Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Enter the Dragon Fruit

So I have a bad habit of buying weird fruit at the asian markets near my house. One week I'm enamored with the spiky rambutan bins, another it's a bag of mangosteen that end up costing me $22. This week: dragon fruit. I was obviously attracted this time because of the inherent "shiny" gene we all have as children. I wanted this fruit not because of any nutritional value or deliciousness... I bought it because it was pretty and I was mesmerized by the bright pink skin. It was the color of so many dresses and Barbie convertibles I wanted as a little girl... but in food form, and with no mom around to tell me I couldn't have it.

So I found myself walking home with a bag of these things with absolutely no clue if they had high levels of antioxidants or, say, poisonous inedible seeds or ... tasted like feet. All I knew was that I wanted to show them to everyone on the street and take pictures of them the moment I got them home. And so I did take a few pictures before deciding I needed to listen to a second urge common to kids: I had to know what was inside this thing.

I placed the first fruit on the cutting board and examined it.  I palpated the fleshy exterior and leaned in to take a sniff: there was just a vague sort of green papaya smell. Nothing at all in the aroma department to match it's gaudy skin. I positioned the blade and held my breath as I sliced thru in one clean, satisfying movement. The contents laid out before me like a strange other world. Stark white fruit with perfect black sesame-like seeds. It was perfectly smooth, like glass, orbited by a thin layer of the fuscia exterior. It was beautiful... but what in the frick was I supposed to do with it now...?

I did a quick search online and found that the only real recipes around seemed to be for sorbets. I'd been leaning in that direction anyway, so I decided to go for it, but in typical ME fashion I refused to follow the ingredient lists I found and opted for my own experiment. But what to flavor it with when I had no idea how it tasted? There was oddly no more smell to the fruit now that it was cut open than it had whole. I plunged my spoon into the perfect flesh and extracted a sliver to taste. It has the texture of a kiwi but a subtle flavor that, honestly, reminded me of Tutti Frutti gum. I decided the more rustic granita (rather than sorbet) would be best, and I would make a honey syrup with lime to compliment the subtle flavor.

You can read more about this amazing fruit, also known as the Pitaya, here . Without further ado, the recipe!

Recipe: Dragon Fruit Granita

What to get...

2 Dragon fruit
1/2 lime (juice and zest)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water

What to do with it all...

 Make a simple syrup by combining the honey and water and microwaving for minute or adding boiling water to the honey and stirring.  Scoop the pulp of the dragon fruit into a food processor or blender.  Add the syrup along with the lime juice and zest.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a shallow pan and place into freezer.  After 30 mins, scrape the mixture with a fork to break it up.  Do this every 30 mins for 3 hrs.

If you have an ice cream machine, you can instead add this mixture to it and allow to cycle to make a sorbet.

Granita on Foodista


  1. Aha! Someone else who buys fruit and vegetables first and asks questions later. I would have done the same thing. This looks great, wonder where I can find some.

  2. mmm, the granita looks so refreshing. i haven't had the pleasure of finding these yet, but i know i'm in for a treat when i do!

  3. that looks delicious! It's funny how you buy all these random fruits, my fiance does the same thing! every time we go to the asian market he enjoys picking out a fruit he's never tried before, his favorite are mangosteens but like you said they sure are expensive!! Great post :)

  4. I just recently had my first Dragon Fruit and I was mesmerised by the colours as well. Good idea on the granita, thanks.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and photos! Well done with your brave recipe.

  6. Wow! Great blog post and photos. I don't think I've ever seen the fruit locally in Seattle, but I'm sure Central Market probably has it.

  7. I <3 rambutan! Great photos, too!

  8. Yep, love dragon fruit's colour, but have never had a really amazing tasting one. Think if I lived in Thailand it would be different, mind.

    Cool idea though. You can tell it's a dragon fruit granita, because it's coloured like the real thing.

  9. Kathy & Brie - I have really only seen these in asian markets in my area, so if you're ever in the mood, I'd try any you might have near you in Sonoma/FL! :)

    Joy (and Kathy again) - I'm glad to see I'm not alone in my random fruit purchases! Mangosteen are awfully tasty, but I do have to limit myself! :)

    Mother Rimmy - Yes, I'd think Central Market would have them. I really envy you for living in the Pacific NW, there's such good produce available, it's paradise! :)

    Tamar1973 - Rambutan rock! Thank you!

