Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pomelo salad

Pomelo is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia, much like a grapefruit but milder and sweeter. It is much larger than a grapefruit and can grow to be as large as a basketball. It has a pale green very thick skin and the flesh when ripe is white or pink. I find the fruit with the pink flesh much sweeter than its white cousin. The pomelo is richer and a lot less tart than a grapefruit. Also, it is fleshy without being juicy.

Pomelo salad is very authentic to Thailand where this fruit grows in abundance. The thai’s make it with dried shrimps, lime juice, palm sugar and coconut milk – all tossed together. Sometimes chicken and prawns are added along with ground peanuts.

This is a vegetarian version of the same and my take on what I remember from eating it at Thanying restaurant in Singapore. Six years ago it used to be the best thai restaurant in Singapore – not sure if it still remains number 1, but definitely worth a try if you are visiting Singapore.

Pomelo salad
1 large pomelo
1 ½ shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
3 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons roasted skinned peanuts
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
A few slices of mild red chili pepper

1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon palm sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Prepare the pomelo much like you would a grapefruit. About.com has a wonderful step by step guide on how to cut open a pomelo. Please click here for instructions on the same. Once the pomelo is cleaned, separate them by hand into bite sized pieces and set aside in a serving bowl.
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the coconut for about 3 minutes till golden brown.
  3. In the same skillet, heat one tablespoon grape seed oil. Add the garlic slices, and sauté till light brown. Remove the garlic slices from the oil and set aside to cool. Add the shallot slices to the same oil and sauté for 5 minutes till light brown at the edges. Remove from the pan and add to the garlic. Once cool, add the shallot and garlic mixture to the pomelo.
  4. Make a dressing with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt and palm sugar. Whisk till the sugar has melted and creates an emulsified mixture. Add the dressing to the pomelo mixture and toss well.
  5. Lightly mix in the cilantro leaves and the sliced red chili. Top with the toasted coconut and the roasted peanuts.
Serves 3 to 4

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