Chef Gary Mehigan's First Taste of Wood Apple Was Delicious

The world of food is extremely versatile and beyond anyone’s imagination. Each country presents some special delights on our plates that can make us fall in love with their cuisine. Food is also a way to bring the different cultures together. Each region has some unique fresh produce that you cannot find in other parts of the world.  

One such item is a wood apple. Also known as bael in Hindi, this fruit is mostly found in India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Recently, the renowned chef Gary Mehigan shared his experience of encountering this delight for the first time in Sri Lanka. Here is the video. Take a look: 

He took to Instagram to share his experience and wrote, “I've never seen a wood apple before. It looks like a small mould of coconut.” Chef Gary further explains the taste and texture of the fruit, saying, “Hard shell, soft brown seedy interior, a bit funky, fermented, and the smell reminds me of a dark, complex cider. Tamarind like, but not as sweet, with the same fibrous strands running through the fruit. Some might find them too pungent or funky, but I love them.”  

He further adds, “Isn't it wonderful when you discover something unexpected and delicious?” This post has more than 47k views and 8k likes and the comment section is filled with recipe suggestions such as sherbet and chutney that can be prepared with wood apples. Known for being very nutritious, this hard-shelled fruit has a soft pulp and peach-y aroma. 

According to the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, wood apple is high in many phytoconstituents like phenolics, vitamins, mucilage, fibre, and other nutrients. Its consumption can relieve digestive problems, restore energy, and provide antioxidants. Besides drinking it as juice, you can also relish wood apples in the form of chutney, ice cream, milkshake, laddoo, jam, and halwa. 

Wood Apple Chutney Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes 


  • 450 g of wood apple 
  • 450 g sugar 
  • 125 g sultanas (white grapes) 
  • 15 g red chillies 
  • 30 g garlic 
  • 20 g ginger 
  • 650 ml of vinegar 
  • Salt to taste


  • Break the shell of a wood apple and scoop out the inside with a spoon.  
  • Mix the fruit well in vinegar, using about half the vinegar, and strain it through a coarse cloth. 
  • Wash the sultanas and remove the stalks. Grind chillies, garlic, and ginger with vinegar. 
  • Make a syrup of sugar and remaining vinegar; add ground ingredients and salt; and bring to a boil. 
  • Add the wood apple and boil till it reaches a good consistency for chutney. Allow it to cool and then mix in the sultanas. Enjoy.