This Trinbago (Trinidad and Tobago) style Pommecythere Chow (pickled ambarella) is so simple to make that you really don’t need a recipe. However, for those of you not familiar with the whole concept of ‘chow’ will find this helpful. Chow in Trinidad and Tobago and many of the southern Caribbean islands is simply fruit (tart) or citrus, marinated in a spicy liquid. Green mango is certainly the fruit of choice, but you can use Pommecythere as in this or pineapple, sour cherries, cucumber, plums, apple, oranges and other citrus with great results.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon or lime
2 tablespoon finely chopped shado beni
8 birds eye pepper (or scoch bonnet)
3 cloves garlic
Notes: Green pommecythere are used for the slight tartness. pommecythere – Spondias dulcis (syn. Spondias cytherea), known commonly as ambarella, is an equatorial or tropical tree, with edible fruit containing a fibrous pit. It is known by many other names in various regions, including pomme cythere in Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, June plum in Bermuda and Jamaica, juplon in Costa Rica,golden apple in Barbados, jobo indio in Venezuela, cajá-manga and cajarana in Brazil, quả cóc in Vietnam, manzana de oro in Dominican Republic.
Wash and peel the pommecythere using a pairing knife or potato peeler, then slice into 1/4 inch pieces. Watch the video below to see how I cut through them – keep in mind that there’s a spiny seed in the middle. Place in a large bowl for mixing.
Then it’s just a matter of finely chopping the peppers, garlic and shado beni. If you can’t source shado beni, you can use cilantro. Traditionally, the pepper, garlic and shado beni is crushed in a mortar and pestle, but I like the chopped small pieces – excellent when you get bits as you eat the chow.
Then it’s just a matter of placing all the ingredients in the bowl, squeeze in the lemon juice and top with salt. Mix well and allow to marinate for a bit before diving in!
Remember that if you include the seeds of the pepper it will increase the heat level and if you choose (much better in my opinion) you can use scotch bonnet pepper. This chow can also be placed in a glass jar, top with water (adjust the salt to compensate for the added water) and leave to really preserve (soak as we say) for a few days. The Pommecythere will absorb the flavors of the garlic, lemon juice and shado beni, plus the heat of the hot peppers for a more unique and traditional flavor.
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I found pommecythere in Malaysia on the island of Borneo! It’s called Kedongdong.
This fruit is also called a Chinese Olive here in the Atlanta area where it can be purchased from time to time at the Dekalb Farmers Market. Your recipe brings back many fond memories from my childhood growing up in Trinidad Chris. Well done Sir!
Chris, I didn’t know June plum could be eaten this way. I will try it as soon as I can find some. It is usually eaten green, turned or ripe with or without salt and/black pepper.
I’m looking for meals with flavor ( with less/no meat)and now I can eat my home meals with back a yard pleasure. You made my day. Thanks again. Big up!
Prune de Cythère and not Pomme Cythere in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
From a French Tringrenadian fan. Love your recipes!
Thank you so much for sharing.