It’s not a common fruit that you will find in the market everytime you make a trip, but Carambola is an instant favourite, especially for those who love sweet and tangy (khatta-meetha) flavour all in one. It is not the scientific name by which it is popular. Its five-angled ridges sparked another moniker, and justifiably so, the starfruit. The seasonal treat locally grows across the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asian countries, Seychelles, Mauritius and other tropical regions, but its origin traces back to Sri Lanka, which is believed to be its native place (where it is known as Kamaranga). Today, the yellowish-green fruit is cultivated in large scales in Australia, South America, Hawaii and Florida.
In Assam it is a beloved fruit which goes into the making of pickles and chutneys. Known as Kordoi, another favourite way of relishing it is by sprinkling a little salt and chopped chillies, and munching on the pieces. You need to pick the right fruits though to enjoy its sweet flavour, or you will find yourself biting into sour flesh. The best part about carambola is that it is extremely juicy, fleshy and the whole fruit is edible, including the waxy skin that covers it.
Carambola is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, copper and fiber, and is low in sugar and acid. It contains both primary and secondary polyphenols. It is also known for its anti-microbial properties, which is why it is commonly used as a home remedy to treat skin infections. If you are looking for ways to spruce up your fruit bowl and add a dose of seasonal goodness, this might be the fruit you need to get your hands on. Besides enjoying it as a fruit, it is also a great ingredient to experiment with in the kitchen. You can poach it with fruit juice and spices, or make an aromatic stew using cloves and anise. In China and Thailand, star fruit is often cooked along with fish and seafood to make tarty curries. Then you can always use them to make refreshing juices and other iced beverages.