Friday, 18 March 2011

Dragon Fruit on Fan-Rib Skewers

With its blazing pink skin and strange lime-green scales, a dragon fruit looks rather like a prehistoric pod, or the egg of an alien from a far-flung galaxy.  I was intrigued to find dragon fruit, which I have never seen, let alone tasted, at my local Fruit and Veg city last week, so I bought two to take home and show my family.

I've used the bamboo 'ribs' from an inexpensive Chinese fan
 as skewers for the dragon fruit triangles.

The fruit caused a minor sensation, and my kids were particularly intrigued by the cool white flesh of the fruit, which is peppered with black seeds and encircled by an inner band of glowing - almost fluorescent -  fuschia pink.

This tropical beauty, Google tells me, is the fruit of a climbing cactus native to South America (Hylocereus species), and is also known as a pitaya and a strawberry pear.  There are several varieties, including one with vivid pink flesh, and they are cultivated chiefly in Central and South America, and also in parts of Asia such as Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. It has beautiful white flowers that bloom at night and are pollinated by bats and moths.

It's just as well that this is such a flamboyant-looking fruit, because it doesn't really have a blow-your-skirt up flavour. It tastes a little like watery green melon and kiwi fruit, and to my palate has an ever-so-slightly saline aftertaste. Various dragon fruit sites on the Net tell me it's refreshing (and pretty!) in a fruit salad, or served on its own, in chunks, between courses. It's also used in smoothies and sorbets, and as a medicinal drink. It should be served very cold, and is apparently delicious eaten straight from the freezer.

I wouldn't do anything else with dragon fruit but serve it as a novelty (it's perfect for a children's party). The delicate wooden skewers in the photograph above are the ribs from a paper fan I bought at my local Chinese market. I know it may seem wasteful to tear up a fan just for its ribs, but I buy these fans by the dozen, for around R5 each.

Chill the fruit very well before you cut it up, slice it into discs about a centimetre thick, and then cut each disc into six or eight.  Push the skewers through the skin (you may need to make a little cut if the skin is tough) and serve with a spritz of lemon juice.

Please note that the skin of the dragon fruit is not normally eaten (although it's not poisonous) and that I've left it on in the photographs because it's just so pretty. Having said that, I ate the skin, and suffered no ill effects.

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Marisa said...

Have to agree, the taste is rather underwhelming, but so so pretty! I love your photos - so bright & breezy and those "skewers" are a brilliant idea that I'm going to have to steal.

Nina said...

I have tried the dragon fruit before, but the taste did not do much for me, but wow, you have certainly captured the color well!!

Ishay said...

Hi Janey
Food art- those skewers are such an inspired idea. Love it. We saw dragon fruit at the Biscuit Mill yesterday and Matt bought one.
Perhaps they are the super model of fruit- gorgeous to look at and not much going on inside... How many unfollows will I get for that one ;-)

Kitchenboy said...

Awesome photos!

I agree with you, they don't taste like much, but I find them quite refreshing in summer, here in Taiwan.

The white one is the most common one here, but the variety that is purple on the inside is quite spectacular! For me it is also as if they have just a tad more flavour than the white one...but it could be my imagination.

Koek! said...

So simple... So beautiful!

Selectfood said...

Perfect fruit, lovely pictures!;o)

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polkadotcupcake said...

ooooh I nearly bought a dragonfruit at the eat in market, and boy! but I wish i had, it looks absolutely divine! that vibrant pink colour is just wonderful!

a frog in the cottage said...


Laurel {Make and Takes} said...

This is totally cool! I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at

Anonymous said...

I love dragon fruit it's my favourite fruit in the whole world! I've haven't seen it since my exchange in Thailand though, guess I'm not looking hard enough. I've never known it to be bland though it's always been gorgeously sweet and refreshing. Especially the ones that are purple inside that you only seem able to get in Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

dragon fruit vitamin water is good :)

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