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Flavour Pairings with Agbalumo

by on March 18, 2015
Yes, flavour pairings are a personal thing…what people like to eat together, but also what ingredients go with what.They are also based on scientific studies – flavour families with which we’re familiar, like floral of Zobo and Meyer lemons; citrus of oranges and limes and lemons; and on and on and on. The truth is certain compounds and volatile oils and flavour notes work together, complementing each other and creating a symphony, a marriage that works.

In the last few weeks, since Agbalumo has been in season, I’ve experimented with combinations and pairings. Here’s what I’ve found out:

The flavour of Agbalumo is complex as the skin, flesh and seeds all taste different. Overall, the flesh – the part I’ve used the most in preparations – puree, leather, curd – has a flavour that’s sweet and sour, with acid notes similar to citrus fruits, particularly lemon. My friend says there is a distinct ‘sour cherry’ flavour finish.

In the skin, I find there’s a faint element of bitter, reminiscent of the tannins in tea.

The seeds are the sweetest part with a creamy texture and flavour like soursop.

Here are a few notes I’ve made (and will update) from my explorations:



My favourite fruit to combine with Agbalumo has to be Oranges. Something about the sweet citrus fragrance, and colour too works beautifully with it.

  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas – I plan on making a two ingredient ice cream
  • Papaya
  • Carrots, (A certain Agbalumo-Carrot cake wasn’t bad at all)

Spice & Aromatics

Warming, fragrant flavours which draw out the nuances without overpowering it work well for both sweet recipes and savoury.


Ehuru – Calabash Nutmeg

Cardamom and Cinnamon  work really well – they bring warmth where they’re used with the Agbalumo. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious a savoury chutney turned out, with the heat of ginger and chilies. Funny enough, no salt was added to the mix so I have little idea if salted Agbalumo is a thing 🙂

green cardamom pods


I’ve enjoyed the few things I’ve tried with Agbalumo


  • Scent leaves. Both steeped in a sweet syrup, and used in a Savoury Chutney
I think it would work well with (will be tried at some point)

What flavours do you think might go with Agbalumo considering its characteristics?[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Flavour Pairings with Agbalumo – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]