Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hairy Asian Fruit: Rambutan

Rambutan Fruit

Why is it that Asian fruit is just so strange looking? This is called Rambutan from Southeast Asia. The outer skin is almost leathery and the spines are piable, plasticy. Maybe whoever inveted velcro stumbled upon a basket of Rambutan.

Rambutan Fruit

The texture of the fruit is firm, slightly crisp/crunchy, juicy with hints of melon, honey and very similar to Lychee. But don’t just throw away the pretty shell – it has many uses including:

A mini-bowl for my homemade Matcha White Chocolate Ice Cream

A very trendy hat for teddy….

forget Sanjaya’s faux-hawk…this is just so much more stylin’! What shall we call this hairstyle?

p.s. I really didn’t mean to hit “PUBLISH” on this post…in fact, this was an old post from months and months ago that I never published.  (yeah…Sanjaya WHO???) I was cleaning up old posts and meant to “DELETE” this one…and hit the wrong button. That’s what happens when your Pandora decides to mess with you and plays Barry Manilow in your music mix at 2:30 a.m.    Spontaneous brain farts.

p.p.s Don’t forget to enter the free Saffron drawing! Only a few days left!

p.p.p.s. Congrats to Rasa Malaysia! I’ll be cooking her Malaysian Coconut Butter Prawns live on television on Tuesday morning!!! We had 746 votes – and her dish won 282 votes. Actually, it was a really close race between her prawns and The Delicious Life’s Bulgogi Burger – in fact, the score was tied up to the very last day. Ok…it’s 4:00 a.m. and I’m still blogging. Damn. I better go to sleep before my eyeballs fall out and roll in the couch crack. I’d never be able to find them!

p.p.p.p.s. I know, I know…”OH JUST SHUDDUP ALREADY!”   I’m comin’ to So.Cal second week of December and will teach a hands-on Dim Sum class! Date and location has been finalized – will tell you in next post.


51 Responses to “Hairy Asian Fruit: Rambutan”

  1. eliza — 10/7/07 @ 1:09 am

    aww..aww…Jade, you’re so cruel! I miss rambutans so much I could cry and fly back to Indonesia today! nothing here is like that fruit, nothing could erase my memory of eating juicy rambutans, especially rambutan rapiahs…

  2. KJ — 10/7/07 @ 2:04 am

    How funny! This is soooo unusual. I haven’t even seen these at the Asian markets near me. It almost looks like it should be alive!

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. savory fan — 10/7/07 @ 2:40 am

    Cool! You made impressive photos! I have never eat Asian food but heard that the food is very tasty and colorful. And your pictures are demonstrate it.

  4. Suganya — 10/7/07 @ 2:42 am

    I saw this fruit for the first time y’day in the market. Had no idea what this scary creature was…

  5. Chris — 10/7/07 @ 2:48 am


    Where do you get a whole banana leaf so fresh and newly cut? Do you have a banana plant in your garden? I noticed you have used banana leaf as an added decor in the presentation of some of your dishes. They look really nice and very appealing to the eyes.

    The color contrast of the hairy rambutans against the fresh green banana leaf is amazing!

    Chris in SF

  6. Kat — 10/7/07 @ 3:00 am

    loved all the uses for the shell!

  7. daphne — 10/7/07 @ 3:35 am

    wahahaha.. I like the hat on top of teddy! :p

    Love a good rambutan-especially on a hot summer day.

  8. SteamyKitchen — 10/7/07 @ 3:42 am

    Chris- I have a ginormous banana plant growing outside my yard. Since I live in Florida, it grows like crazy.

    I know, you’re going to ask me if it produces good tasting bananas.

    When I bought the plant, I had envisioned bushels of home-grown bananas. Well, after planting and waiting 5 years for stupid bananas….I find out its a “non-fruit bearing” varietal.


    Why would someone sell such a stupid, useless varietal?? I WANT BANANAS.

  9. Lucy Vanel — 10/7/07 @ 3:52 am

    Jaden dear, banana leaves are a traditional wrapping for a certain kind of tamale, or at least that’s what I’m told. Nice looking rambutan!

  10. Indra — 10/7/07 @ 7:28 am

    great! you’ve found rambutan. now try durian, and dragon fruit. :)

  11. Erin — 10/7/07 @ 7:44 am

    Here in Costa Rica, we call these mamones chinos (“Chinese suckers”), and they’re definitely a favorite snack here. First time I saw them, though, I was appalled by their appearance and it took quite a bit of talking into to get me to crack one open! :)

  12. Nags — 10/7/07 @ 8:45 am

    haha.. teddy doesn’t look too happy with his trendy hat though.. The pics are lovely.. this fruit is called ‘mullan pazham’ in Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala, S. India). Oh yeah, don’t even try pronouncing that :D

  13. Veron — 10/7/07 @ 9:19 am

    Now where can I get rambutan here? I miss it. Can’t wait to see you post your video of your cooking show. Yehey!

