Despite the similarity of the scientific name of the kamias to balimbing, they are two different fruits. Balimbing is Averrhoa carambola and the popular English name is star fruit. Sliced cross-wise, the cut pieces look like five-pointed stars.
Kamias is smoother but acidic as well. In the Philippines, it is dipped in salt and eaten raw as a snack. In cooking, kamias is boiled and strained, or cut into small pieces, to flavor the classic sinigang and to cook paksiw na isda.
Averrhoa bilimbi is grown and eaten beyond Asia.
In Haiti, it is called blimblin; in Jamaica, bimbling plum; in Cuba, it is grosella china; in El Salvador and Nicaragua, mimbro; in Costa Rica, mimbro or tiriguro; in Venezuela, vinagrillo; in Surinam and Guyana, birambi; in Argentina, pepino de Indias. To the French it is carambolier bilimbi, or cornichon des Indes…
But the importance of averrhoa bilimbi goes beyond cooking. Different parts of the tree have been important ingredients in folk medicines for ages. In recent years, studies have been devoted to the fruit for its anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. Note, however, that overconsumption of averrhoa bilimbi can have adverse effects on your health.
Is averrhoa bilimbi available anywhere in the world? Averrhoa bilimbi is a tropical fruit so it won’t grow in cold climate.
Recipe using kamias: Sinigang na Tiyan ng Salmon (Salmon Belly Sour Soup)