Flavour Pairings with Agbalumo

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]


  1. I love what you are doing.it does make soo much sense to create our own recipe with our local ingredients.I am looking forward to seeing a naija version of pizza which will include wara saint leaves,goatmeat with some pepper soup spice.lol just make it our own.there is a cafe in Lagos that serves agbalumo sorbet and zobo sorbet.it’s interesting when I see stuff like this.thanks great job

    • Thank you Nimat, We shall make that pizza if we can find awesome Wara in Lagos. It sounds amazing too! Yes, Hans and Rene do lovely sorbets with Agbalumo and Zobo and a host of other things. I appreciate it. Stay well

  2. I’m speechless. How do you come up with all these? Who would have thought that something as simple as agbalumo could be used for all these? I made agbalumo and carrot juice with a dash of cinnamon this morning. It tasted really great. Thankssssss.

    • Hi, the sticky pulp is eaten off the seeds and then the hard, brown seed itself is discarded or used for games. sometimes, holes are bored and they are threaded onto wrist bands and other ‘jewellery’ for traditional dances.

      Where can you find them? It depends on where you are. If you’re outside Nigeria, you might be able to find them in Nigerian/ African shops when in season. Hope this helps

  3. Lord have mercy.
    I was just looking for ideas for a meal plan…how do you come up with this stuff?

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