Compiled by Mei Er
Scientific name : Canarium odontophyllum
Dabai, a very new name, new fruit to me being a West Malaysian. It looks like olive but tastes something like avocado, delicious. The Dabai fruit also known as ‘Sibu olive’ or ‘Ka Lang’ in Foochows is indigenous to Sarawak and found along riverbanks in Sibu, Kapit and Sarikei divisions.
It is a seasonal fruit and highly perishable fruit with a shelf life of 2-3 days. However recent development of a freezing package enables storage of frozen dabai fruit for up to a year, making it available year round for marketing to markets further afield and for downstream activities of value-added products.
Dabai fruits are white in color when it is not ripe and turns into blue-black when it is ripe. The flesh inside is yellow and it has a 3 faceted diamond shaped seed. Not only the skin and flesh is edible but the kernel (insides of the seed) is too which we only found out after web searching. Chop the seed into half then use a toothpick or something to dig the white edible thingy which is as tasty like fresh peanuts.
Preparation : Soaking them in warm water of 60 degree Celsius for about 20 minutes to soften the mesocarp and eaten usually with a bit of salt or soya sauce, or soya saucer with sugar. Never ever use hot or boiling water.
The popularity of dabai as an exotic and health fruit in¬creased over the years with the department producing recipes for pizza, fried rice, mixed vegetables, maki (dried seaweed roll), pickles, desserts and salad sauce based on the fruit.
Research by ARC, Semongok have shown that dabai fruit is nutritious with high values of energy (339kcal), protein (3.8%), fat (26.2%), fiber, and minerals such as potassium (810mg), calcium (200mg), magnesium (106mg) and vitamin E (257ppm) as compared to other underutilized fruit. Current studies by UPM, Serdang have revealed that the main fatty acid composition of dabai – palmitic acid (37-39%), Oleic acid (38-42%) and Linoleic acid (15-18%) is very similar to that of palm oil. Furthermore, these studies also revealed that fruit possesses high antioxidant properties with the skin exhibiting the greatest concentration. The high antioxidant capacity of dabai fruit is due to its polyphenol components. The phenolic compounds in it include anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Dabai fruit contained 2.05-2.49mg anthocyanin/g dried weight as compared to grape of 0.75-0.80mg. Dabai may be a promising source of natural antioxidant phenolics for nutraceutical and functional food industry.
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