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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Of limequats and faux kumquats

On a recent trip to the farmer's market, I found a stand selling small round orange citrus fruits which were labeled "kumquats" - although not in the characteristic oblong shape. On a table a little further down, the same fruits were labeled "limequats".

Neither were right, of course. These vendors were peddling calamansi (aka, calamondin) - yes, that's a wikipedia link, but at the moment, it seemed pretty accurate. Anyone biting into a calamansi expecting a kumquat may come off a little disappointed. Okay, I did that :).

A tart and wonderfully floral fruit, it is quite versatile, used everywhere you would use a lime or a lemon. Except, being so small, there really isn't much juice in one fruit. Everywhere in Southeast Asia, savory foods are presented with a cut half of a calamansi for squeezing over as a final acid flourish. Calamansi and soy sauce are a natural pairing, and can be used as a marinade for fish or chicken, and a final saucing component for almost anything sour - fried noodles are made complete by a final sprinkle of calamansi juice and fish sauce.

Calamansi mixed with honey and diluted with cold water is a refreshing drink during hot weather. I have heard of calamansi margaritas being a great success, as well as a new base for pate de fruits.

Behold my newest experiment: calamansi poundcake. Well, I am a little reluctant to call it a poundcake, as I don't really use all that much butter in it, and have cut down a bit on the flour for a more tender crumb. I also relied a bit on whipped egg white to provide the some of the rise. I could probably use more baking powder, as the acid from the citrus would provide plenty of bubbles. About the most labor-intensive part of the process is squeezing and seeding enough calamansi to get the half cup that went into this cake. So, I think a basic calamansi loaf cake would do as a name.

I don't really follow a recipe, but this isn't too different from a basic cake, just adjusting for the acid with baking soda.

1 comment:

  1. Next time, use a garlic mincer. Any old thing you can pick up at Kroger will do. (though metal is preferable over plastic) I've never tried it with calamansi, but they appear to be about the same size as a key lime, and using the garlic mincer method you can get almost double the amount of juice.