Indian Almond

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Indian almond (or tropical almond) the kernel of the fruit of Terminalia catappa, a tree which occurs in both wild and cultivated forms in S. and SE Asia, and has been widely planted in other tropical regions, mainly for ornament and shade. It is tall and handsome and has leaves which turn red in the autumn—unusual for a tropical tree. It is not related to the true almond.

The fruits have a tender skin, beneath which is a thin layer of edible, subacid flesh. The nuts enclosed in this have thick, corky shells, which are difficult to crack; but the slim kernels, white inside a pale brown skin, have a good, delicate flavour and repay the effort of extraction. They are eaten raw or roasted. About half the kernel, by weight, consists of a pale oil similar to true almond oil; and this also has a pleasing flavour.