The tropical fruit ‘mangosteen’ used to be unheard of in the past. Today however, this native fruit of Southeast Asia, which has great nutritional value, has become popular worldwide. With its reddish purple color, mangosteen is touted for its antioxidants, particularly xanthones, powerful phytonutrients with anti-cancer effects.
Davao City in the island of Mindanao is one place blessed with the abundance of the said edible fruit. It has found its way into innumerable Filipino recipes but most popularly as an appetizing addition to salads. Even the mangosteen juice has become a popular health drink that people from the West crave for.
Here’s a healthy mangosteen recipe called ‘Mixed Spring Greens with Champagne-Citrus Vinaigrette’
Mixed spring greens or spinach
2 mangosteens, peeled and segmented
¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed mangosteen juice
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tsp. freshly grated orange peel
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. each of sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- With a sharp knife, cut around the outside middle of the mangosteen, about half an inch deep.
- Hold a fruit with both hands, using your thumbs to pry open the fruit. Remove the segments.
- Spread chopped almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast lightly in a 350-degree oven or about 5 minutes.
- Combine all but the oil in a small bowl. With constant whisking, drizzle in oil until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place spring greens mixture in a large salad bowl, toss with vinaigrette, and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Makes 4 servings.
Another dish with mangosteen is ‘Clafouti’, an old-style dessert which originated from France. When done, it’s a cloud-like type of custard made with the fresh fruit. Since fresh mangosteens cannot be imported as whole in the US because of the danger of bringing in fruit flies, you can substitute it with lychees. Some Asian grocery stores in the US sell frozen and canned mangosteens.
5 fresh mangosteen fruits (or substitute with 1 cup fresh or canned lychee fruit)
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup rice flour (or regular all purpose flour)
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
Optional: 1 tsp. icing sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a little oil or butter, generously grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish
- Toss fruit (already taken out from the shell) with 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. sugar to coat. Arrange these segments in the bottom of the casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the salt and sugar to blend. Then whisk in the flour, stirring until smooth.
- Add the coconut milk, lemon peel, plus vanilla and coconut extract. Whisk to blend.
- Pour this mixture into the casserole dish over the mangosteen segments. You may notice the fruit floating in the egg mixture. This is desirable.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven.
- Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dessert is set in the middle and lightly browned on top.
- Serve warm with a little icing sugar sifted over, or with your choice of ice cream or whipped cream.
Fruits are an important part of the Filipino food. Of the numerous varieties growing abundantly in the Philippines, the lowly mangosteen has clearly made an impact in the hearts of Davaoeños.