Santol (or kraton in Thailand) season has arrived!! Santol are a fruit similar in size to grapefruit, with soft velvety skin. Inside the fruit there are generally 5 large seeds surrounded by a fragrant sweet 'aril' and a tart, slightly tannic flesh. The season lasts from early May until around the end of July.
Santol is native to South East Asia and was originally only found in the South of Thailand. Nowadays it can be found from North to South and is used in a range of dishes; from stir frying it with shrimp paste and river prawns, to mild but aromatic red curries of grilled pork. In the North you can find a fiery version of a pounded salad made with santol and seasoned with black crab paste. The easiest way to track down santol though, is on the streets of Bangkok where you'll find it lathered in sweet fish sauce and crispy dried shrimp, sold by the bag to be eaten as a snack.
In the restaurant, we are currently showcasing santol in a relish called nahm phrik kraton - an old style relish of grilled aromatics like galangal and lemongrass mixed with shrimp paste, peanuts and lightly blanched santol. The relish is finished with high quality palm sugar we source from Bangkok, tamarind, and finally some som saa juice and zest. The end result is a hot, tart and fragrant relish to be eaten along side herbs, vegetables and maybe even some sweet pork.