  14. Cynthia — 10/7/07 @ 9:52 am

    Darn! I wish I could be there for that class!

    Congrats to RM!

  15. Lydia — 10/7/07 @ 10:15 am

    Got to admit, I’ve never found a good use for rambutans — until now! The hairy hat is my favorite, but okay, the bowl for ice cream is a nice idea, too. Thanks for sharing your middle-of-the-night ramblings!

  16. LunaPierCook — 10/7/07 @ 10:44 am

    I’m glad Rasa’s dish won! It’s a beautiful dish, and will show up great on decent broadcast cameras and studio lighting. Hey, can you ask them if they can flip the mirror camera image L=>R so it’s not bass-ackward? ;-) Let’s see … that hairstyle … the orange suit … we’ll call it The Flaming Head. :-D … and just when are you coming north to teach??

  17. Katie — 10/7/07 @ 11:06 am

    My b-i-l from Hawaii in introduded me to these – we found them in Barcelona when he was visiting! I loved them – and haven’t seen them since.
    Don’t you just hate it when you hit the wrong key?!?

  18. meeso — 10/7/07 @ 12:01 pm

    LOL!!!! That’s a rockin’ fruit! I love the trendy teddy hat :D

  19. Big Boys Oven — 10/7/07 @ 12:47 pm

    I am asian and luckily I am not as hasiry as Mr Rambutan!

  20. Big Boys Oven — 10/7/07 @ 12:47 pm

    I am asian and luckily I am not as hairy as Mr Rambutan!…lol

  21. Rasa Malaysia — 10/7/07 @ 1:55 pm

    Rambutan is the best and you know this is southeast Asian origin, right? We used to have a tree in the house I grew up. BTW, I am a rambutan thief, well, not intentionally for the rambutan, but when I was in high school, I had this HUGE crush on this boy so my high school best bud and I went to his house and wanted to attract his attention. So, best bud told me to steal the rambutan in front of his house to lure him out so I would “accidentally” get to meet and know him. (and fall in love and live happily ever after!) Duh, I did steal the rambutan but out came the father (with a gun). Well, no gun but you get what I mean. He came out with loud #&*@!%^ and we ran. FAST.

  22. Rasa Malaysia — 10/7/07 @ 1:56 pm

    Thanks to everyone who voted for my dish! You guys rock and Jaden rocks!


  23. Kelly Mahoney — 10/7/07 @ 3:55 pm

    I’ve never seen these before. Your photos are beautiful, but the fruit looks a little scary. Is the outside prickly?

  24. SteamyKitchen — 10/7/07 @ 4:13 pm

    No, it actually is soft and a little fuzzy. But you are right, they kinda are freakish looking! I wonder which of my ancestors was the first to say,”hmm…this hairy-ass fruit looks so delicious!”

  25. Laavanya — 10/7/07 @ 4:51 pm

    I love rambutan… used to have so much when I was in Singapore… :)
    The teddy bear looks very cute with the trendy hat… :D

  26. Neece — 10/7/07 @ 6:39 pm

    What a cool and groovy looking fruit! You make them sound delicious.
    I love how creative you are. You make me laugh. :) I will have to see about finding some of these and try them… if only to make a hat for my teddy.

  27. JEP — 10/7/07 @ 8:01 pm

    Do you just eat this fruit straight-up?

  28. SteamyKitchen — 10/7/07 @ 8:06 pm

    JEP- yes! Like a lychee

    Neece- truth be told, the “hat” was the ONLY reason i bought a small box of the fruit for $8

  29. Puspha — 10/7/07 @ 8:24 pm

    Gosh!!! Those rambutans r making me miss home. Anyway, lucky me coz I was back home in Malaysia during the season. I ate kilos & kilos of rambutan.

  30. tigerfish — 10/7/07 @ 9:01 pm

    Hhaahha! So funny!
    But I really like the teddy’s hat :D
    On many thoughts, I think I saw Medusa again!

  31. Nate — 10/7/07 @ 11:54 pm

    Rambutans are best fresh. They sell them in cans but what’s the point?

