blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Soursop, Pomelo, Star Apple, Oh My!

Yes I’m back on the mainland but the tropical mystique of Kauai is still in my heart. I sat in on a few minutes of Soul Surfer just to rekindle the spirit of the island. So I figure I’d share in greater detail some of the specs on my favorite island fruits. If you read my last post about the chico sapodilla you received a small taste of what is yet to come. I have to say I have quite a fascination with exotic fruit. Veggies are cool and all but there’s nothing better than seeing a tropical oddity hanging from a tree or on display at the farmer’s market and inquiring, “what the *@$!% is that?”

Black Sapote

For example the black sapote. On the outside it looks innocent enough but once you split it in half it looks like poop. Fortunately the smell and taste do not follow suit. The black sapote isn’t actually in the sapote family, it’s related to persimmons, another favorite fruit of mine. The inedible exterior of the black sapote/chocolate pudding fruit turns dark green when ripe and the inside turns dark brown and soft resembling the taste and texture of chocolate pudding. I heard a vendor remarking that the black sapote was considered to be the highest honor when given as a gift.

Of the 3 fruits mentioned in the title I’m guessing the soursop is the hardest for people to come by on the mainland but it is well worth the effort. Soursop is an evergreen in the Annonaceae family that includes cherimoya and sugar apple. The sugar apple is also called the sweetsop. The tell tale difference in appearance between the soursop and its cousins are the harmless spikes on the outside of the fruit along with its larger and oblong size.


The trees are freeze sensitive and thrive in almost all semi-tropical and tropical climates around the world. The soursop is also known as graviola and has been the center of attention concerning cancer treatment. I had a chance to enjoy both the fruit and the leaves of the tree and would take them over chemotherapy any day of the week. Fortunately my diet and lifestyle choices will likely keep me from ever having to make that decision.

Most of the time in Hawaii I just ate soursop as is but I did work with another raw food chef and make a soursop pie. It was a very tasty treat yet it had too high a water content to be my first choice for making pies. I definitely could see soursop as a choice for making a dehydrated pie similar to an apple pie, ice cream or sorbet. More soursop experimentation is needed to formulate a solid recipe. Until then I’ll just continue eating them straight up.

If you’ve ever done a double take at the oversized grapefruits at the grocery store then you’ve probably seen a pomelo, pummelo or pommelo.

Famous Kitty

I first saw them in Taiwan where they hold a place of tradition during the autumn moon festival. Like I mentioned pomelos look like really big grapefruit. In actuality once peeled they’re usually only slightly bigger having a skin with a thick layer of pith (that white stuff that sticks to oranges and grapefruit). The pomelos I had in Taiwan had an elongated pear shape while the ones in the States are usually round. Have fun peeling them and if you get good at it you can keep the whole peel intact and make cool hat out of it. Believe it or not I met a woman in a video store in Maoli, Taiwan who claimed to be the owner of this legendary helmeted cat. She even had a variety of pictures to prove it. Not only can you make headgear for your pets with the peel, it also is used to make jams and teas.

While on Kauai I had my share of pomelos. I even took to appropriating them from a neighbors tree by using a 25 foot piece of bamboo. Talk about pinata training. In my opinion pomelos are better than grapefruit in 2 ways: first they have none of the bitter or sour flavor of grapefruit and second the way you eat them is more fun. The pulp of the pomelo is firmer than other citrus fruits allowing you to remove the outer skin from each wedge of the fruit and just eat the pulp. This can be quite an enjoyable tactile experience. Pomelos are a favorite food of mine for air travel (pomelo on a plane video) and going to the movies. They’re easier to get on a plane than into a movie theater though.

3 lb. Pomelo
Star Apples

The star apple or caimito is another fun tropical fruit in the Sapotaceae family. This is the same family that gave us the chico sapodilla. I was able to experience the star apple in 2 varieties, purple and green. The purple fruit had a white and purple interior with brown seeds surrounded in a juicy clear pulp. The green fruits were white inside with brown seeds as well. Both colors oozed a latex from the stems and had white latex concentrated near the skin especially when unripe. Personally I’m a fan of purple fruits. I feel most people don’t get enough purple in their diet and star apples are a great way to get that daily allowance of purple. It might sound silly but purple foods contain an important color pigment and antioxidant known as anthocyanin. Some other great sources for this purple pigment are purple corn, acai, black grapes, black raspberries and cherries.

It’s not often that I get to make a purple pie so I took this opportunity to create a star apple pie recipe that showcased its purple goodness. Here’s the basics for making your very own purple pie filling… if you can get your hands on some star apples.

Star Apple Pie Filling

4 star fruit – 1 1/2 Cups

1/2 C agave

1/2 C cashews

1 C coconut meat

Vanilla bean

pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients smooth.

Pour into crust and allow to set in the freezer until firm or frozen.

