A few weeks ago, fresh rambutans were on sale for only $0.69 a pound and we bought several pounds. I figured flight tickets to Vietnam are so expensive, it wouldn't be so bad to splurge on the tropical fruits instead of a trip to Asia!They're called chôm chôm in Vietnamese. After a few bags, my family eventually got sick of them, so I ended up making fruit purée and storing it in the freezer. I already had in mind a specific drink recipe I would make. I prepared a flavorful but healthy drink with a vibrant green color. In addition to the rambutans, I used spinach, kiwis, lemon and lime juice.
The result was delicious. I loved the acidic taste of the kiwis, lime and lemon that balanced so well with the sweetness from the rambutan purée.
Servings: 4 servings
1½ pounds rambutans
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup water
juice of 1 lime, + 4 thin slices for garnish
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons green-colored decoration sugar
Prepping the rambutans:
Using a sharp hook-like paring knife, create a small cut around the fruit crosswise, being careful not to touch the flesh so the juice doesn't ooze out.
Gather the rambutan flesh in a blender. Pulse until blended. Strain the pulp through a large-mesh sieve, using a silicone spatula to press through as much as possible. Discard the fibrous solids. Place the fruit purée in half of an ice cube tray and store in the freezer for 2 hours; that way you don't need to add crushed ice in the drink.
Prepping the kiwis: Peel and coarsely chop the kiwis, reserving 4 thin slices for garnish.
Add the rambutan ice cubes, kiwis, spinach, lemon juice and lime juice to the blender. Blend for 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup water for a smoother flow. The consistency of the drink should be smooth.
Fill a shallow plate with a little water and another plate with the green sugar. Dip the rims of the glasses first in the water and then immediately dip them in the sugar.
Pour into 4 glasses.
Finish with slices of fresh kiwi and lime for decoration (place on the rim of the glass).
You could "up" the flavors by adding coconut milk, instead of water.
For an alcoholic version, you could spike the drink with Vodka.
For a healthy equivalent drink, you could add celery, cucumbers or green apples.
For extra zing, you could add 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger.
You could replace the spinach leaves with kale (stems removed), parsley or a bit of mint.
You could add additional sweeteners in addition to the natural sweetness from the rambutans and kiwis.
I buy fresh rambutans at a local Asian market (I sometimes find them at the Indian market as well). You could also use canned fruit (also available in Asian markets) or more common fruit purées from nectarines, peaches, berries, pears or figs, depending on the season.