While you might be familiar with mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and bananas, there are still a slew of interesting Asian fruits to taste. Check out this short list of how to eat and cook with these tasty Asian fruits that you need to try. Make sure to use a pineapple corer on your pineapple.
Lychees are white, small, and juicy round stone fruits enveloped in a rough pinkish-red peel. Lychees are refreshingly sweet with a pleasing light berry-like aroma. Lychees can be peeled, pitted, and boiled in a simple syrup to add to yogurts, tea, or eaten raw. Put some pizzazz in your gelatin by adding some lychees!
Yogurt topped with Lychee Gelatin
- Lychee gelatin
- 1 20-oz can lychees in syrup
- 2 pouches Knox Unflavored Gelatin
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 4 cups sweetened yogurt
- Distribute 4 cups of sweetened yogurt among dessert cups. Chill. (make your own yogurt at home in a yogurt maker)
- Drain lychees. Dice lychees. Set the Asian fruit aside.
- Sprinkle gelatin over reserved syrup to soften. Bring syrup to a gentle boil and stir to dissolve gelatin. Add in diced lychees and carefully spoon over fruity gelatin mixture over chilled yogurt cups.
Pitaya aka Dragon Fruit
The Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus plant. Dragon Fruit, as the pitaya is also called, is commercially raised and exported in Vietnam. It is a spiky Asian fruit with a bright red thorny peel that is soft when ripe. Slicing open a ripe dragon fruit reveals a white fleshy solid pulp peppered with numerous small black crunchy seeds that you can eat. It has a very mild sweet taste that imparts a cool feeling in your mouth. Chefs now serve fresh dragon fruit in between meals to cleanse palates for the next course. Enjoy this versatile Asian fruit in a refreshing daiquiri.
Fiery Dragon Fruit Frozen Daiquiri
- ½ cup dragon fruit pulp
- 4 tablespoons simple syrup
- 3 tablespoons white rum
- 1 tablespoon pepper vodka
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 cup ice
- Dragon Fruit rounds or wedges for garnish
- Mix all ingredients together in a blender or bowl with a hand mixer to make a slushy.
- Pour into a chilled margarita glass.
The jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is also hailed as the largest fruit in the world. Ripening to about 80 lbs. attached to its Asian fruit tree, the jackfruit’s yellow-orange ripe flesh can be eaten raw or cooked. Dehydrating the jackfruit is done to preserve the fruit and intensify its sweetness. This Asian fruit can be used as an ingredient in cakes and sweet desserts like this upside down cake.
Jackfruit Upside Down Cake
- 1 cup ripe jackfruit flesh, seeded and cut into strips
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 cup margarine
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Spread the jackfruit in the bottom of a cake pan. Sprinkle sugar over the fruit. Heat over medium heat to caramelize sugar. Set aside.
- Cream margarine and sugar till light and creamy.
- Add the eggs.
- Add your dry ingredients alternately with the milk.
- Pour batter over prepared cake pan with jackfruit.
- Bake in 350°F for 30-45 minutes.
- Cool slightly then turn over to a serving plate while warm.
Star Fruit or Carambola
The carambola is a small unique and yellow Southeast Asian fruit that is also called the star fruit because of its unique shape. Tart and juicy, the star fruit it is often blended as a refreshing slushy. Try making some star fruit jam to complement your favorite homemade breads or waffles.
Quick and Easy Star Fruit Jam
- 2 cups star fruit, sliced with seeds removed (Here’s some awesome spiralizers to use!)
- 1 cup white sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon (Note: This jam tastes even better if you juice your own lemons with the best juicer)
- Lemon rind
- Assemble all ingredients in a medium sized pan.
- Boil over medium heat and stir occasionally to prevent browning and sticking.
- Jam is cooked when all ingredients come together to a spreading consistency.
Calamondin or Kalamansi
The calamondin is a citrus hybrid that is widely cultivated in the Philippines. The calamondin or kalamansi is a ubiquitous fruit used by Filipinos for everyday cooking. Its tart and sour flavor is used for marinades, salad dressing, sauces, and juices.
Vinaigrette with Salted Fish and Kalamansi
- ½ cup olive oil (Here’s some olive oil dispensers you may like)
- 2 tablespoons kalamansi juice, adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon salted fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (Here are some great garlic presses for you!)
- drops of sesame oil, optional
- Shake all the ingredients together.
- Drizzle over salad or use as a side dip for grilled meats and fish – have your meat injector and indoor grill handy!
Open yourself to new tastes and flavors by trying out some new fruits from different parts of the world. These Asian fruits can easily spruce up your own recipes as well!
Recommended reading: Best Filipino Cookbooks for your Kitchen
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