Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Literally translated from the Malay language the Rose Apple/Water Apple/Wax Apple would be called 'water guava' to differentiate it from the other guava (apple guava) which is called 'stone guava' in Malay.

Although the apple guava are plants of the myrtle family and the rose apple is a genus of flowering plants that also belong to the myrtle family they are however completely different in texture and taste, the former being very firm and solid while the latter tender and almost cottony in texture and are sweet in different ways.

But the one thing that they can both be is....to be eaten with the same dipping sauce.

The rose apple is beautiful. It may be a dark ruby red, it may be a bright blushing pink or when not quite ripe it would be a pinkish green.

It is completely pristine white inside, cottony in texture, tender but firm and usually with a couple of knobs of roundish seeds in middle.

It's usually sweet and moist and at worst it's tasteless and dry. But never sour.

It's shiny. It's beautiful.

I couldn't resist them when I caught sight of these ruby goblets at the Sunday night market recently so I paid 7 ringgit for a kilo. I got 9 of them. I chilled them in the fridge overnight and the next morning I made a dark, tangy and spicy dipping sauce. All the while picturing, impatiently, a sauce-slathered slice entering my face.

Now, if there was a torn and worn rattan chair waiting on a carpet of lush cow grass at the top of a gentle slope in the backyard of an old, sprawling colonial bungalow, where the sun sets in gold in the distance, where I would be able to sit and scrutinize a crawling row of large red ants heading towards a mango tree and be contemplating my next dessert in fruit form, with a cold, wet glass of sweet pineapple juice in one hand and a spicy, dripping sauced jambu air in the other while the hem of my floral skirt ruffles gently in the tropical breeze and all the while comprehending and enjoying the lyrics and melody of Les Champs Elysees playing in my head through my headphone I would say that my life was quite complete.

But alas...... as always....... it was not meant to be and life is usually a little less comforting than one could hope for.

So I'll settle for some slices of jambu air in the pretty bowl next to me and its sauce in another bowl on my left, facing my quite unromantic laptop while the hovering fan above my head spins to cool me down and not understanding a word of the pretty French song from the CD, which hub had just bought me as a present-for-no-reason 10 minutes ago, while I continue to blog about both my fantasies and the divine taste of the slices of jambu air dripping with a luscious sauce that I had just consumed.

So be it. And may tomorrow be another fantaisie.

The sauce is a wee bit tangy, slightly spicy (or more if you like), somewhat salty and with a pinch of sweet all thrown in. You just have to love it. As I do.

The recipe..................

4 large red chillies, seeds left in or de-seeded OR some bird chillies for fire
1 garlic clove
3 - 4 T of thick dark soy sauce
1 T of granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lime

Pound the chillies and garlic in a mortar and pestle until quite fine or slightly coarse and then mix in all the other ingredients and mix well.

Serve with slices of jambu air. Divine.


Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

When I eat Jambu, I like to eat with the similar dipping sauce like your, but I like to add in chili padi instead, super nice..air liur pun sudah keluar lo..

Anonymous said...

heehee. i eat my jambu just like that! :)

Quinn said...

With that kind of description lying on chair looking over the sun, my life would be complete too Zu!

Ninette said...

Pull up another chair for me in your fantasy. I'm in! I've never seen jambu air before, so thank you for the introduction!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

I love the blushing pink ones! It's such a southeast asian fruit, isn't it? I never knew you can at jambu with a spicy dip!! It's kinda like eating strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Sounds strange, but oh-so-lovely! I love those photos!

Marysol said...

I'm almost speechless.

I have never seen a guava that looked like this. I'm only familiar with the tropical guava (or guayaba, as it's called in the island of Cuba). With its green exterior and sweet, pink flesh.

But I believe yours is the Cadillac of guavas. The vibrant red skin and pristine white flesh, makes me want to do a Google search.
Fantastic. And the dipping sauce sounds just as wonderful.

Zurin said...

