Pomelo, that thick rinded Asian fruit as big as a soccer ball (well, almost) goes by a number of names – Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, pumelo, pommelo, pompelmous, Jabong, Lusho, Batabi-Nimbu and chakotra are just a few. Big it is, and its seeds could feed an army of ants for a life time. But once you are through that thick rind, and you have flicked the seeds out of the segments, and the membranes around the segments are removed, oh oh, the flavours! So very South East Asian in its flavours, it is like a mild grapefruit. They say that it is an ancient ancestor of today’s common grapefruit.
Peeling a pomelo is a business, as the skin can be as much as an inch thick. The best approach is to cut a slice off the top of the fruit, then score the skin deeply to divide it into four segments. Pull the skin back like the petals of a flower and tear out the ball of pomelo. Finally, peel off the tough membrane surrounding each segment.
Even Yotam Ottolenghi is a fan of pomelo: “What I love about them is that, unlike other citrus, they don’t go flabby in salads but retain all their juiciness. This firmness is brilliant in salsas and salads. I love making sugar syrup and marinating pomelo pieces in it with sweet spices such as star anise, cardamom or cinnamon.”
So today, we have a simple Pomelo Salad to celebrate this fruit and the health giving properties that it contains. You can make it with Ruby Grapefruit, too, or with Pomelo, Ruby Grapefruit and Oranges. Enjoy!
The person who served me at the Asian Grocery where I bought the Pomelo told me how Asian people treasure Pomelo for its health giving properties. Like bitter gourd, she says, it is good for a range of ailments and for normal health maintenance. She loves to eat it with chilli and salt, just like green mango.