Dabai is one of many exotic fruits in Sarawak.
It is commonly known as or-kana – means ‘black olive’ in Hokkien, but technically it is not an olive.
The dabai tree can grow up to 21 meters high and it’s furry leaves are thin and its twigs are covered with golden down. A planting distance of 9 meters is recommended. You need to prune the young trees to produce more bushy growth.
Dabai trees are dioecious (i.e have separate sexes) with male and female trees required for fruiting! Dabai are white in colour when immature and turn black when ripe. They are oblong in shape like an olive and have thin, edible skin. The yellowish white flesh wraps around a three-angled seed. Soak the dabai in hot water until they are soft. The yellowish flesh tastes creamy. Eating the skin is a personal preference. For taste, try either soy sauce or salt. You can also preserve it just by soaking them with black soy sauce or with coarse salt (without the seed). Dabai fried rice is a specialty dish in Sarawak. However this is a seasonal fruit.
The second best thing that comes out from a fruit is the nut inside the seed. Crack it open with a mortar and pestle set; the good old-fashion way. Use a toothpick to remove the nut if necessary.
Sarawak, where adventure lives…
Author: Deckson Bundak