A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year, the fifteen-day celebration of the start of the Chinese lunar calendar, may be one of the world’s most celebrated festivals. Enduring thousands of years of history, it may even be one of the world’s most traditional parties.(The Star 1/14/12)

In honor of Year of the Water Dragon, I'd like to introduce you to one of my very favorite fruits - the pomelo. This fruit is a favorite during the holiday season because they are considered a lucky fruit. Chef Ming Tsai writes, "When you say tangerine in Chinese, it sounds like the word for luck. Oranges sound like the word for wealth. And pomelos? They sound like the Chinese word for to have."
The pomelo is the giant sized ancestor of the grapefruit and is a lot bigger and much sweeter than the tart fruit we all know and love. Because they are also much more expensive (about $2.00-$3.00 each) they are a special treat that I look forward to all year. If you love grapefruit, you MUST try one of these! If you always wanted to like grapefruit but found them too tart, the pomelo may just be the fruit for you.

I honestly never thought to actually do anything other than eat them fresh because I love them so much and only eat a few per year. Their fragrance is an intoxicating floral aroma and the tangy and sweet segments are bright and refreshing. The skin is very thick and the membranes are very tough. But the extra work and expense are definitely worth it!

But when trying to find out more about this jumbo sized citrus, I found a recipe that might actually entice me to make my next pomelo into a meal. I found it at The Lemurs are Hungry. It's a great blog for adventurous eaters. 

Yam som-o, or pomelo and coconut spicy salad with chicken
  • 1 pomelo
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 a small cucumber
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 4 big or 8 small shallots
  • 5-6 fresh red chilies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 2 handfuls fresh grated coconut
  • a handful cilantro
First, roast the chicken pieces. Once cooked and cooled, tear them apart into strips. Cut the carrot and cucumber into matchsticks. Cut the pomelo into segments. Chop the chilies into very small pieces. Put all of these in a large bowl. Slice the garlic and shallots thinly. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan and sauté each in turn until turning yellow. Add to the bowl. Grind the dried shrimp in a mini-prep until fluffy. Mix this, the coconut and the cilantro into the other ingredients.
To make the dressing, pound the sugar in a mortar and pestle until melted. Add fish sauce and about 1/4 cup warm water. Mix well and add lime juice. Taste for balance and add more of anything required.
To finish the dish, put the watercress into a large serving bowl and add the chicken and pomelo mixture. Pour over the dressing and mix well.
Serves 4
Doesn't that sound delicious? I've never seen this dish on any of our local restaurant menus so I need to hit the Asian market and pick up a few things (for some reason I don't have palm sugar and dried shrimp in my cupboards...) and get cooking. 

And if you are looking for a pomelo cocktail, look not further! This one from Serious Eats rocks! Click here for the recipe.

“Xin Nian Kuai Le”  (sin-nien-kway-leh)
Happy New Year!