Peruvian chef Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura said that, just as happened a decade ago with quinoa, the next endemic product of Peru that Europeans will “discover” will be Macambo, a relative of cacao which seeds resemble walnuts.
“There are many products that we do not know, every day we discover new products in the Amazon, such as roots, flowers, leaves, etc. The Macambo is an example of a product that is gaining value, as with quinoa, which was worth nothing a decade ago and now it is all over the world and very expensive”, he said.
The Macambo is a tree that gives a large fruit from half a pound to three kilos, and just like the quinoa, it was also worthless: “It was garbage, the local inhabitants of the Amazon used to eat it secretly, because if you ate macambo it was because you did not have enough money to buy a better fruit.” Now the Peruvian chef has introduced Macambo to some dishes in his restaurant.
“Everything can be used from the Macambo, even the skin which is dried and then used to smoke on the grill to give flavor, as if it were firewood. The seeds are roasted and look like nuts. There’s an industry that sells them packed and toasted, ready to eat as if they were almonds or chestnuts”, says the Chef.
Macambo seeds can be eaten in soups, and even to make a type of hummus. In addition, the pulp is very aromatic, just like mango, with a lot of pectin and little sweetness, with which jams, ice creams and sorbets can be made.