Luscious lychees

Contests, Flirty fruits | August 21, 2013 | By

Great title, if I do say so myself, except that this recipe did not include a single solitary little lychee.

But let’s start on a note of congratulations! For me! I won fourth prize in The Egg Award! Yay!

My Scottish foodie friends at encouraged me to enter, and I’ve had tons of fun since the day I did (here’s the recipe in case you missed it). Congrats to Vivienne Aldred, Tony Singh, and Dani Garcia – I’ll make it my mission to try all of your recipes. Did I mention my husband has always been called “The egg man?” Legend has it when he was a kid he would only eat eggs and hotdogs. He’ll be the perfect customer for my recreations of these contestants’ eggspertise, anyway. Hey, and thanks judges and organizers! It completely freaks me out that real professionals tried my recipe and liked it! I’m already looking forward to next year’s contest.

But now, on to today’s non-lychee post. I bought a big bag of lychees



to experiment with a few weeks ago. We sampled a few, but then I got busy with life and had to toss them before I could figure out what to do with them. The same thing had happened a few months before, with “dragon eyes,” or longan.



Because learning how to prep strange foods can take a few minutes of research, procrastination can needle its way in, and then you’re not quite sure if you might poison people with your strange food because you don’t know what it looks like when it’s bad, so… there are occasional casualties. I’m sure I did great things with the time I used to procrastinate, though, don’t worry. Anyone into Downton Abbey?

I had tasted the raw longan and lychees before they met our compost bin, so I quickly learned they were similar. Longan(s?) are slightly ickier, in my opinion – more perfumy? Both kind of gave me the creeps for some reason. Too pungent. I couldn’t go beyond eating one or two. Then along came rambutans.

IMG_4815Oh, my sweet hairy redheaded Thai strangers.


Rambutans are slightly larger than lychees and longans, but they’re all related – they all taste sweet with the consistency of a grape, encased in a kind of pod shell.

IMG_4818The rambutans were easiest to snack on, in my opinion, having somehow shaken any kind of aftertaste. If you manage to find them, totally go for it. Gingers are rare, so you have to snap them up while you have the chance (whaaa? Apologies, it just worked for my hairy fruit joke and is not autobiographical in any way).

On the advice of this blog, I turned my rambutans into a tropical pancake sauce, because it looked yummy, seemed kid-friendly, and allows me to get on my soap box about making your own pancakes instead of using Aunt Jemima mix. Ever read those unpronounceable ingredients? I bet you always have flour, eggs and the like kicking around, and it really doesn’t take any more time to throw those together than it does to pour mix out of a box. The pain with pancakes is the heating and flipping, and you have to do that anyway. Just sayin.

Coconut mango rambutan “Tropical Pancake Sauce”

(Substitute lychee or dragon eyes for rambutan if needed – you can often find canned lychee)

  • 5-8 rambutans (about 1.5-2 handfuls of rambutan/lychee/dragon eye fruit)
  • 1/2 mango, ripe, in pieces
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • Simple syrup, if desired (1/2C sugar mixed with 1/2C water, boiled to mix, then cooled)

1. Prepare fruit, peeling rambutans away from hairy casings and pits. Try to remove brown almond-like skin from white flesh of the rambutan if you can – this came through in my puree, which wasn’t evil, but would have been smoother without. Peel mango and cut into coarse pieces. I only added 1/2 mango because I wanted to taste the rambutan, but use your discretion.

2. Prepare simple syrup

3. Add fruit to blender or processor with coconut milk and syrup.

IMG_4819Blend until smooth

4. Make pancakes. Here is my go-to recipe

Easy Pancakes (serves 2-3)

  • 1C whole wheat flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2Tbsp oil, with extra for pan
  • Add blueberries or chocolate chips to the batter if you’re not a purist

1. Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the milk, egg and oil, then mix. Results should be bubbly and goopy – if runny, add a bit more flour, or if unpourable, add a bit more milk.

2. Heat pan on burner over med-high heat. Heat oil or butter. Pour small dollops of mix into pan – if you are daring, you can make shapes like my dad does for my kids. Wait until you see bubbles through the middle of the pancake, and flip. Second side will take less time than first.

3. Serve pancakes with tropical sauce, and garnish with fruit.


Results: Yum! I should really have called these “Pina colada pancakes,” except that they have no pineapple in them. Next time. My kids liked them too. Rambutans aren’t just for gingers anymore. Rating: 3 Yums 


  1. Leave a Reply

    August 21, 2013

    That sauce looks amazing! I learned a lot from this post. I have only ever had a lychee martini so it was nice to learn about them and their close cousins 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      August 21, 2013

      Thanks! Pretty sure the sauce would rock on desserts, too

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