For those who aren’t familiar with pomelos, they’re the largest fruit in the citrus family, and have a really thick rind. Similar to other citrus fruit, a pomelo consists of individual segments encased in a whitish fibrous membrane. Unlike an orange though, the membrane surrounding each segment of a pomelo is tough and much thicker, and is therefore peeled off before consuming the juice vesicles. Tastewise, a pomelo is like a grapefruit, but sweeter and without the bitterness.
My parents live in a town in Malaysia that’s renowned for its pomelos. Recently, after eating a really sweet and juicy yellow-fleshed pomelo, my mum decided to purchase another one, but a different imported pink-fleshed variety. However, it turned out to be less juicy and not very sweet. My dad tried a small piece and refused to eat anymore of it. My mum didn’t want to waste it, but clearly wasn’t enjoying it. I’m actually not a huge fan of pomelo (I’ll have it once in a while, but it’s not amongst my favourite fruits), but I told my mum to leave the pomelo to me, and I’ll use it in a salad.
But what sort of salad could I make that would require a large amount of pomelo? A quick search online led me to this recipe for Thai Pomelo Salad. Honestly though, I had my doubts after reading the list of ingredients. It just seemed like a mishmash of flavours that don’t belong together. Pomelo with shallots, fish sauce and dried shrimp?! But boy, was I wrong! All the flavours actually complement and enhance each other, and the result is a perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and umami.
I pretty much stuck to the original recipe, with a few minor changes. I added torch ginger (optional, since it’s hard to find outside of Southeast Asia; also known as ginger flower, it has a flavour that’s best described as a cross between Vietnamese mint and lemongrass), some sliced chillies, and crispy fried shallots. Instead of ground chillies in the dressing, I substituted homemade fresh chilli garlic sauce. I didn’t add any shredded coconut, only because I didn’t have any on hand, but I would recommend it because, well, what doesn’t taste better with toasted coconut?! But even without, it was still very, very good.
Not only was this the most delicious, refreshing salad, but I loved it so much that I made it again a couple days later! I think I’ve found my new favourite salad!
Did you make this recipe?
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(Recipe adapted from Hot Thai Kitchen)
Serves 2-3, as an appetizer
2 cups pomelo, membrane removed and segments broken up into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons shredded coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped or crushed
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in water for 5 minutes, drained, then pounded or processed in blender until fine
3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2-inch piece of lemongrass (white part), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon torch ginger (optional), thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon gula melaka (palm sugar)
1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon chilli garlic sauce
2 tablespoons crispy fried shallots, for garnish
1) Prepare the dressing first by combining the gula melaka, fish sauce and chilli garlic sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until the gula melaka has dissolved. Pour into a small bowl, mix in lime juice and set aside.
2) Place pomelo pieces and the rest of the salad ingredients into a medium bowl. Add the dressing, mix well.
3) Transfer to individual plates, garnish with crispy fried shallots and serve immediately.