Rambutan, related to the lychee, can be found in most areas in a Chinese produce store. They look rather odd, like little hairy animals, but the fruit inside is truly heavenly. North America is one of the few areas of the world that doesn`t produce this delightful fruit, though it is usually grown within 15º of the equator for the best results.
The outer, “hairy” skin can be peeled off and is rather stiff. Underneath, you`ll find a jelly-like, white fruit with a thick brown pit in the middle. It`s sweet and delicate tasting and the rambutan can be used for many types of cooking.
Rambutan is a fragile fruit that doesn`t last long in the market, since it must be tree-ripened. You will want firm fruit with good color, avoid any with spots or browning.
This fruit can be eaten as is, simply peeled and the meat sucked off the pit. It`s even better chilled! But that`s not the end of it. Rambutan can be used in jellies and desserts, too.
Savory Rambutan with Garlic
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons crushed coriander roots (or use powdered)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 pound minced pork
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped peanuts
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
1 chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
2 cans rambutans, drained or about 3 cups fresh
In a frying pan, saute garlic and coriander with the oil until the garlic is lightly browned. Add all remaining ingredients except rambutans. Cook until everything is browned and the liquid is all but gone. Add in the rambutans and cook for 2 min. This goes well with rice.
Baked Ham with Rambutan
1 ham, cook according to directions
about 3 dozen rambutans, peeled, pitted and sliced in half
When the ham is nearly done baking, use toothpicks to pin the rambutan halves to it, covering the meat completely. Roasted rambutans are tasty and the juice seeps into the meat, adding a tropical flavor that is far more subtle than pineapple.
1 package ladyfingers
2 cups rambutans, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
3 cups whipped cream
Lay the ladyfingers in a pie dish, covering the bottom completely and sticking up the sides. Fold rambutan chunks into the whipped cream and fill the pie dish. Refridgerate until ready.
Hint: For extra flavor, soak the rambutan in brandy or white wine overnight before adding to the whipped cream.Print or share this recipe using the icons above!