Native to south-east Asia this lovely fruit has almost a soft silky feel when you touch it and looks very pretty. Similar to the Lychee, Longan and mamoncillo fruits it has a sweet tasting grape-like flavour.
All the fruit stalls and the markets have lots of this pretty fruit it is being sold everywhere…Thais love their fresh fruit and this one is no exception…
It has a leathery red skin covered with soft, fleshy spires hence the name which means “hairy.”
In Vietnam, it is called Chom Chom which means messy hair.
The peeled fruits can be eaten raw or cooked and are often used in fruit salads or made into a syrup to flavour whipped cream or cocktails.
Although grown all over Southeast Asia, Thailand is the largest producer.
The rambutan is made into jams, jellies or canned in syrup.
Rambutan contains diverse nutrients in modest amounts. Vitamin C, Calcium and iron.
Like many other fruits and vegetables, the skin has been used to treat dysentery or chronic fever. The leaves are also made into a paste by mashing the leaves, adding water and squeezing out the extract then applied to the forehead this paste is also a great hair conditioner.
Boiling the tree roots to make a tea is also used to treat fevers.
How to open it?
Pot your thumbnail into the skin and squeeze and turn the fruit the fleshy fruit will just pop out.
- 3 cups of peeled and seeded Rambutan,
- Juice of a large lemon
- 2 1/2 cups of sugar.
Blitz the Rambutan in the food processor …I leave mine a little chunky then put all ingredients in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer on medium until the sugar has dissolved. Turn down and simmer 15-20 minutes until the mix has thickened. Make sure you don’t let the sugar caramelise.
Put in a sterilised bottle.
This is lovely instead of applesauce on meats.
N.B. Make sure your fruit is very fresh or the jam will have a dusty taste..not nice at all.
Thai Chicken curry with rambutan.
- 1 lb chicken breast cubed or sliced or boneless thighs
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 3 red Thai chillies cut diagonally
- 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed, outer layers removed, and inner core thinly sliced
- One 2-inch piece galangal root, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 rambutan
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1⁄2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 1⁄2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. palm sugar or light brown sugar
- Coriander leaves, to garnish
- Lime wedges, for serving
- 7 oz Rambutan about 8/9 fruits
- Half a cup of granulated sugar.
- 4 large mint leaves
- A wedge of lime and a couple of slices.
- 2 fl oz white rum
- Sparkling water
To make the syrup peel the Rambutan over a bowl to catch any juices, cut the fruit off the pits being careful not to take off the papery skin we don’t want that in our cocktail do we?
In a small pan combine the sugar with half a cup of water bring to a rolling boil stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down. When the syrup has cooled down puree with the Rambutan and any juices until it is smooth.
This puree will keep in the fridge for about 10 days…It is enough for about 8 cocktails.
To make the cocktail…combine 2 tbsp of the syrup in a glass with the mint leaves, squeeze in the lime and add the wedge then muddle gently to release the mint and lime oils. Add the rum and crushed ice and additional lime slices if req then add sparkling water to taste. Stir gently with a straw.
To make it extra special roll a peeled rambutan in sugar or a sugar and chilli mix and add to the edge of the glass.
Have you come across this pretty little fruit?? Do you have any favourite recipes using this fruit?? If so I would love to hear from you in the comments x
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