This my dear friends is the fruit of the Cashew plant. What we normally eat is the seed, either fried or baked to a crisp and salted. Many, like me, are painfully unaware to the joy the fruit itself bestow.
|Cashew fruit, or locally called Buah Janggus or Gajus.|
The fruit is a fascinating little anomaly. When unripe it is firm with a waxy sheen and has an astringency that makes it rather unpalatable. As it ripens, it develops a sweet sourish aroma and the formerly firm crisp fruit develops a spongy and ridiculously juicy texture. And lets not forget about that weird comma shaped seed pod (and its poisonous, caustic sap!)
What did it taste like?
Imagine a eating a slightly rubbery skinned fruit. At the bite, the flesh has a texture akin to sopping wet rubberised cotton-balls that immediately release lashings of fragrant juice with a light yet lasting finish (but not stickily so). A few moments later an interesting dry-mouthed feel pervades, thanks to the residual effect of the astringent compounds.
The aroma is the one most difficult to place, the slightly sourish aroma is reminiscent of rotting apples (that wonderful yeasty sour-sweet tang). I would say cider-y is the best closest memory I can pin it on. Locals often eat the fruit sectioned and sprinkled with salt & sugar.
|Sprinkled with salt & sugar and them babies leach the fragrant juice!|
The seed is encased in a hard, pistachio nut like outer shell. This would need to be roasted until blackened to burn away the caustic sap. The seed can then be eaten accordingly as a nut.
The shoots & young leaves can be eaten as a herb or ulam, with sambal belacan or any spicy condiment. The leaves too carry the characteristic astringent quality. Locals, sometimes finely shred the leaves and add it as a leafy component in Laksa Langkawi. When just enough shredded leaves are added, the slight sour hit of the herb cuts across the rich 'fishiness' of the gravy.
Give it a try if you find yourself in Langkawi and looking for interesting things to eat.