give chicken an interesting flavour

It is known as ice apple in English, nungu in Tamil and munjalu in Telugu. The fruit measures 4 to 7 inches in diameter, has a black husk, and is borne in clusters.

The top portion must be cut off to reveal the three sweet jelly seed sockets, translucent pale white, similar to lychee but with a milder flavour. The jelly part of the fruit is covered with a thin, yellowish-brown skin.

The palm shoot is cut and the juice traditionally collected in a hanging earthen pot. The juice so collected early in the morning is a refreshing drink.

The tender fruit pulp is eaten raw during summer because it is believed to have a cooling effect on the body.

The ripened fibrous outer layer of the fruit can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. The fruit contains Vitamins A and B and Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorous and zinc.

The fresh fruits are a little crunchy and moderately sweet to taste. They are chopped into small pieces and used in desserts with other fruits such as pineapple, mango, and papaya and offered along with ice cream.

Mature palm fruit juice is used in making pancakes.

Now, for a recipe.

Indonesian chicken with palm sugar chilli caramel

Ingredients

Chicken: 200 gm

Palm sugar: 50 gm

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garlic 10 gm

Cloves 5 gm

Chopped fresh chives: 40 gm

Extra-virgin olive oil: 70 ml

Ginger: 5 gm

Chilli: 5 gm

Lime juice: 1 tsp

Method: Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the chicken until golden brown all over. At the same time, put the palm sugar and water in a small pot, and gently cook to form the caramel. When the chicken is ready, remove it from the fire and pour off the excess liquid from the pan (keep the liquid aside). Add a little fresh oil to the pan, if needed, and briefly sauté the garlic, red onion, ginger and chillies, stirring regularly, and scraping the bottom of the pan. Then add the lime juice with the fish sauce, and about half-a-cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or chicken stock) and hot caramel.

Executive Sous Chef

Taj Club House