You know how I’m a strong proponent for not wasting anything when it comes to food? Usually I am referring to offal, but how about the skins of a fruit? Some use the zest of citrus fruits for baking and cooking or even turning them into dried goods or candies, but have you ever consumed fruit peels as a meal?
Back when it was Lunar New Year, we had a huge pomelo. The Chinese word for pomelo is a homophone for “blessing”, which is why it appears in many households during that time (it also just happens to be a winter fruit). Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this year’s glory, but I do have pictures of the pomelo peel dish. It was the first time I ever ate pomelo skins and it was an interesting experience. My mother prepared this dish for us and she said because the pomelo was so nice this year, she felt it would have been a waste to dump the skins. I couldn’t agree more.
The secret to making this dish is using a pomelo with a nice and thick, blemish-free skin. Once the skins have been peeled and washed, they need to soak in a large bowl of water for several days to remove the bitterness (changing the water every so often). Since the fruit peels are buoyant, it helps to add heavy plates on top to ensure that they are fully submerged in the water during the soaking period.
Although there are different ways to cook this, this version was prepared with miso paste, oyster sauce, sugar, and a bit of chicken seasoning powder. It’s stewed for a period of time so that the peels become soft. Apparently it’s common to have these served with shrimp eggs in Hong Kong, but that’s difficult to find around these parts so it was omitted.
So what’s it like to eat pomelo peels? They seemed to mimic the texture of a super spongy meat, but had the benefit of being able to heavily absorb the sauce. It was somewhat similar to pig rinds and was squishy, but it was definitely meat free (the chicken seasoning can be omitted if youre vegetarian). It supposedly has lots of fiber, which is an added bonus. Have you ever tried pomelo skins before?