A popular fruit throughout Southeast Asia, in India, however, dragon fruit garners very less attention. Often seen in the exotic fruit section of the supermarkets, the bright pink and scaly fruit could be a little intimidating at first sight. It belongs to the cactus family, and its reference to dragons is probably due to its scaly outer skin. But get past your inhibitions and you will discover that it is a delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in a number of ways. It is also commonly known as Pitaya.
Dragon fruit is a rich source of antioxidants and ranks low in calories, making it the perfect ingredient for your morning fruit bowl. Including it regularly in your daily diet is said to lower cholesterol, maintain blood pressure and heart health. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the fruit, the pink scaly outer skin encloses a white or red fleshy inner specked with black seeds, which is sweet in flavour and extremely refreshing. The seeds too are rich sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for the body.
So how do you eat it? It’s simple. Here are five delicious ways –
1. Scoop it Out
Take the dragon fruit and cut it into half. Then using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and enjoy it fresh or you can even drizzle it with a little honey and have it as a mid-meal treat. The outer skin is inedible though, so avoid it.
2. Slice it for Salads and Muesli
All you need to do is peal the scaly outer layer and then slice the inner flesh as per your liking. You can toss the pieces with other fruit slices to make a refreshing fruit salad. Or add it into your bowl of muesli containing bananas, nuts and seeds. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home – Fresh Fruit Muesli. Along with the apples and pears, add in dragon fruit. Here are some more recipes for you to try: DIY Muesli Recipes.
3. Blend it
Once you have peeled the fruit, you can use the flesh to make breakfast smoothies and refreshing juices at home. Dragon fruit has a subtle sweet flavour which can be teamed with a whole range of ingredients, especially kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberries and oranges. Try this filling smoothie recipe by Chef Vicky Ratnani – Dragon Fruit and Yoghurt Smoothie.
4. Grill it
Grilling cubes of dragon fruit is another delicious way to enjoy this exotic ingredient. The caramalised sweet flavour can be balanced with a sprinkle of chilli powder, and the result is a lip-smacking treat. Here’s what you need to do to make a kebab –
1 dragon fruit, cubed
1 pineapple, cubed
Oil for brushing
1 tsp red chilli powder
Sat to taste
1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients and toss well.
2. Arrange alternate pieces of dragon fruit and pineapple on the skewers, and grill for 10 minutes.
3. Serve hot.
5. Freeze it
Nothing like a refreshing popsicle or sorbet to beat the summer heat. And dragon fruit is a great option because it is loaded with vitamins besides being delicious to taste. All you need to do is juice the fruit (along with other fruits too, if you like, such as kiwi), and transfer it to a mould and freeze it till it’s set. Add in honey or jaggery to sweeten the treat.
Tips to Buying Dragon Fruit
Here are some points you should remember –
1. Dragon fruit tastes best when it’s ripe and fresh. So before buying the fruit, try pressing it slightly with your fingertips. If it is slightly soft, it’s good to pick up. Make sure it isn’t too soft, or else it’s overripe.
2. The fruit should be bright pink without dark spots or bruises.