Purple Pie

Use your favorite pie crust recipe. I used an almond date crust for the pie that is pictured. Let me know if you make a purple pie and how it turns out. Until next time… Keep it Live! – Chia

blog, How To, Pie, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Chico Sapodilla Crumble

Feast your eyes on the fruit of the Manilkara zapota tree, commonly known as the sapodilla. I was first introduced to this variety of sapote while living in Taiwan and now I was being re-introduced to it in Kauai. It turns out that these little brown fruits have a different name in about every country that grows them. Bananas are pretty much bananas where ever you go but this sapodilla goes by the name baramasi (Bengal and Bihar, India); buah chiku (Malaya); chicle (Mexico); chico (Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico); chicozapote (Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela); chikoo (India); chiku (Malaya, India); dilly (Bahamas; British West Indies); korob (Costa Rica); mespil (Virgin Islands); mispel, mispu (Netherlands Antilles, Surinam); muy (Guatemala); muyozapot (El Salvador); naseberry (Jamaica; British West Indies); neeseberry (British West Indies; nispero (Puerto Rico, Central America, Venezuela); nispero quitense (Ecuador); sapodilla plum (India); sapota (India); sapotí (Brazil); sapotille (French West Indies); tree potato (India); Ya (Guatemala; Yucatan); zapota (Venezuela); zapote (Cuba); zapote chico (Mexico; Guatemala); zapote morado (Belize); zapotillo (Mexico). Keep in mind this list isn’t complete. I’m calling them chico sapote. You can pick your favorite name and go with it. Chicos only ripen once they’ve been pulled from the tree similar to avocados. Like many tropical fruits they have latex that oozes from the tree when picked. This latex substance is referred to as chicle which if you know Spanish then you know this word means gum. Yes, the sap from the sapodilla tree was used by natives as chewing gum. Once upon a time all chewing gum was made from this natural tree sap. Unfortunately most chewing gums made today are made from butadiene synthetic rubber. Yes, that’s a petroleum by product you are chewing.  Enough about chewing gum, what about the chico? There is also some of this latex in the unripe fruit as well as a very tannic chemical called saponin. This strongly discourages the consumption of unripe fruit because of the mouth drying effect of this chemical. Once ripe though the flesh of the fruit is soft, juicy and sweet with a malty caramel flavor and a gritty pear like texture. Inside the fruit are 1 to 3 black seeds. I ended up with a ton of these chicos so I had to get creative. Since apples are an imported novelty in the tropics I immediately felt that the sapodilla could be an acceptable substitute in my apple crumble recipe. Sure enough the chicos did the trick. All I was missing was a scoop of coconut mylk ice cream.

If you’re not living in the tropics then you can look for chicos/sapodillas at Asian markets, farmer’s markets and specialty grocery stores. The trees fruit twice a year so you can find them throughout the year. Be patient and wait until they ripen fully. They become soft and their flaky and leathery skin will wrinkle slightly when they’re full on ripe. If you have a chico surplus…. which I had after buying 20 lbs of chicos in Hawaii, you can puree the ripe flesh and pour them mixture into ice cube trays to be frozen. This makes a great exotic addition to smoothies. To eat a ripe chico cut it in half from top to bottom and scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. Look out for the seeds.

Here’s the recipe for the Chico Sapote Crumble, dehydrator required:


  • 5 C nuts, pecans are my choice
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/4 C dates – pitted
  • 2 T chia
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt


  • 3 cups chico sapote
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C mesquite, I like a lot of mesquite
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1/8 t clove
  • blend
  • fold in 1 C raisin

1.     Prepare the crust in the food processor.

2.     Split the crust mixture in half.

3.     Press half of the crust into the bottom of a casserole dish or rectangular spring form (10 by 12 inches).

4.     Pour the filling into the spring form on top of the crust.

5.     Crumble the remaining crust onto the filling evenly.

6.     Dehydrate at 115F – 120F 12 hours until crispy and dry.

7.     Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite raw vegan ice cream.

Stay tuned for the chico pie recipe… Keep it Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Hawaiian Adventure

Egg Fruit Pie

Greetings and Aloha boys and girls. It’s about time I shared a post regarding my latest adventures. Early in March I boarded a plane for Honolulu on the paradise island state of Hawaii. My friend Brian was there to greet me at the airport and so my adventure began. I was only in Honolulu for one day and then we were off to Kauai, the garden isle. They say timing is everything and once again my timing put me in the right place at an interesting time… tsunami. Yes, we were staying on the ocean front in Kappaa, Kauai at the time of the big earthquake in Japan and had to be evacuated to higher ground. It was a beautiful night and we found a scenic place to park overlooking the coast. With in minutes of arriving a number of other cars showed up and parked and eventually we had a full on frat boy acoustic serenade going on which would have been nice if it wasn’t 3am. At 6:30 am we were able to return to our hotel and get some sleep.

