Dine Without Whine - A Family Friendly Weekly Menu Plan

Exotic Food: Dragon Fruit

dragon fruitEver seen something in an Asian market or even the supermarket and wondered what the heck it was and how on earth you could use it? Well, no longer. In our Exotic Food posts, we`ll be showing you just how to use those weird foods that you never knew how to cook.

Dragon fruit or pitaya, is a bizarre fruit, indeed. The outside looks, well, kinda like a dragon, with thick, leathery red skin that forms large, green-tipped scales. Cut this fruit open and you`ll find either white or bright purple-red flesh, speckled with tiny black seeds.

red dragon fruit

You`re most likely to find dragon fruit in the Oriental markets, though it is actually native to Central and South America. Dragon fruit grows on cacti that thrive in the drier tropical areas, but has been cultivated with great success in Asia.

So, now that you know what this sucker is . . . what do you do with it?

The best way to eat dragon fruit is to simply peel it and eat it raw. The taste is similar to a kiwi, but less acidic and usually sweet. Since they don`t last long, you`ll want to eat it the day you bring it home from the market. The flesh should be fairly firm, but give with a squeeze of the fruit.

white dragon fruit

For something a little more exotic, try one of the following recipes:

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

1 dragon fruit, peeled and diced

1 banana

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup orange juice

Blend all together in a blender and serve. This is infinitely more colorful if you use the red variety.

Fruit Salad in Dragon Boats

2 dragon fruit

2 kiwis, peeled and cubed

1 cup sliced strawberries

Sugar to taste

Vanilla ice cream

Cut the dragon fruit in half, lengthwise and carefully remove the fruit without damaging the skins. Cube the flesh and toss with remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place a small scoop of ice cream in the center of each dragon fruit skin half and heap the fruit salad on top. serve immediately.

Want more? Make a dragon fruit pizza, jelly mooncake, or a simple salad.

Photos in order are by: J. Fisher, Denise Soong, Jerry Daykin
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