The summer weather is starting early here in Chicago! All the heat we’ve had recently has reminded me of the tropical weather of the Philippines. It’s been several years since my last visit overseas but I still think of my family and friends that are there, my parents included. In the Philippines, one of my favorite ways to keep cool is a smoothie. There are so many tropical fruits to make smoothies with there – mangoes, papayas, fresh coconut, baby bananas, jackfruit, guava, and even rambutan. Inspired by the tropical fruits of Southeast Asia, I made this Pineapple Strawberry & Rambutan Smoothie to cool down in the summer-like heat…
Rambutan. Have you heard of it? See it? Or even tried it? This is a fruit native to Southeast Asia and is one that will surely catch your eye. At first glance, you’ll notice this golf-ball sized fruit is covered with spiky long hairs. It almost looks like a red/pink tumbleweed! I was surprised that a local grocery chain, Mariano’s, carries this fruit since it’s typically difficult to get this fruit fresh. Aside from rambutan, Mariano’s carries other tropical fruits including papayas, cherimoya, passion fruit and guavas. It’s one of my favorite grocery stores for their gluten free product selection and for the various exotic fruits they carry. Now it doesn’t seem too impossible to enjoy native fruits of the Philippines or fruits I’ve enjoyed overseas! Also a special thanks to the wonderful specialty produce company, Frieda, who sent me some fresh rambutan to play with!
To open a rambutan, simply cut the outer hairy shell to reveal a pearl colored flesh. The texture is similar to a lychee or grape. The fruit has a single seed inside so the fruit needs to be eaten around it or just removed before consuming. For this smoothie, I peeled and seeded about 1/4 cup of fresh rambutan (but you can also use canned if you can’t find fresh). Combine the rambutan with pineapple, strawberries and ice in a blender and sweeten with sugar to taste.
1/4 cup fresh rambutan, peeled & seeded
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
1 cup crushed ice
sugar to taste
Place the pineapple, rambutan, strawberries and ice in a blender. Blend until processed through. Add sugar to taste and serve in a tall glass.