Sonia, ah yes chili padi WAS fun for me until my tummy started to complain! :)

Felicia, dont we all ! :))

Quinn, sigh...mine too:)

Ninette, You're in!:))

Ju, oh do try Ju..its so good I know u'll love it :))

Marysol, tq for visiting :)) I have made some links to wikipedia in case u wld like to know more..I hope it helps :)) ..

its a lovely fruit if its sweet but bland if it isnt....so if u do get a chance make sure you get the sweet ones! :))

Unknown said...

I don't know jambu but the way you speak about it makes me wanted to find some
I love the color and above all the spicy sauce
I really have to find one (or two) !

tigerfish said...

I always just love Jambu as a fruit.

Angie Tee said...

Wow! Have not eaten fruits with spicy dipping for a long time.

tessa. said...

thanks for posting about this! here in cebu, philippines we call it "tam-bis". we have 3 different varieties here, the red, a white one and a green one that tends to be the sweetest. we usually eat it just by dipping it into salt. my mouth is water just looking at your pictures.

Moon Child Rainbow said...

my family always called them mountain apples. i've never heard of dipping them before. i will have to try it next time. thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

I always wonder what Jambu Air is called in English. Now I know! Rose apples... the name is so nice! My mum always makes the similar dipping sauce but with lots of chilli padi. Siok!

Elin Chia said...

Zurin ,I never knew that jambu air is known as Rose Apple! Haha this is what I would love to have now...mouthwatering with that spicy tangy sauce...ooppps saliva dripping on my keyboard! All your fault! Such tantalizing pics of the sauce and rose apples LOL!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh my favourite!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been driving past a tree laden with clusters of red jambu air, and imagining dipping them in hit rojak sauce.... think it's time i go to the pasar malam too so I don't resort to stealing from the tree.

2 Stews said...

What an exotic fruit...I haven't seen any here in the NE US, but will keep a lookout for them at markets and on my travels. The dipping sauce is an easy one for me...I'll give it a try. My daughter lives in Seoul, I'll pass this along to her...so much to learn!

And...what a dreamy fantasy...wouldn't that be nice!


terri@adailyobsession said...

zurin, when u described the texture as cottony, i wonder if this rose apple is the old-fashioned type, solid white in color inside, very red outside n very rose fragrant?? i loved tt as a kid but hav not seen them at all now. those were slightly tarty. the rose apples we hav now are crunchy n juicy n not as fragrant but always sweet. which type is this? the outside looks like the crunchy type but the inside looks like the heirloom white cottony type. do u know what i'm talking about?...

Angie's Recipes said...

Jambu from where I am from are kind of pinky....very juicy.

Zurin said...

Chapot, I hope u find some! :))

Tigerfish, ys thyre good :)

Angie, get some n enjoy :)

Tessa, we do have the same fruits :)!

Kaiulani, Theyre nice dipped :)

Ellie, yes rose apples..nice name :)

Elin, haha :)

Percicilan, MMM :))

Hungry C , get some quick :)

2stews, hope u find some to try :)'

Sophie, u welcome :))

Terri, these are the crisp n sweet outside n gets somewhat cottony towards the centre near the seeds. Dfinitely nt crisp all the way like western apples!

The cottony characteristic is still quite obvious alto nt as cottony as the ones I used to eat as a child (wh u are talking bout). Those are probly only available in kampongs these days..but are still called rose apples or air jambu...or waxed apples wh I find quite dry n sometimes tasteless. but GOOD with a dipping sauce! Yum

I saw a lot of these 'modern' ones in taiwan first time. m nt sure but perhaps they have been biological improved to make them sweeter n crisper n juicier but what makes them markedly different n unique is still the cottony feel at the centre even tho it has been reduced dramaticaly esp if u compare them to the 'hierloom' ones as u call it.

I think if u go to pasar tani (farmers market) u mite find the 'oldies' still available.usually bright pink... heh

But arent they just beautiful!!?? very well behaved models too. lol

Barbara said...

