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Wednesday 28 March 2012


Buah’ means fruit in Bahasa Malaysia. So buah engkalak simply means ‘engkalak’ fruit. All of our three trees are fruiting again and this week we harvested a big basketful.  Engkalak or Litsea garciae belong to the same family as avocado.

I didn’t like this fruit before; it truly is an acquired taste much like avocado too. But now, I love it! Rich and creamy and especially tasty with a pinch of salt or soya sauce, I think it’s a lot nicer than avocado!

As the fruits mature, they will turn a bright pink. However, they are only ready to be eaten when they turn a deeper red and the flesh has become soft. When consumed either green or pink, the flesh will be tough and tastes bitter-spicy. They are sold from RM2 to RM4 per basket.

When planted from seed, it takes about 4 or 5 years for a tree to reach fruiting size. The tree can attain a large size with large leaves and branches that spread out several meters from the trunk. It grows to about 15-20 or more meters high so this isn’t your normal garden tree as it requires a lot of space. Expect the first successful harvest around the fifth year. Well worth the wait, especially if you love avocado-type fruits. This is a tropical tree so unfortunately, not everyone will be able to plant this and enjoy the fruits!

To prepare the ripe fruits, simply place them in a deep bowl and pour hot water at about 80 degrees Celsius. Leave for about 5 minutes and the fruits would have “fattened” up and the flesh turned soft. Then simply squeeze out the large, round and hard seed inside and eat the soft creamy white flesh (minus the skin of course!). Very tasty with a pinch of salt!! Yummy....Engkalak is also known as butter-fruit locally. 

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Author: Deckson Bundak

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