Jeruk Bali Indonesian Pomelo

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If you are growing up in Indonesia before the coming of the console games, you have to be creative in looking for amusement. It means bundling up plastic bags to make bola kasti (a lighter version of softball), scouting up good round rocks to participate in sorodot gaplok (foot bowling using rocks), and stacking up pieces of genteng (pantile) for Bancakan, a combination game of hide and seek, softball, and full body contact game.

Bahasa Indonesia: Jeruk Bali di pasar pondok l...

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Another kind of creativity practiced by fathers for their kids, is to shape a toy cart made up of the skin of Jeruk Bali fruit, or internationally known as Pomelo.

Pomelo in Indonesia usually measured having about 20cm diameter; its flesh are either reddish pink in color, or yellowish white. The red one is usually sweeter, though both the red and white variant contains healthy amount of sourness. When the Pomelo isn't ripe yet, it is usually bitter and waterless, instead of sour.

Fresh pomelo usually has its skin quite rubbery; it's like having a nature-made polyurethane foam matress -- thick enough and versatile enough to be shaped into various forms, making it suitable as the base material for creating the toy cart, from its monocoque chassis, up to its radial wheels.

Beside of its automotive application, Pomelo skin also has other use in Indonesia, especially in the Sundanese region or Western Java: to be made as sweets known as Kalua.

Kalua Jeruk Ciwidey

Pomelo Kalua from Ciwidey, Jawa BaratBasically, Kalua is made by boiling fruits in sugar mixture, until it becomes hardened and milky in color. As with Pomelo Kalua, before cooking it is first soaked in kapur sirih (slaked lime - calcium hydroxide) water overnight to neutralize its bitterness.

One district that consistantly practicing making Kalua from Pomelo skin is Ciwidey in southern Bandung the capital of Jawa Barat. Here originally Kalua is made either in palm sugar seasoning (brown), or cane sugar seasoning (whitish). However nowadays, it also available in various colours, and flavours as well, e.g.: strawberry flavour, and durian flavour.

Kalua Jeruk Ciwidey has been a favorite gift form the region, back from 1940s. Today it is also sold outside Ciwidey, however due to its very traditional processing method, its shelf-age is not really long hence making it rather hard to store. It also tends to sweat hence are prone to molding when stored in a less dry container.

As its main ingredient is sugar, Kalua Jeruk Ciwidey is known to have a very sweet taste. It also has this fragrant aroma and firm texture, with a crusty skin from the sugar layer hence making it a wonderful treat for the sweet toothed.

Rujak Jeruk Bali

Rujak Jeruk Bali, Balinese Pomelo SaladPomelo fruit, beside of eaten raw has also found its way into heavier snack department, with its form as rujak. Chopped in big chunks, it then mixed with the concoction of chillies, salt, and terasi (belacan - fermented fish paste) to create Rujak Jeruk Bali which is both spicy and refreshing.

Both Balinese Pomelo and Madiun Pomelo are also fits well served in the form of generic Indonesian rujak: dressed in bumbu rujak which made from palm sugar, tamarind, star anise, among other spices.

Unlike in Vietnam where pomelo are matched with shrimps to create a beautifully delicious salad, mixing pomelo with seafood is something unheard of in Indonesia. Except surely in modern Indonesian kitchens where its cook, even amateur ones are better exposed to the international influence, both from dining out, traveling, or simply read it on internet; and willing to recreate the experience in their own kitchens.

The not so Balinese Jeruk Bali

The name Jeruk Bali however, resembles very little connection to Bali. In its recent advisory The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture suggest a more generic name: Pomelo, and it's not so wrong either since the most of Jeruk Bali sold in Indonesia, actually are coming from Madiun district in Jawa Timur, instead of from Bali.

Balinese Pomelo fruitThe real Jeruk Bali, also differs quite much from the Madiun variant: while the Madiun Pomelo has yellowish skin color with firm and quite smooth skin surface, Balinese Pomelo almost always has greenish skin color, softer and wrinkling skin. Madiun Pomelo also has reddish fruit meat, while Balinese Pomelo has white yellowish fruit meat. It is also more sour, but having less bitterness compared to Madiun Pomelo when both are slightly less than ripe.

Ciwidey Pomelo, while having similarity with Madiun Pomelo and Balinese Pomelo, has considerably thicker skin, and it's fruit itself are not consumed only its skin are made into Pomelo Kalua.

During its high season, Pomelo sellers are easy to find, as they are usually setting up their carts on road sides in cities. It is usually also sold from the back of a pickup car. Pomelo are sold by pieces instead of being weighed; one moderately sized Pomelo usually are sold at 10,000 - 15,000 rupiah ($1 - $1.5) but prices could hike up into 30,000 rupiah or even more in established markets and supermarkets. (byms)

Image of Kalua Jeruk Ciwidey is from website, image of Rujak Jeruk Bali is from website.

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