Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cherimoya or sugar-apple - cousin of sitaphal

I like trying out strange new fruits and vegetables (strange and new to me, that is) when I go to the supermarket. Fairly recently I tried a pomelo, which turned out to be like a grapefruit except with lots more thick white skin with a quite sour tasting centre. It was ok but if I must eat sour fruit, I'd rather have a grapefruit.



This time, though, I found something that was called a "cherimoya". I thought it looked a lot like a fruit I was familiar with from India - the
sitaphal or custard apple - so I bought one just to try out. It was much smoother on the outside than the custard apples I remembered, so I wasnt sure if I was on the right track. But when I cut it open, I realised it WAS a variety of custard apple - only much sweeter and with a lovely, almost perfumey fragrance.



The problem with custard apples - or sugar apple, in this case - is the seeds. You cant eat them, so you have to keep spitting them out, which makes it difficult to get a decent mouthful of sweet flesh. But it's worth the effort to remove the flesh off the seeds, believe me. It tastes wonderful!



I was really happy to have found this fruit because I like it a lot. Next time I'll have to try recipes with this fruit. For now though, I'm content to eat it as is.

21 comments:

Gini said...

Brought back all those memories from childhood. Our neighbours had this and I used to get it as a special treat if I was well behaved. I had almost forgotten this fruit.

Priya said...

Oh My!! I nearly forgot that sitaphals exist. We used to have the tree in our backyard when we were kids but later we moved and the fruit also some how lost its place in the fruit markets!! Will surely look for cherimoya in the stores here.

Smitha said...

Wow Shyamala, I echo the sentiments of gini and priya. As a kid, I was very choosy about the kinda fruits i liked. Never liked anything that was sandy or gooey, but strangely took an instant liking to Custard Apple (its strange cos I remember the flesh of the fruit being sandy and goooey!). Its been ages since I had it. You definitely brought back very fond memories. I'm definitely looking for the fruit in our farmers' market!

TS said...

I was always hesitant to try this-Now I will! thanks.

Shankari said...

We find cherimoya in Asian stores here and yeah there is that fragrance which makes it a little different from Sitafal, but I dont mind having cherimoya when I crave for sitafal

Luv2cook said...

I am jealous (in capital letters)..Sita phal is my favorite favorite fruit...I am gonna keep my eyes open for Cherimoya....

Meerar said...

hi shyam

love your blog. i think you can eat it by scooping it with a spoon close to the rind. also i have had a friend who made it into a juice with some lemon juice and it was very good

i am in the uk as well and i was hoping you could give me some tips on which rice would be suitable for making idli. all my efforts have so have made stodgy rubbery discs. very unsatisfactory.

meera

Anupama said...

Shammi, I am so glad you tried out this Cherimoya. You know I always see these different fruits and am tempted to buy them too but something holds me back. What if I hate it? What if I no one at home likes it? And a lot of Ifs. So now that you have told me about this I will buy it the next time I go fruit shopping.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this fruit at some grocery stores and thought that it looked like the sitapol... but since it is smooth on the outside I did not bother trying it. Next time I see one I am going to try it.
Shammi, just wanted to let you know that I have tried a few recipes from your blog and they all came out tasting yummy!! Just the other day I made the jilebi and boy it tasted really good! Other recipes that I tried are -rava dosa, egg puff, thattai and the choc-orange sponge cake. There are still so many more I want to make. Today I am gonna try the methi dal with 2 dals.
Thank you!!
Sowmya

Saffron said...

How interesting! I'll have to look for this fruit in the store. I've almost forgotten how sitaphal tastes :(

cheers!

Dilip said...

Sitaphal, gosh not tried it in a long time. Now i am gonna have to get some, along with Cherimoya, which i don't think i have tried.

Thanks

nav said...

Hey Shammi!

That is so cool.. We call this fruit ram-sitaphal, funnily enough! I am glad u shared this with all of us. Will be in look out for it, could you share the name of the supermarket u got it from ?

Cheers,
Nav

Meeta said...

I remember this from when my mum used to buy these in Qatar. I have only recently noticed these in the stores here - will have to go out and get a few again. They do taste awesome.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I ran into these a couple of days ago, but didn't get a good description of what exactly they were from the guy at the store.
Your timing is impeccable. I'll definitely try them out!
Thanks!

Indira said...

I remember seeing these here at Asian stores, Shammi. I didn't know and wasn't sure how they would taste, so didn't buy. Now I will,:) thanks to you.

Hyderabadi's said...

Thanks for sharing :)
Will get it asap...

Caitlin said...

Thanks for posting this...I have had cherimoyas many times (especially visiting Peru, where they have HUGE ones after dinner every day), but I am currently in Dominica, West Indies, and I bought Sugar Apples today having no idea what they are like or how to eat them.

Anonymous said...

The fruit you talking about is called Ram-phal in India. It has some similarities with Sita-phal but looks smoother from outside. The texture of the inner white pulp too is smoother and richer in taste with lesser number of seeds than in Sita-phal. I hope this information helps. HP, Boston.

Shiven said...

I am a student of fruits and flowers and I know that it is neither sitafal or ramfal, it is a different variety called Cherimoya. Its Hindi name is Shalki, perhaps because its skin resembles the skin (shalk) of fish. However it is not found in India, only in special college nurseries.
Yes, it is from the same family from which sita and ramfal come, the Annona family. There are 8 main fruits popular from Annona family out of which 5 are found in India. They are : Sitafal (sugar apple), Ramfal (custard apple), Graviola, Wild graviola, Pond Apple, Cherimoya, Atemoya and Marolo. The last 3 are not found in India. Cherimoya and Atemoya have the best ediblity and taste.
I hope this would be a good and helpful information for every reader.

Kartik Jayaraman said...

We bought a sitaphal tree from a nursery because it looked like one :) On planting, it produced the first fruit and we realized it was a Cherimoya! Nevertheless, we will be tasting it this fall, so will see how it tastes. I hope its better than sitaphal. Its occupying one precious fruit tree spot!

Anonymous said...

The seeds are poisonous if crushed open..just search in google.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherimoya