Have you ever heard of nose apples?That’s what my friend Clay asked me, and I had no idea what he was talking about. When he brought a bunch to our house I recognized them as a fruit I’ve heard called jambu. I’ve seen trees around but never tasted them.
I guess they do look like noses. They’re mildly sweet, like an Asian pear. The texture reminds me of a pepper: crisp, with a shiny, waxy exterior and hollow seed cavity. They’re cultivated throughout the tropics. The color ranges from white to green to red. The name nose apple is a hard sell, which might explain why they’re not as popular here. They’re also called wax apples or jambu in other parts of the world. Wax apple makes me think of overly polished apples, so I’m sticking with jambu.
They’re a good snack, but they really shine in this Thai-style salad. We used up every last one of them this way, and now I’m hoping Clay unloads more at our house in the future. I know this is a rare thing, having a giant pile of jambu, but you can make this salad with thinly sliced jicama, melon, or Asian pears (it’s also very similar to my green papaya salad).
Now if anyone ever asks you if you want some nose apples, say “Yes!” and make this:
- 5 cups thinly sliced jambu*
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped
- handful of fresh basil, mint, or cilantro leaves
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (to taste)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Thai bird chilis, thinly sliced
- Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, and coconut sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic and chilis.
- Toss the dressing with jambu and green onions. Top with cashews and fresh herbs.
- *substitute jicama, melon, or Asian pear