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Buah Pedada is round and slightly flattened in shape, approximately 5-7 centimeters in diameter, and has a small point at the top. The outer skin is green and leathery, and the bottom of the fruit is wrapped in green sepals that are aligned in a star shape. The inner fleshy, cream-colored pulp contains many very small, water-dispersed seeds. Buah Pedada has a sour taste and fruity aroma when young, but as it matures, it develops a flavor reminiscent of cheese.
Buah Pedada is available year-round.
Buah Pedada, botanically classified as Sonneratia caseolaris, is a member of the sonneratiaceae, or flowering plant family. Also known as the Mangrove Apple, Crabapple Mangrove, Cork Tree, Kirala Gedi, Firefly Mangrove, Berembang, Pagapate, Tapoo, Tamoo, Lamphu, and Baanchua, the Buah Pedada tree is popularly used in Malaysian cooking, traditional medicine, and for functional items such as fishermen's nets. The trees are found in brackish waters along coastal mud flats, and the fruit is often called star of the sea because it is extremely buoyant and was originally discovered floating in the waters.
Buah Pedada is an excellent source of vitamins A, D, and K, calcium, and fiber.
Buah Pedada can be used in both raw and cooked applications. When consumed raw, it is typically served as a salad with shrimp paste, lime, chili, and red shallots. The pulp is also popularly mixed with coconut milk and made into a milkshake. The fruits can be preserved with salt and sugar, used in vinegar, boiled into syrup using sugar and citric acid, and also made into a clear jelly. It is widely used in curry-based dishes and chutneys to add a tangy, rich flavor. Buah Pedada pairs well with chilies, ginger, turmeric, onion, red shallots, salt, sugar, shrimp paste, coconut milk, tomatoes, and sweet potato. Buah Pedada will keep for a couple of days when stored in a cool and dry place.
Buah Pedada trees have vibrant ruby red flowers that open at dusk and typically only survive for one night. These nectar-filled flowers and fruits are visited by many nocturnal guests including bats and moths, but the most popular guest is the firefly. Malaysian cities such as Kampung Kuantan, Bukit Belimbing, and Kampung Pangkalan Ladang have created eco-tourism boat trips around the fireflies. These boat trips create a source of income for the villagers, and the fireflies breed year-round allowing for this source of income to be sustainable all year. These trips also allow for mangrove conservation and education on the importance of preserving these forests from destruction by new housing and industrial construction.
Buah Pedada is native to Southeast Asian tropical regions with coastal, brackish mud flats. Today the fruit of Buah Pedada can be found in select markets in Africa, Australia, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.