Rambutans are grown in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia, and can be found usually in Asian markets.
The “shell” of a rambutan looks like a sea urchin, with spindly “tentacles,” and
it’s usually reddish or yellowish. The inside is very much like a lychee, except that it is firmer. The texture of a rambutan is also like a lychee, but its flavor, although also similar, is milder and less perfumed. And, also like a lychee, the flesh surrounds an almond-like pit.
Rambutans are high in vitamin C, and have some copper, manganese, and trace elements of potassium, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients.
If you have a hard time finding rambutans locally, Melissa’s produce will ship them overnight to you.
Here are a couple of recipes that Melissa’s offers for rambutan. Have fun and let me know what you think of them.
By Ida Rodriguez
8 ounces Rambutan peeled halved and seeded
8 ounces Longans peeled halved seeded
1/2 each Organic Bell Pepper (use Red and Yellow Bell Peppers) diced
1 Jalapeno Chile minced
3 Organic Green Onions chopped
3 tablespoons Lime Juice
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, gently toss to mix. Season with salt.
By Andrew Faulkner
18 ounce Organic Tofu, cubed
5 tablespoons Peanut (Groundnut) Oil
12 pieces Organic Ginger
2 Red Fresno Chiles
2 Cardamom Seed Pods
3 cloves Organic Garlic
2 tablespoons Garam Masala
2 teaspoons Coriander ground
2 tablespoons cumin – ground
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Salt
1 small South African Baby Pineapples
5 Rambutan (or Lychees)
1 Pineapple Juice
7 ounces Coconut Milk
Fry the tofu and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the ginger, chiles, cardamom pods and garlic and sauté. Add the garam masala, coriander, cumin and turmeric and lightly fry. Add the salt, tofu, pineapple, rambutan and pineapple juice and simmer. Add the coconut milk. Serve with rice when cooked.