  32. Melinda — 10/8/07 @ 3:53 am

    They do look like an afro lychee! That is funny about your banana plant not fruiting. My father in law had a banana farm. My husband can just about force himself to eat bananas now.
    Glad the Rasa prawns won. I look forward to watching your second appearance!

  33. wmw — 10/8/07 @ 5:55 am

    Yes, still remember Sanjaya….:o). Cute pics, you’ll be a strong contender for most creative usage for props in “Whose Line Is It Anyway! (I love that show!).

  34. Michelle — 10/8/07 @ 10:01 am

    Believe it or not, Rambutan can be found at the Publix grocery store in Tampa off W. Hillsborough Ave. just east of Armenia. They always have it during the summer months.
    And don’t I know about Pandora messing with me. I’ve created a French station with some of my fav French pop bands and every once in a while it will throw in Brandy by Looking Glass!!!! WTH?

  35. Lynn — 10/8/07 @ 10:49 am

    Rambutan – I think it should be renamed Velcro fruit. So Cal is closer to me than Florida, but not all that much. When are you coming to Seattle?

  36. Jim — 10/8/07 @ 11:13 am

    Awesome! It looks like a Koosh Ball.

  37. Sig — 10/8/07 @ 11:41 pm

    I love these fruits, to look at that is… Now I know how to use those, ice cream bowl, what a cute idea.. and poor Sanjaya, just when he thought he can have a normal life, you come along and bring him back to the limelight? :D

  38. Oh Jaden! Those pictures are a riot. Teddy looks especially haute couture in his little hat. How do you come up with these things!

  39. sia — 10/9/07 @ 10:53 am

    i saw them in market few days back but din’t know if they were edible ;) next time will surely pick one bag and try to be as creative as u :D LOL…

  40. xxoos — 10/9/07 @ 12:12 pm

    omg, after seeing the rambutan, the following picture of the saffrons reminded me of an extremely hairy glob of rambutan.

  41. radish — 10/9/07 @ 2:37 pm

    The container for ice cream is genius. The hat for teddy is beyond words – I think it makes him look festive and stylish. Like the Burberry bow wasn’t helping him enough – he’s a fashion-forward bear, clearly – mixing the old with the new!

  42. Kalyn — 10/9/07 @ 10:26 pm

    Hi Jaden,
    Didn’t find your e-mail address so I’m just leaving a comment. Thanks so much for letting me know I was included in the article in the Tampa paper, Great article! (And if you had anything to do with me being included, double thanks to you!)

  43. Dan — 10/10/07 @ 4:57 pm

    There is a cure for that Barry Manilow thing…

    Quick! Someone release The Neil Diamond!

  44. Sandy — 10/10/07 @ 6:39 pm

    LOL those pictures are great! I love rambutan, I had them for the first time while traveling in Thailand this spring.

  45. CeliacChick — 10/11/07 @ 12:53 am

    So, how much do you wanna bet that the next multi level marketing company is going to be centered around the exotic rambutan fruit! HA
    Goji beware!

  46. SteamyKitchen — 10/11/07 @ 8:07 am

    CeliaChick: Haha! You are so right! They’ll prob claim that it makes you grow hair.

  47. Vero — 10/13/07 @ 11:54 am

    I love Rambutan, probably not as much as I love lychees but close enough.

    I’ve taken to bringing weird fruits to the office to freak out a couple of colleagues. Their awareness of fruits is probably limited to oranges, apples and bananas, because everything I’ve brought in recently has resulted in “oooh, aahhh!”‘s and poking of things.

    Dragonfruit, rambutan, lychees and doughnut peach were all new things to them :) Unfortunately, they weren’t willing to have a taste!

  48. dwiana — 10/22/07 @ 9:23 am

    Jaden, Interesting pictures!! Rambutan is my best fruit ever. Your posting reminds me with my uncle farm where he plant rambutan back in Indonesia.

  49. Barbara — 11/4/07 @ 10:13 am

    Your post reminded me of our favorite Thai restaurant here in the DC area, Rabieng. We’re regulars there and a past manager Andy always stopped by the table to say hello. A few years ago we went there for dinner just before New Year’s Eve and as we were getting up to leave, Andy came running after us and gave us a can of rambutan and wished up a happy new year. I remember him telling us how he loved to eat rambutan late at night while he watched TV after a long day at work.

  50. adren — 11/13/07 @ 5:35 pm

    Rambutans, Lychees, Chiku, Durian, Dragonfruit (white flesh or yellow flesh), mata kuching (or longans), attap chee and loads more!! Its like fruits I ate whilst I was growing up. Haven’t touched them in a looooong time. :

Leave a Comment