    Mr P - Yes, I agree it's odd that there is so little flavor compared to the look of these. But I guess that means there's a good vessel for imparting your own flavors? I'm just trying to justify buying another one, probably!

    Thank you all for your comments!

  10. Great pics. They look like film stills, very dramatic!

  11. good for you for giving it a shot! in Virginia, we have a store called Grant Mart and it has TONS of fruits and veggies from around the world (but mostly the Far East). it is awesome, and we're tenatively trying new things. your courage to do it is inspiring!

  12. Thanks Vegetable Matter - I figured a starlet fruit needed a good pic to match!

    VeganGuy - that sounds like an awesome place! If you're anything like me, you must get lost wandering in it often!

  13. Ahh seeing dragon fruit brings me back to Malaysia. They sell the fruit in all the fruit stands. Like you I have never tried it before. I really like it, sweet and mild in flavor. Where did you buy this in Chicago? I would love to try out this recipe.

    Just want to say, Alice and I love your site. It is nice to find other food bloggers in Sunny Chicago.

  14. I know where you're coming from; I'm a big fan of dramatic color combos. The pink skin! The white flesh with the black seeds set against it!! So pretty!!! Love that pic of it dripping off the spoon...

  15. all around beautiful post- the story, the recipe and of course the photos! i'm thinking i need to do a gelato, hmmmmm...

    mother rimmy- in seattle you can get them easily at uwajimaya if you're so inclined.

  16. I used to love getting strange fruits at a local market in New York though can't seem to find any where I am now (probably banned by some government regulation). I love your food photography and recipe and the story. I'm adding you to my blog list!!

  17. Hey there! Like you, I also love anything bright'n'shiny so I understand why you were enchanted by the pretty dragpn fruit! Great creative recipe too! I'll have to do the freezing method because I'm a poor student and sadly don't own an ice cream machine (bad times)!
    Kay, I'll shut up now :p Loving the blog (your template is v.cute!) Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

  18. Thank you, All! Sanjana - I completely understand, as I'm a poor student myself! I technically don't own an actual blender or food processor, so I use a handmixer attachment for anything that calls for one. I'm sure I'll elaborate on that more in a later post ;)

  19. Ahh cheers for the link! Just what I needed, now I can stuff myself with proper homemade ice cream... win! Uh huh I hear ya, I bought an immersion blender last week for £5 and it was an epic fail, it didn't even blend anything, just made a mess :( Oh and omg I forgot to say before-'Enter The Dragon Fruit' ehehehe that made me giggle!

  20. Haha, oh no! I've done very similar things. This attachment I have actually has a chip in the lid from dropping recently and if I don't keep it tightly covered with a hand while it's on everything goes burbling out around the kitchen! "Epic fail". Great term, love it!

  21. That thing looks scary. I think I would take my broom to it...

  22. I love the way you write, and your pics are fab! Thanks for stopping by; it's nice to meet you :O)

  23. I have never found fruit so entertaining! Or so verbally appealing. What a unique blog you have.

  24. I love dragon fruit!! It is a veru pretty fruit!!

    I so love your granita: great idea to capture the pure flavour of the fruit!


  25. hi mathea
    I have eaten one this week and it was grreat !
    cheers pierre
    and if you like disoriented apple tart come and visit me Pierre

  26. Thanks B, Bethany, Melissa & Sophie!

    AB HOME - I wouldn't blame you for taking the broom to it... I'd imagine the rambutan would have your pulling out the vacuum! ;)

    Pierre - Thanks so much for sharing, I'm off to check out your new post on the intriguing Disoriented Tart!

  27. I love dragon fruit too. It's such a lovely fruit. I love the one with red flesh cos it tastes sweeter. It's awesome making it into a drink, jelly, cake and many other desserts. Thanks for sharing

  28. Hi Mae! How much do I love food blogs, wanting to go to culinary school for pastry myself. Thanks for coming by my blog today! Yes, non-mommies must stick together!! :)

  29. This sounds great! & your pics are awesome :D

    I gave you a blog award :D

  30. Wow, I thought I was the only one to buy these off the shelf with not a inkling of what it was, how to eat it, or what it was going to taste like. It just looked pretty! Took it home looked it up online and then dug in. LOVE IT! going for some more tomorrow!


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