Friday, July 26, 2013

Rambutan vs Lychee

It sounds like it could be a crazy monster movie, eh?

And they look a little alien, don't they? Beep, beep. Boop, boop. 

Earlier this month my friends at Frieda's Specialty Produce send me two interesting fruits - lychees and rambutans. Although they look very different from each other on the outside, they're a little more similar once you get past the ... uh ... shell.

The lychee has a bumpy, sort of hard shell.

The rambutan looks like a crazy hairy tentacled .... egg-thing.

The lychee's outer hull can be pierced with a thumbnail, and it peels easily, like you'd peel a cooperative hard-boiled egg. The fruit inside is has a texture similar to a grape. The fruit is sweet and mild-tasting. Inside, there's one dark brown seed.

The skin on the rambutan is thicker. If you've got really tough nails, you might be able to get through the skin, but I found it easier to start by cutting the skin with a knife. Once that was done, it was easy to peel.

The rambutan fruit was a little firmer than the lychee, not quite as sweet, and I thought it had a slightly melon-like flavor.The seed was much larger than the lychee seed, and it was much lighter in color. Not that it matters much.

So, which one is better? The lychee is easier to peel, but the rambutan wins for its crazy appearance. Taste-wise, I liked the rambutan slightly better, but my husband preferred the lychee.

So I guess it's a tie.

Besides simply eating the fruit, I decided I needed to use it in a recipe, but I read that cooking it wasn't recommended, since it ruined the delicate flavor. Lychee martinis are pretty popular, but plopping a lychee into a drink didn't seem like it was quite creative enough.

So, I decided to make a lychee liqueur. It's in process now, but so far it looks (and tastes) pretty darned good. I'll be posting a recipe for it when it's complete.

So, have you tried either? Both? Which do you like better?

I received these fruits from Frieda's Specialty Produce, but I was not required to write about them.