Weather in this part of the world has not, alas, been all that Christmasy despite the fact that we’re just a little over a week away from the Big Day. It was beautifully overcast with chilly breezes last week, but it’s been hot and humid and drizzly for the past couple of days. This drastic change of weather has led to people catching dreadful colds or the flu, so there’s been a lot of coughing, sneezing, and wheezing going on in these parts.
Lucky for me, we have a kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi or tree sorrel) tree out front at home. These small, crunchy green fruits are deliciously sour (as opposed to being just tart) and are rich in Vitamin C and calcium.
You eat them raw, dipping them in a bit of rock salt to take the edge off the lip-puckering sourness. In many home kitchens, kamias is also used to flavor pots of sinigang in lieu of either tamarinds or guavas. Some people blitz the fruit into smoothies with ice and a tablespoon or so of sugar, but I think that’s just plain prissy. Better to enjoy these babies au naturel to get the full impact of the nutritional value.
If raw fruit – sweet or sour – isn’t enough to make you feel better, some searingly spicy Korean ramyeun or udong made from a shop-bought packet and embellished with meat dumplings (mandoo, also store-bought), an egg poached in the broth, and some sliced shiitake mushrooms is guaranteed to set your system to rights.
In the meantime, I’d better get my noontime dose of Hong Kong Pei Pa Koa (medicinal loquat, honey, and mint syrup) to stave off any further coughing! :p