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FWNAB: Custard Apples

Opening a custard apple: not what I expected!

After a quick search on Wikipedia, I realised that the term “custard apple” can apply to at least six different fruits. So, what exactly did we buy?

Well, I hope not to be mistaken, as I could not find any photos looking quite like the specimen I have, but I think this otherworldly-looking fruit is known as Annona Squamosa, a name that does not do much to dispel its aura of alien predator spawn, just landed on the planet to enslave us all with its deliciousness.

Despite being called custard apples, or sugar apples, these fruits are not really related to apples. Yes, they grow on trees and have seeds, but the similarities pretty much end there.
First of all, unlike apples, they are very soft and almost gooey: you can open them with ease, no need for knifes or anything else.
Second, they taste definitely very tropical, similar to guava, very sweet and sugary.

Custard apples in their container.

This fruit is widely cultivated all over the world, especially in hot and dry climates, and the ones we bought were from India.
As many tropical fruits, custard apples are high in calories and excellent sources of many vitamins (especially vitamin C), potassium, fibers and manganese.

This Australian website has plenty of serving suggestions and information about it, and I also found recipes to make tons of different desserts, such as spiced teacakes, tropical trifle, ice cream, milkshakes and cream.


Yummy Take Away: Zaika

  • What did we order?

– Paneer Tikka (Indian cottage cheese slices marinated in a red masala sauce)
– Paneer Paratha (Cheesy flatbread)
– Tandoori Chicken (Chicken marinated in Tandoori spices and chargrilled in a clay oven)
– Zaika Paneer Makhani (Pieces of Paneer in tomato gravy)
– Pav Bhaji (Potato-based curry with spices)
– Masala Dosa (A sort of Indian pancake stuffed with vegetables)
– Butter Naan (Traditional Indian bread)
– Strawberry Milkshake

  • How much did it cost?  146 AED

  • Where did we order from?

Zaika Restaurant – inside Khalidiya Mall – Tel: 050 3181515
(Orders also available from website FoodOnClick)

  • What did it look like? (click on images to enlarge)

Paneer TikkaPaneer ParathaTandoori ChickenZaika Paneer MakhaniPav Bhaji

Masala DosaButter NaanStrawberry Milkshake

  • Why did we like it?

– Well, the food was absolutely delicious!! Apart from the gorgeous Indian dishes, also the milkshake tasted lovely, with real pieces of fresh strawberry in it.
– We liked the fact that they added a lot of free dips and sauces to our order, and also some extra bread.
– Everything arrived quickly and staff were very friendly.


Arya Bhavan – South Indian Restaurant (Vegetarian)

Hidden amongst residential buildings and shops, this is a real foodie gem. A vegetarian restaurant serving delicious South Indian food at incredibly cheap prices, Arya Bhavan was definitely worth a visit. There are two of them in Abu Dhabi:

arya bhavan 1

The menu.

Main Branch:
ME: 10 – Shabiya Mussafah
Behind Millennium Supermarket
Abudhabi – U.A.E
Phone : 971 2 5599755
Branch 1 :
Al Falah Street – Abudhabi
Next to Fahtima Supermarket
Abudhabi – U.A.E
Phone : 971 2 445 09 09

The place is very simple and the atmosphere is really casual. The place is not big but there are separate zones for couples and families, and for men on their own.
The menu is massive but there are things that can be ordered only after 7pm. We went with a party of friends and everyone was very happy with their food.

As a starter we ordered paneer fritters and gobi fritters, which basically are battered and fried paneer (a type of Indian cheese) and cauliflower. Delicious.
As a main, everyone ordered Vegetable Masala Dosai (a sort of crepe filled with potatoes and other veggies) whilst I had fried rice with paneer – which was really tasty. The portions were huge and no one managed to finish all their plate!
This restaurant might have proved tricky to find if we did not have a friend bringing us there, but we are definitely going to be back many times in the future. Now, where was it again?!

arya bhavan 2

Gobi and Paneer fritters.

arya bhavan 3

Masala Dosai.

arya bhavan 4

Fried rice with paneer.


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