Sấu (dracontomelon) is a seasonal fruit from the north. Its season lasts two to three months, between May and August. The fruit has a sour taste that can provide indispensable flavour to a variety of dishes. Due to its short season, people often preserve it in the fridge to use throughout the year.
The fruit can be used to make various dishes from snacks, drinks and desserts to the main course.
Sấu contains lots of nutritions. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn
A ripe dracontomelon is 86 per cent of water; 1 per cent organic acid; 1.3 per cent protein; 8.2 per cent glucide; 2.7 per cent cellulose; 100mg calcium; 44mg phosphor & iron; 3mg vitamin C.
According to Eastern Medicine, unripe dracontomelon has a sour and tart taste while ripe dracontomelon tastes sweet and has cool characteristics.
Dracontomelon has been used to treat mouth ulcers, sore throat, sickness due to pregnancy, drunks, rash, itching and skin sores.
Its sour taste can stimulate digestion.
Drinks from dracontomelon
Sweet drinks made from dracontomelon are a popular heat-relieving drink in Hà Nội in hot summer. Dracontomelon mixed with sugar offers a light sour taste and crispy fruit. The drink blends well the sourness of dracontomelon fruit, the sweetness of sugar, and the hot spicy taste of ginger creating a unique drink for the capital.
Sấu drinks can help cool off in the summer heat. — Photo riviu.vn
Housewife Phí Lan Phương applies the recipe of 1-1.5kg of dracontomelon; 500-800 grams of rock sugar; 50 grams of ginger; 500-700ml of just below boiling water and some salt.
Phương said she cleans the fruit, gets rid of the outer cover, and makes a deep cut on the fruit to create a spiral, but does not cut the fruit off the seed.
She then soaks the cut fruit in salted solution for an hour so that it will keep its fresh colour when being soaked in sugar.
Then, she poaches the fruit in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. She boils sugar solution with minced ginger and lets the solution boil up for three to five minutes. It must cool off totally before being poured into the dracontomelon jar. The fruit is soaked in the sugar solution for 10-15 days.
Some drinks mixed with ice is a wonderfully refreshing drink for Hà Nội’s summer heat.
Dracontomelon stirred in fat with shrimp
The dish will provide balanced protein, carbohydrates and fibre, which can be served as a main course with steamed rice.
Take 500 grams of shrimp; nine dracontomelon fruits; two bell peppers (one green, one yellow); chopped garlic, sugar, salt, fish sauce, oyster oil and cooking oil.
The shrimp should be de-shelled and the bell peppers cut into small pieces. Fry the bell peppers and garlic and stir in the dracontomelon for a few minutes, until well cooked. Then stir the shrimps separately in fat.
When well-cooked, put the mixture of dracontomelon and bell peppers in with two tablespoons of oyster oil and leave to cool.
The dish is ready to be served with hot steamed rice.
Duck stew with dracontomelon
Duck stewed with sour draconmelon, coconut water, ginger and lemongrass is a good suggestion for summer. The main course can be served hot with steamed rice or fresh vermicelli.
Duck stew with dracontomelon is perfect for a summer meal. — Photo dienmayxanh.com
The soup can be added with some taro to make it thicker and richer.
Soup of dracontomelon and minced pork, pork ribs or fish
A sour soup of dracontomelon and minced port, pork ribs or fish will relieve the summer heat very well.
Dracontomelon soup and pork ribs. — Photo conglyxahoi.net.vn
The dish is easy to make with some more tomatoes to enhance the sour taste with dracontomelon and some herbs as a final touch.
The same ingredients can be used for a soup of oyster and dracontomelon.
The taste of fresh oyster blended with mild sour dracontomelon, tomatoes and some ginger will be unforgettable.
Pork shoulder arm stew with dracontomelon
Another delicacy of the north is blending fatty pink pork shoulders, green dracontomelon, red chilli and green onions.
The pork shoulder arm should be cured well with some salt before being cut into small pieces and poached in boiling water for one minute.
Boil 100ml of cooking oil with three tablespoons of sugar till they mix well, then add dracontomelon, chopped garlic, onion and chilli. Then pour some 100ml water and boil it at high temperature.
Add a tablespoon of oyster oil, a soup spoon of fish sauce, two coffee spoons of broth mix, and a soup spoon of sugar into the solution, boil it up and put the meat in.
The mixture should be boiled at a high temperature for some 45 minutes until the solution gets thicker and the meat turns soft.
The final pork shoulder arm should absorb all the ingredients and spices. The dish can be served with hot steamed rice and some sliced cucumber or pickles.
Salted & sweet dry dracontomelon with ginger (Ô mai)
Ô mai sấu makes the mouth water when mentioned. — Photo vietmart.vn
This is a typical snack all year round.
Simple ingredients are used for this significant delicacy of Hà Nội. This recipe can be applied widely: 500 grams of dracontomelon; 400 grams of sugar; 30 grams of ginger and 10 gram of salt.
Dracontomelon should be chosen very well, with thick pulp and matured enough to offer the best flavour.
The dracontomelon, after being cleaned, is soaked in a lime solution for three hours to get rid of the resin. Then, the dracontomelon is poached in boiling water.
Put sliced ginger, sugar and salt together and leave it for around an hour. When the sugar melts with other ingredients, stir all the ingredients at a small temperature. When the mixture boils and turns to an amber colour, take dracontomelon and ginger out. Put them in the oven at 150 Celsius degrees for around an hour or you can let them dry in the sun.
The final snack should have an attractive spicy flavour of ginger mixed with salty, sweet, and sour together. The snack can be kept for a long time in a covered jar in a dry place. VNS