Sunday, September 24, 2017

Recipe of the month: Longan, Ginger and Tender Coconut Juice with Nata de Coco


I have a unique and refreshing drink for you today 😊  I never planned on blogging this recipe but it ended up being a happy accident that I just had to preserve for the future! I haven't followed any recipe for this drink - it entirely came out of my head so if there is a similar recipe out there somewhere in the Universe, let me honestly say that (at this point at least) I am unaware of it!

So, let us talk Longan today. These exotic and translucent little fruits are also called euphoria fruit. It is one of the better-known tropical members of the soapberry family which include lychee and rambutan. Longan fruit can be found growing throughout Southeast Asia and are quite well known in this part of the world. A few years ago when I was in Bangalore (India), I was surprised to see them at the supermarket near my in-laws residence because growing up, I had never seen them and my first tasting was the fruit was only after coming to Singapore way back in 2006. Since then, I have been religiously buying it (mainly) to take back to India because my mother-in-law really likes the fruit 😊

In traditional Chinese medicine, this sweet, juicy and succulent fruit is used as a tonic for the heart, to improve eye function, relieve stress and give the skin a glow. As for standard nutritional qualifications, longan fruit has got that too: iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium can be found in the fruit, as well as vitamins A and C. Recent studies have also identified gallic acid, corilagin and ellagic acid in the fruit, which may bolster the fruit’s reputation as a health-boosting superfruit. It isn't a very good source of antioxidants and isn't considered diabetic-friendly but the overall nutritional profile still sounds pretty good to me!

The scent of this fruit is extremely subtle yet unique. As a food, it may be an acquired taste for you because of the distinct musky aftertaste. But hey, my picky toddlers absolutely love it so I’m guessing if you have never tried it before, it shouldn't be so hard for you to get accustomed to. 

I paired the flavour of longan with fresh ginger and tender coconut water which I felt would go together. Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to tender coconuts here so I had to make use with store-bought tender coconut water. 


I love chewy bits in my drinks so I added Nata de Coco. I however realized that some people may not fancy Nata de Coco because of its texture. You can always use Aloe Vera instead (everyone likes that stuff right?). However, if you are lucky enough to actually get your hands on a tender coconut then use the water for the juice and chop up the soft edible white flesh and use it instead of the Nata de Coco. Nothing could be better I swear!


If you like longan and if it is easily available where you live then you HAVE to try making this juice. It is a tropical delight - sweet, refreshing and something different for a change. It can be made in under 10 minutes too. My husband gave it the thumbs up and I'm sure whoever you make it for will too  🙌

Longan, Ginger and Tender Coconut Juice with Nata de Coco

Preparation time: 10 mins
Total time: Under 15 minutes
Serves: 2-3
Recipe category: Drink/Southeast Asia
Recipe level: Very easy

Ingredients:

10-12 fresh longan, peeled, de-seeded and halved
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp honey or maple syrup (adjust according to preference)
1 cup tender coconut water
1 cup cold water
1/4-1/2 cup Nata de Coco or Aloe Vera, chopped into small pieces
Ice cubes, crushed (if desired)

Method:
1. Prep the ingredients as shown


2. Put the longan halves, grated ginger, honey and coconut water into the blender and blend well.

3. Strain the juice if desired and top up with one cup of cold water. Mix well. 

4. Toss in the Nato de Coco or Aloe Vera bits.

5. Add crushed ice (if desired) and serve with a large straw!



Notes:
  • You can try this recipe with rambutan or lychee as well (reduce the number to 5 since they are bigger in size)
  • You can use sugar instead of honey as a sweetener
  • Use a wide-mouthed straw while serving otherwise the Nata de Coco or Aloe Vera bits can get stuck in them
  • You can add a spring of mint for garnish if desired



Cheers,
Megha


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