When you eat a pomelo, do not rush to throw the peel in the bin. If you are game for a culinary adventure and have the time and patience, you can turn the bitter peel leftover into an incredible food dish.
First, burn and peel the outermost layer of the green or yellow rind off the fruit. Soak the white pomelo peel in water for at least three days to remove the bitterness completely. Change water daily and give a light squeeze of the peel before soaking into the new water.
Cut the ready pith into smaller pieces. Stir-fry the pieces till dry. My winning recipe would be adding lard during stir-frying. Then the pith is ready to be braised along with any ingredients you could think of, like sea cucumber, goose feet, Japanese eel, grass carp and mud carp meat. If you add shrimp roe into the dish it can become outstanding.
Apart from preparing it as a dish, the pomelo peel is also great to make a heat-clearing drink at home for summer: the honey pomelo tea.
The pomelo peel is not only delicious, it is also nutritious. Naringin from the peel can lower blood viscosity, which reduces the risk of the formation of thrombus.
At restaurants, it has been many years since I had a dish of properly cooked braised pomelo pith. That is because even at some high-end restaurants, the kitchens use frozen tasteless stuff imported from Thailand, instead of preparing the peel from fresh fruit.
But to my surprise, I came across an excellent dish of authentic braised pomelo pith with shrimp roe at a restaurant on Wing Kut Street in Central some days ago. The pith came with a faint of bitterness but strong richness of dried scallop.
The owner told me that she used only fresh pomelo and strictly followed her family recipe of complicated steps. Hence, the dish is only available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Other offerings at the restaurant, including rice dumplings, smoked fish, drunken pork knuckles, drunken chickens and turnip cake, were also of supreme quality.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 23.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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