I saw this unusual looking food arranged among the fruits in the grocery store, they were labeled ‘wood apple’. Strange that I had not heard of this until that day.
My curiosity grew more, I had to check out the taste and know more about this fruit. So purchased 3 wood apples along with other stuffs. Hastened my steps back home, very anxious to ask Google about this.
Mr. Know All (who else? Google of course) gave me lots of information about wood apple and also told me they are also known by other names like ‘elephant apple’ or ‘bael’. Felt bad at my ignorance when I read that the wood apple is a native fruit of India and Sri Lanka and is called by various names in different regions.
I noticed this had a fairly hard outer shell and had to hit hard on the kitchen work area in order to break it open.
What i saw inside was quite not what I had expected, they were very soft and pulp-like with white tender seeds which crushed easily between fingers. Had an overpowering tangy and sweet taste.
Next, running through my mind, what do I make from these wood apples. I decided to make a chutney or dip. I had to balance the sourness and mild sweetness with ingredients like chillies, roasted dals and some jaggery.
I roasted all the ingredients except jaggery and the final paste was still sour and needed more spice and salt. Then I roasted more chillies and added little bit of jaggery and salt.
And presto! the wood apple chutney was ready. Since the ingredients used are all roasted the chutney will stay good for a week in the refrigerator.
Serve it with dosa, idli, spread it over bread, parathas or serve as a side with pulao or flavored rice.
The wood apple or bael can be made into drinks or smoothie or mixed with coconut milk, also they are made into jams.
You may read more about its healthy benefits here.