I'm not familiar with jambu...but the color is magnificent! If they are called rose apples and are found in tropical climates, we must have them here in Florida. I will do some research. (They've probably been right in front of me!)

TINTIN said...

I would love to have some of this now...salivating now!!! lol

kellypea said...

I have *never* seen jambu before. I should probably be embarrassed. But I, too, am someone who wishes to scrutinize all the things that we pass by daily as we're rushing around -- and the description you provide is wonderful. Sign me up along with the fabulous sauce you've made.

Through My Kitchen Window said...

I love to learn about new foods. These rose apples are the most gorgeous colour. It almost reminds me of our lilly pillies in Australia - a beautiful blush of rose. Lovely photos.

Zurin said...

Barbara, yes perhaps u have them in Florida..but if you can't find any in the normal stores maybe the asian stores mite have them. Hope you find some..theyre really nice.And pretty.:)

Tin tin, I wish I cld gv u some :))

Kelly pea, Nothing to be embarassed about...its a south east Asian fruit so it may be difficult to get hold of them there.you're signed up Kelly! :))

TMKW, Lilly pillies...I wish I knew what those are...they sound so sweet! :))

Nadia said...

i love your fantasy LOL...and the contrast to your reality is 'ouch!' LOL esp the unromantic laptop and fan above you LOLOLOLOL
btw..eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee geramnyaa i wanttttttttttt

Anonymous said...

I lurrrrve jambu air! But I think it's been years since I last had one. My mom loved making the spicy kicap to go with it too! Ah sweet memories :)

Faida said...

woww... this is my favorite after meals. with green mango and pineaple to go with it. mmm.. Im salivating. Can I request for it? (if I ever reach you place)

petite nyonya said...

Lovely photographs! Sweet jambu air are just delicious but always got ulat.

Zakiah said...

Hi Zurin..at last I am in!!! Also I just recovered my password for sweethomesweetheart last nite. took me 12 hrs to remember..Hmm I need bran therapy..Anyway I jus love everythin in yr blog...I always opened but never wrote until today..I eat jambu just like MRUCC...

Zurin said...

Juli, heh yes ouch....lolol

Ovenhaven, bring those memories back :))

Faida, cannnnn come over :))

Petitenyonya, tq ..yes delicious inspite of th eulat..lol

Zakiah, Oh at last my sis in law is commenting on my blog...lama I duk menunggu...when are these people going to drop a comment...at last..lolol...apa tu MRUCC?

Federica Simoni said...

ciao!! grazie della tua visita nel mio blog!! il tuo blog è bellissimo e anche le tue torte!!
Squisita questa salsa di peperoncini!

3 hungry tummies said...

that is how we'll have it too :)

shaz said...

How I miss jambu air and that sauce sounds so delicious! And you have lovely fantasies :)

Sheila said...

Absolutely amazing! I have never heard of this before. I love to go to our Asian markets because they have the most interesting and freshest produce. I will have to look for these. I LOVE your pictures!

S said...

Zurin, first of all, the photos are lush , you've captured the colours of the jambu so beautifully. i love how you pair a fruit with a spicy, tangy sauce, this is something so typical in Pakistan. When the winter comes and we start eating the different breeds of tangerines, we always keep a saucer of salt next to the fruit bowl, so we can dip each slice of tangerine into it. We also have a fruit salad called fruit chaat, made with a medley of fruit and tangy spices. it's lovely to see that you eat similar combinations of flavours in Malaysia.

Ozoz said...

I had loads of these when growing up in Nigeria....I miss them, the nice watery but slight sweetness and crispness. Kitchenbutterfly.com

Divina Pe said...

Not sure if this is the same fruit we have here at home. I think they are. Tree is not bearing any fruit anymore. Love the dipping sauce.

Chef Peggy said...


Morgan D. said...

In the Caribbean they are called plum-rose. These are my most favorite fruit. However, here in the NE USA, they are not available at all. I have never tried them with any sauce. They are such a rare treat for me that (when i have the chance) i usually plant myself under a tree and just eat fresh fruits whole.


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