Pomelo is an exotic fruit that you have a fighting chance of seeing in the Western hemisphere, particularly if you go to an Asian supermarket. It looks like a grapefruit on steroids: a good pomelo is about the size of a soccer ball.
The comparison continues on the inside: the rind is about an inch (or more) thick, and the segments are in skin so tough that you need a knife to pierce the membrane. It tastes a lot like grapefruit, too, but oddly less intense, as if the bitterness and tartness were diluted with size.
Pomelo is delicious eaten by itself, of course, and often is, but it’s also frequently used in salads, like the one I made for dinner on Tuesday night. It’s loosely based on a recipe on the Rasa Malaysia blog; by loosely, I mean that I had about five minutes to throw it together, and only about half of the ingredients. It was still pretty tasty. Click on the link for the full version (which requires a bit of planning) or see below for my shortcut version (which can be made with things that are probably already in your kitchen, if you have a pomelo).
Thai-style Pomelo Salad
(serves two as part of a meal)
1/2 a pomelo
1 to 2 shallots
1 bird’s-eye chili, or any small hot chili
Juice of one lime, or 3 calamansi limes if you have them
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (substitute with salt, to taste, or vegetarian fish sauce)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Cilantro for garnishing
- Peel and segment the pomelo, removing all the membrane.
- Thinly slice the shallot(s).
- Chop the chili (and wash your hands very, very well before touching your eyes).
- Combine all ingredients immediately before serving, and adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.
And here’s what to do with the rind: