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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Summer fruits & tapioca pearls in makrut lime syrup

January 13, 2013


Having enjoyed our last picnic so much, we devised another one a couple of weeks later with Another Outspoken Female. She and I had been chatting about vegan-friendly summer desserts and after pointing out this fruit salad of Haalo's to her, I was compelled to give it a go for our get-together.

Fruit salads have never been a passion of mine: too often they're thoughtlessly composed, and almost never are they dressed. I liked that Haalo's one held to a tropical theme, gained some added texture from tapioca pearls and included a sweet-and-sour makrut lime leaf-infused dressing. 

Unfortunately my own version lost its way with the tropical fruit theme. I found plenty of mangoes and a few rambutans at the markets but no lychees or longans, so I fell back on cherries. The cherries were excellent and not too much trouble to pit, although I happened upon this clever alternative method a day later and wished I'd had a chance to try it. I pulled my makrut lime leaves from a tree in our apartment block, and they were as plump and fragrant as I've ever seen them.

This made for a splendid dessert, without any need for icecream or chocolate or cake. I clearly need to explore fruit salads further.



Summer fruits & tapioca pearls in makrut lime syrup
(adapted from a recipe on Cook Almost Anything)

3/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup water
6 makrut lime leaves, finely shredded
3/4 cup tapioca pearls
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
5 rambutans, peeled and seed removed
500g cherries, pitted

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and set them over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Turn off the heat and add the makrut lime leaves, so that they infuse the syrup as it cools.

Place the tapioca pearls in a small saucepan and cover them with lots of water. Bring them to the boil for 5 minutes then continue simmering them until softened all the way through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pearls and pour half the syrup over them.

In a large bowl, stir together the fruit and tapioca. Test-taste and check the moisture levels, adding the remaining syrup to your preferences.

14 comments:

  1. That looks so refreshing and delicious! It actually reminds me a lot of the type of dessert you tend to find in South East Asia - lots of tropical fruit, a bit of sugar syrup, and some tapioca! All that's missing is some shaved ice. :P

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    1. Hi Amanda! You make a good point, exploring SE Asian desserts could be a fun way to add more fruit salads to my repertoire. :-)

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  2. Beautiful refreshing salad - those cherries look enormous! (love that clever little cherry pitting method). Haven't cherries just been THE BEST in Australia this season? And fancy having a kaffir lime tree in your apartment block is pretty special!

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    1. Hi Lisa! I consider myself very lucky to have that tree outside with leaves free for the picking. :-)

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    2. I consider the neighbour's fig tree hanging over our fence free for the picking as well :o)

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  3. I don't know if you are willing to change, but the term kaffir is highly offensive in South Africa, and some people are now using the name makrut lime instead.

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    1. Welcome, Debbie Ann! I was vaguely aware of this and unsure what to do as I wrote the post. Thank you for supplying me with an alternate name, which I've substituted and will use in future.

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  4. That cherry pitting method is genius!
    Oh, and the fruit salad looks pretty alright too ;)
    I am super jealous of the Australian stone fruit season right now!

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    1. Hi there Bella! Aussie stone fruit season is fabulous, but I bet European berry season is pretty great too. ;-)

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  5. Looks awesome! I've had some tapioca perals sitting in my cupboard for a while now. This might just be the inspirational kick up the butt I needed.

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    1. AA - tapioca pearls are really easy to work with, go for it! But perhaps don't make more than you'll need in a sitting, I find that they can get hard and gummy after sitting around/refrigeration. :-/

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  6. This was great and pretty healthy too, win-win!

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    1. Thanks, K! It's not bad, it would be easy to cut down the sugar too.

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