Do you remember the blog about the flowers of the Thai sindora (Sindora siamensis, Fabaceae)?
This is the time to harvest and cook their one-seeded pods. The pods resemble flattened horse chestnuts, but their spines exudate a sticky liquid which smells like Christmas tree due to terpenoid compounds.
Collect the fruits while still green. Put them straight on glowing sticks or charcoal….
…and open when they turn black.
Dokmai Garden’s Seehamongkol family traditionally eat the green seed while they discard the yellow arillus which indeed is rubbery and sticky. This was surprising to me, because the purpose of this arillus or elaiosome is to attract animals by its nutrient rich oil, and make the animal throw away the poisonous seed, thereby contributing to the dispersal of the species.
The flavour of the cooked seed or bean is faint and so I have never seen this forest treat in the markets. However, in a community with little cash anything edible is valuable. One day sindora seeds, next day tadpoles, then crickets and so on. Beans are usually rich in protein, but one must not eat raw sindora seeds. Nived Seehamongkol said she did when she was a child, and got sick and dizzy. Spines and chemicals protect the embryo from vegetarians, but cooking allows humans to use many otherwise toxic plants.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell