Sour Fruits

In the ayurvedic system, you are required to identify your psycho-physiological type and then to eat the kinds of of food that complement or enhance it. These foods then fall into the category of the six tastes, sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent. I've been reminded in the short time since I've returned how prevalent sour flavours are here in the diet. Apart from the frequent use of the local Calamansi limes and preference for eating both ripe and unripe fruits- things like mangoes are often eaten green and unripe and very sour, dipped in salt or salty soy sauce, there are also a number fruits that are used in cooking to specifically impart a sour taste.

On the right is Assam Belimbing or Averrhoa Bilimbing which I'm not so familiar with although its used in a variety of ways both cooked and raw. It has the acidity of a gooseberry and the mouth feel of a kiwi fruit. On the left is dried Assam Keping or Assam Gelugor or Garcinia Atroviridis which is much more prevalent and is used as a flavoring agent to make curries or laksas sour, particularly those that involve seafood. The most common sour fruit which I haven't photographed although I will do at some point is Tamarind, also known as Assam Jawa. You can probably deduce that the word assam means sour.

In the Ayurvedic pharmacology of sour taste or Amal Rasa, the properties of this taste stimulate the brain and digestive system. Translated into more western conventions, sour fruits are high in antioxidants and their acidic nature enables antifungal , antimicrobial, fat burning and even anti tumor properties.

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