What is Buah DABAI?
Dabai is one of many exotic fruits in Sarawak or commonly known as ‘Black Olive’ (Or Kana in Hokkien). Then again, it is not an olive.
So what is it anyway?
The Buah Dabai scientific name is Canarium, consists of 75 types of species from tropical and subtropical areas. Surprisingly, the Canarium family tree is under the Burseraceae, which is a native to the tropical Africa, southern Asia, and Australia, as well as places like Nigeria-east to Madagascar, India, Southern China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The fruit itself is so large and grows on thick green trees up to 40-50 meters height, with alternate, pinnate leaves.
Its furry leaves are thin and twigs covered with golden brown.
How do I prepare?
Buah Dabai is another well-known dish among Malaysians. Its preparation will take a minute or two.
Step one, all what you need is to fill it up with water. Not too much hot water of course. The level of water must be slightly less than the amount of Dabai inside it. Cover the container lid so that heat will be trap inside.
Then you just have to fill it up with black soy sauce. At the same time, you can choose to make it salty or sweet. Just add salt for salty and sugar to make it sweet.
The final step is to wait. After two minutes have passed, you may open it. The smell of Dabai aroma is so strong that you will find it hard to resist. Then again, the very fragrant of Dabai depends on your preparation, either sweet or salty.
If you are creative enough, you might want to try different style. Another method of preparing it is by cooking it with our very well-known elegant yet simplest traditional dish. That is the Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice).
Malaysia is very well-known for the Traditional Nasi-Goreng. Be it Chinese style, Malay Style, Indian Style, Tribal Style and even the Free Style! The dish is so simple and flexible that it has no specific methods of preparing it.
All what you need to do is, while cooking your fried rice, as usual, boil your Dabai first and peel off its outer layer. Then dunk everything inside your fried rice but not the seed. Now, your fried rice is known as Nasi Goreng Dabai.
The seed itself however, is eatable. You will have to cut it into half and dig out the flesh inside it using tooth pick. The Dabai inner seed flesh contains lots of calcium which is good for health!
Where to buy?
Dabai, just like the Durian, is a not your typical seasonal fruit. You will only get it once a year.
The price of Dabai ranges differently in kilograms and depends on the seller.
Normally, the best quality Dabai comes from places in Sarawak such as Sibu, Betong, Kanowit, Sarikei, Oya and Kapit. The freshness of Dabai depends on the how the packaging is done. If you are a far traveller, and you want to try out the Dabai by bringing it back home, you need to pack it properly and make sure that it is not exposed to heat. If you do, the Dabai will eventually cook.
It is a very sensitive fruit even with very little heat exposure, the fruits will be cook! So do pack and wrap it well.
Why is there a yellow and red flesh Dabai?
There is no need to fret on the colour. If it is yellow, the flesh is usually thicker than the red ones
Ka Lang(Olive 橄榄), Buah Dabai
This fruit(or vegetable?) is very common in Sibu or the Sarawak and if you go to central market, you will definitely find stalls selling it. We call it Ka Lang(In Foochow), in Malay it is known as Buah Dabai
), if I translate from Foochow to Chinese,it is 橄榄 and again if I translate to English, it is Olive. This is definitely not the one that make the olive oil that you can buy in the market. The taste is totally different from normal Olive and Sarawak Olive. It can be found along the riverbanks in Sibu, Kapit and Sarikei divisions.
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.