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Kolang Kaling is small to medium in size, averaging 5-7 centimeters in diameter, and has a slightly lopsided, globose to oval shape. The outer shell is smooth, firm, and hard, transforming from green to yellow-black when mature and bearing brown-black spots and discoloration at all stages of maturity. Underneath the thick shell, three translucent-white seeds are chewy and soft, encased in a fibrous interior. The fleshy seeds can be easily removed, and Kolang Kaling has a rubbery texture with a mild, neutral flavor.
Kolang Kaling is available year-round in tropical regions of Asia and Southeast Asia.
Kolang Kaling, botanically classified as Arenga pinnata, are fruits that grow on a tropical palm that can reach up to twenty meters in height and belongs to the Arecaceae family. The Arenga pinnata palm is highly cultivated for its sap, fruit, bark, and leaves, and is found along river banks and forests in Southeast Asia. Also known as Buah Tap in Indonesia and Kaong in the Philippines, Kolang Kaling is favored for its neutral flavor and is popularly consumed as a chewy snack soaked in syrup or consumed as a topping on dessert.
Kolang Kaling contains some vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, fiber, potassium, iron, and calcium.
Kolang Kaling is best suited for cooked preparations such as boiling, and the immature fruits are the preferred state for consumption. The fruit is removed from the outer, fibrous shell and then boiled to create a soft and chewy texture. It can also be cooked in syrup or flavored sodas to add sweetness and coloring. In the Philippines, Koland Kaling is flavored with red and green syrups to create a colorful fruit salad that is traditionally served at holiday meals. The fruit is also served as a topping on haluhalo, also known as halo-halo, which is a crushed ice dessert mixed with evaporated milk and topped with fruits, red beans, ube, grass jelly, and ice cream. During Ramadan, the fruits are found in kolak, which is a banana compote that is used to break fasts. In addition to using the fruits whole, Kolang Kaling can be cooked into jams or preserved in syrup for extended use. Fresh Kolang Kaling should be immediately consumed for best flavor, but the preserved, canned versions will keep for a couple of months when stored in the refrigerator.
In the Philippines, Indang, which is a municipality in the province of Cavite, has earned the nickname the “Kaong capital of the Philippines.” Used for its sap, fruit, bark, and leaves, Kaong palms are cultivated and grown naturally in the region with ease due to the abundant sources of water flowing from streams and waterways. These palms provide a source of revenue for the province, and along with its economic impact, the palms also have a symbiotic relationship with vulnerable animal species such as the slender-tailed cloud rat, palm civet, and musang. These animals feed off of the palm seeds and through excretion the seeds are spread to grow new palms providing a natural barrier against deforestation. There is also an annual festival known as the Irok Festival that is held in the winter in Cavite that celebrates the fruit with parades, entertainment, dancing, and a lantern construction contest using the leaves of the palm.
Kolang Kaling is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and has been growing wild since ancient times. Today the palm is also found in select areas in Asia, and the fruit is cultivated on a large scale for resale in local markets in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hawaii, India, Thailand, and China.
Recipes that include Kolang Kaling. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Cooking without Borders||Manisan Kolang Kaling|