The first pomelo I bought this season was the size of a bowling ball. The other person in my house does not eat pomelo, and it took me 2 weeks to finish.
Winter is pomelo season, and sure enough, these big fat babies are everywhere. It’s the grapefruit for people who don’t like grapefruit. The taste is less tart, and the big meaty segments make it healthy for day-long snackage. Pomelo is also loaded with vitamin C, making it excellent for warding off seasonal cold and flu.
This pomelo I bought yesterday was the smallest in the bin. Still, it took me about half an hour to fully dissect.
Pomelo hackage requires patience and finger muscles. But just set aside 30 to 60 minutes, crank up the música, and you’ll be in the zone in no time. With a chef’s knife, slice through the rind and go around with the knife until you can pull the two sides apart. Then just pull away the pith and white skin surrounding the flesh. In the end you’ll have a tupperware of pomelo chunks to last for weeks. Or days, if you’re lucky and have a housemate who will share in the joy.
Yesterday, instead of storing my pomelo in the fridge, I used the segmented fruit in a pomelo salad, adapted from Andrea Nguyen’s recipe on Viet World Kitchen. I adored the combination of meaty citrus, crunchy carrots, salty cucumber, and sweet caramelized shallots. The slightly wilted mint leaves (I used quite a bit) and chopped peanuts add to the textural intrigue. And finished with the aromatic sweet-sour-salty-sweet sauce, this salad is one I will crave long after it’s finished.
Other tasty Asian salads:
Vietnamese Pomelo Salad
Adapted from Viet World Kitchen
1 medium pomelo
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
With a large knife slice through the rind and go around with the knife until you can pull the two sides apart. With your fingers, peel the pith away from the white-covered flesh. Then, peel away the white skin away from the flesh (use scissors or a small knife is skin is too hard.) Separate the flesh into bite-size pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss cucumber strips with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw out excess water.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
In a wok or sauté pan, cook the shallots and garlic until shallots are caramelized, about 3 minutes. Allow the shallots and garlic to cool for a few minutes, then toss with the carrots. After the cucumber has been sitting for 20 minutes, drain away excess water and add cucumbers to carrots. Add the mint, chopped peanuts, and dressing and toss well. Transfer to a plate or large bowl and serve.
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