While my friends shopped for ham, bacon and sausages which were so much cheaper at the Victorias Milling Company agro-industrial complex than in Metro Manila, I preferred shopping for food that I cannot find back home. I bought dried hibiscus buds, crumbled chorizo in a jar, dulce gatas and a host of other Bacolod delicacies.
And there was a bag of green makopa — a lovely surprise from our hostess. I made a salad with the delightful fruits at home. My introduction to green makopa is just as interesting as the salad.
A large part of our Negros Occidental vacation was spent at a hacienda in Cadiz. We enjoyed home cooked food, and meals were extended and relaxed. We never ran out of things to talk about but one recurring theme was food. Had we tried tambis salad? No, we hadn’t. Tambis is the Visayan name for makopa which I have always translated into English as mountain apple or Malay apple.
It turns out, however, that makopa is mountain apple (Syzygium samarangense) but not Malay apple (Syzygium malaccense). Whether tambis refers to mountain apple or Malay apple, strictly speaking, I am not sure, but there was a makopa tree at the hacienda from which we picked the fruits to make a salad. Furthermore, whenever we dined out in Bacolod City, when perusing restaurant menus, dishes with tambis had makopa in the accompanying photos.
When we were driving in Bacolod one day, we passed by a fruit stall and our gracious hostess, Isabel, exclaimed in delight that she saw green makopa. I got a little confused. Green makopa? Didn’t we pick pink fruits off the tree just a day earlier? Yes, she said, there is green makopa and it is sweeter than the pink variety. Seedless too.
(When I got home, I read up. Although the most recognizable is the pink makopa, the fruit actually comes in an array of colors from white to pale green to purple to black.)
The ever thoughtful Isabel had someone pick up a couple of kilos of green makopa on the last day of our vacation and I put a pack in my hand carried luggage to make sure they wouldn’t get crushed on the flight to Manila. I made a salad with some of the green makopa today to go with the tuna steaks for lunch.
For the salad dressing, I mixed roselle jam (bought in Bacolod) with olive oil, lime juice and herbs. The resulting vinaigrette is tangy with very subtle hint of sweetness. You can read more about roselle in the hibiscus juice post.
(Important note: If you recognize the brand of the olive oil in the background of the left photo above, know that we tried that brand once and never bought it again.)
Makopa (Mountain Apple) Salad With Herbed Hibiscus Vinaigrette
- 6 to 8 makopa green and pink will both work; pink is prettier but green is sweeter, well chilled
- 1 heaping tablespoon hibiscus (roselle) jam
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch dried rosemary
- 1 pinch dried tarragon
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 1 pinch dried sage
- juice of one small lime
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- thinly sliced scallion to garnish
- Cut off the tops of the makopa and scoop out the pith at the center. Cut the flesh into whatever size or shape you prefer.
- To make the dressing, simply stir together the rest of the ingredients.
- Toss half of the dressing with the makopa. Keep chilled until serving time.
- To serve, drizzle the rest of the dressing over the makopa and garnish with slivers of scallion.