When I moved to London and started working in cocktail bars, I encountered several weird looking fruits which everyone only used for garnishing, one of them a star fruit which is otherwise known as carambola. Since relocating to Singapore, I’ve realised that carambola is everywhere.
It is believed that the fruit is native to Southeast Asia but there are no written records. From south east asia it was exported to South Pacific and has grown in popularity through non-tropical areas all around the world.
Carambola is shaped like a star and therefore it has the earned the nickname “star fruit.” It is closely related to small and similar shaped but very sour fruit called bilimbi. Star fruit is a member of wood sorrel family. The fruit is non seasonal and produces 3 to 5 crops each year.
The whole fruit carambola is edible and very often it is eaten raw for its similar flavour and texture of apple and pear or juiced for its refreshing juice. Carambola is used in different cuisines in various ways, treated as a vegetable and cooked, pickled or made into jams.
Here is a thirst quencher for your BBQs:
4 pcs of fresh pineapple
½ piece of carambola cut into small pieces
1 small slice of fresh ginger – not too much otherwise it will overpower everything else
10 ml fresh lemon juice
2 tsp of fine brown sugar
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients into a blender. Add 5 cubes of ice and blend until ice is broken. Pour into a glass and garnish with a slice of carambola.
Tip: Spike it with 45 ml of dark rum for adults.
Bartender’s note: “Have you thought about using carambola instead of citrus in your cocktails?”