Now that the seasons of the " Cempedak" fruit is nearing its end, I'm thinking of how I can continue to enjoy its flavour come next year. The "Cempedak" is a close relative of the jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus). While the jackfruit is native to India, the cempedak is native to Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and the Sulawesi Islands. Being cauliflorous, the cempedak ( Artocarpus integer) bears its flowers and fruits on the trunks. The above picture is taken from my eco-farm in Bintulu. I have a dozen of these 50-plus years old trees which never fail to produce fruits on yearly basis. This year the fruiting has been heavy and started sometime in September. The cempedak has a pliable, soft and supple outer skin. The fruit flesh or aril is yellow to golden in colour (see inset). Its aril is soft, tender, succulent and slippery. If you have the chance to eat the aril, remember not to swallow the seed. Just consume the flesh. The seed which is large brown has a papery covering. When boiled the seeds are eaten with honey or sugar. Others prefer to deep fry the aril with flour and taken with tea or coffee just like one enjoy the banana fritters.
Today, I'll just try to smoke the flesh so that I can store it for a few months past February or March next year. Below is how to do it.
After separating the seed, the aril is left to dry in open sun which may take half a day or a full day, depending on the intensity of the sunlight. Arrange them on a mesh for faster drying.
After drying, the aril is smoked and this may take about 4 hours to produce the best result.
In Bintulu we call smoked cempedak as " Likeng". Slice the likeng into small pieces and store them in containers. They can last for months, say about 4-6 months and still retain the strong fermented flavour of the cempedak. In Bintulu, the Melanaus eat them with "sagu" or sago pellets for afternoon tea or any other occasion. And I love them sugary and honey taste.