Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pomelo - In Season Now

While shopping for the elusive kaffir lime leaves (which I did find), I saw a bin of beautiful chartreuse pomelos. Pomelos were plentiful on our trip to Singapore and Thailand but expensive at $8 each. I ending up paying $4 for my small 2.5 lbs pomelo, here in Cincy. My intention was to try to recreate a pomelo salad that I had at an extravagant resort in Railay, Thailand - Krua Phranang Restaurant at Rayavadee. (Note - we did not stay at Rayavadee; it's way out of our price range, but not too bad as a splurge dinner destination. Our resort was like 1/10 the price.)

Pomelos require serious breaking down. The pith is thick, about 1/2 of an inch. And the membrane between the sections of the pulp is tough. Therefore, the only parts of the fruit that are edible is the pulp and the peel. My goal was to make the most of this delicacy and make the following shrimp salad and candy the peel. The pulp was a beautiful pink (much to my surprise) and it has a nice citrus flavor that is similar to ruby red grapefruit, but not as tart and sharp. The pulp is large and firm, making it easy to separate - perfect for a salad.

Pomelo Shrimp Salad - I wanted to capture those incredible Thai flavors, combining some fish sauce with palm sugar and lime juice. I added in some chili sauce for slight spiciness, kaffir lime leaves for that delicious clean & herbal lime flavor, and finely minced shallots for that mild and sweet pungency. Carrots were also added for texture and color contrast in addition to some sauteed shrimp. Delicious! The salad was sweet yet savory, tangy and spicy with great texture. Maybe next time, some chopped cilantro to add some green color and additional herbal flavor.

Candied Pomelo Peels - There is a lot of peel on a pomelo. Why let it go to waste? It can be preserved for a long time after preserving in a sugar syrup; and can be used creatively for garnish as needed. It took about 1 hour to cut and clean up the rind/peel. There is so much surface around, and the pith is very thick and Styrofoam-like. The trick is to remove as much as the pith as possible, the pith is very bitter. Once that is complete, the peels are blanched three times to remove bitterness from the peel. Then it is cooked in a sugar syrup until for 45-60 minutes. At this point, the peels have transformed into this beautiful chartreuse stained glass. Finally, after cooling on a rack, I tossed them in granulated sugar. Now, I can have a sliver of pomelo whenever I want, at least until they are gone.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


Michael said...

Nice post, making me hungry already. I bet the people at Tastespotting would love to read about this...

Erin Swing said...

Thanks for the tip, but to no avail. They passed on it. Why?

Justine said...

I just got a pomelo; thanks for the great ideas!


Anna said...

Hi Erin
I love pomelo. I also do pomelo salad, Hong Kong style. You may want to view my blog:

We eat pomelo peels as well. View my latest post.
Hong Kong Food Blog