After our tsunami experience Brian and I took up an offer to rent a couple of rooms at the fabled Noni Land. This is not any easy invitation to get being that it’s the personal home, research center and farm of David Wolfe. Since we were visiting Kauai on a raw food mission, we got the thumbs up and were promoted from ocean front 1960’s era cheap hotel to mountain side raw food paradise. David was traveling the globe when we arrived and met the Noni Land tribe… Nick, Nathaniel, Charis, Kota, Trevor and Kelly. After 3 nights indoors I moved to outdoor sleeping quarters in a tree house. This wasn’t quite Swiss Family Robinson, more like a platform with a tent on it. Very basic with a clear rain fly and enough room for a single person; the set up was perfect for my needs. Each night was highlighted by an ever changing celestial display. At one point the moon was so bright that I had to hide under my blanket just to fall asleep. The wind whipped the trees overhead into a frenzy and almost every night and/or morning featured random downpours. It has rained every day that I have been in Kauai, typically at night. I can’t forget to mention the wild life. Bulls in the neighboring pasture come up to the fence in the night and grunt like they’re trying to cough up a cactus pad. In the mornings I am awoken to the crowing of wild roosters which are the unofficial state bird of Hawaii. Actually the roosters crow starting on one side of the island the the message is passed in a continuous and never ending circle, kinda like and audio version of the wave at a stadium football game. Chickens are everywhere on this island. They are on the road side, in parking lots, on the beach, even in trees. Some interesting things I’ve discovered about chickens and cats since visiting Kauai is that they both love eating coconut meat. The Noni Land cat, Gartina, relentlessly begs for the stuff once you start cracking coconuts. The only thing she loves more than coconuts is baby chickens. Yes, the Noni Land cat is not a vegan. She’s earning her keep by controlling the wild chicken population.


After getting settled in the tree house, it was time to get to work. The mission in Kauai was to design a raw food menu for a once thriving and now transitioning restaurant in Hanalei. The Polynesian Cafe was a popular dining hub in the center of Ching Young Village in the heart of Hanalei. Now it is a shadow of what it used to be, a literal grave yard of used restaurant equipment; walk-in fridge, freezer, ice cream cooler, sandwich stations, a bakery complete with a mixer big enough to bathe in. Unfortunately much of the equipment is non-functional and has no use in a raw food restaurant. I did whip up a super batch of macaroons in a medium sized bread mixer. The main thing I noticed upon arriving was that the restaurant was a feng shui nightmare; no flow and a gluttonous waste off space. I staked out a little corner that was formerly used for bread making. It was more than enough room for me to do my thing. I often tell people that I can prepare raw foods in a phone booth if I have to. I do my best work in tight spaces… food preparation of course. I should also mention that I didn’t have exclusive rein of the kitchen. There is still a hot line in operation that uses fish and dairy. I made sure I kept clear of possible cross contamination. I found that in this situation the best way to keep my sanity is to only introduce a few simple menu items and that’s what I did. Wraps seemed like a good place to start so I introduced the Tu-No Collard Wrap and the Buckwheat Bean Burrito. The bean burrito was also done inside a collard leaf because the absence of a dehydrator. At this point we don’t have the staff to rock out crackers, chips and wraps from the dehydrator so that will just have to wait. The perfect scenario would have us stocked with a surplus of dehydrated wraps to make burritos, until then collards and nori sheets will have to do.

For dessert items I created a pie using a local treat the egg fruit. I’ve become a bit of an egg fruit addict since arriving here. These tasty little carb bombs are known to be the most calorically dense fruits having more calories than avocado and durian. They have very little water content and when ripe they have the consistency of a fluffly cake frosting. When I feast on egg fruit it often ends up in my beard and caked on my lips. Egg fruit’s brilliant orange color and dense yumminess made them a perfect candidate for making desserts so I combined egg fruit with cacao butter to make a white chocolate egg fruit pie. The recipe is is quite simple and simply delicious. My next dessert offering was a pineapple creme pie. That was followed with macadamia maca chocolate brownies. These were a little more “maca’y” than I wanted them to be and the macadamia nuts added a tastes twist I wasn’t accustomed to. People loved them though and they flew out of the cold case. The “cold case” was another method for keeping my sanity. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with tasks that appear to be massive so confining myself to a single cold case allowed me to start small and expand from there. After 2 days in the shop the case was full… and then David Wolfe and his entourage showed up and bought everything in the case! We were all pretty stoked with this little surprise. David had just arrived in town for a brief visit before he had to fly to the West Coast to continue his touring and Longevity conference schedule. The timing worked out perfectly for me to be able to share some of my raw culinary creations with him. What was his response to what he tried? “The Best Ever!” of course.

Noni Land Crew

That pretty much sums up my adventures in Kauai so far, “the best ever and getting better”. I have to admit there have been some speed bumps and challenges but that all part of what makes it worthwhile. Challenges are opportunities for expansion and personal growth and there’s a whole lot of that going on. This island is a magical place and the interactions and synchronicity that have led me here are indescribable. I look back on the random phone call I received from my friend Phoebe telling me that she was with  someone that she felt I needed to meet, that was Brian, the crazy dude who jumped in head first into a raw food restaurant project in paradise and I went and followed him into the vortex. Tune in next time for an in depth look at some of the local fruits in Kauai and tasty culinary creations I have been making with them. Aloha and keep it live!