As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I’ve been in an Asian food mood of late. And though it has been a very rainy June here in Washington, D.C., I know that the usual steamy tropical summer is hanging out there, waiting to pounce with the heat and humidity of a swamp.

Here is an exotic, cooling fruit salad that can easily accompany barbecue ribs for a summer repast.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, one where there are numerous Asian markets, you may be able to get fresh rambutan and loquats — the latter available at some Middle Eastern stores, where they’re known as akidinia, or at Italian markets like Balducci where they are known as nespole. Canned loquats and rambutan are more than adequate; just make sure that the canned ones are firm and not mushy.

This salad requires very little preparation other than peeling and cutting into bite-sized pieces.

You’ll need

Dressing

  • ¼ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • ¼ cup juice from loquats and rambutan
  • ¼ cup plum wine (available in Asian supermarkets — you can substitute a sweet sherry like Amontillado or Commandaria, the sweet dessert wine from Cyprus)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or to taste if you like it sweeter
  • 4 tablespoons of sesame seed oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cheese cloth

Put shredded ginger in a bottle that will also hold fruit juices, wine and lime juice.

Salad

  • ½ large pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium papaya, peeled, seeded, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large Champagne mango, peeled, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 11-ounce can peeled whole lychees in heavy syrup, drained, halved lengthwise
  • 1 12-0unce can peeled whole rambutan in heavy syrup, drained and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup loquats, halved with seed removed
  • 1 cup firm purple plums, seed removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup kiwis, peeled and sliced lengthwise in quarters
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Put cut fruit into a generously sized bowl. Don’t crowd it. We’re going for presentation as well as taste.

Strain and squeeze ginger/fruit juice mixture through cheese cloth to remove shredded ginger. You should have about a half cup. Add honey, sesame oil, pinch of salt, shake, and set aside for a few minutes to mix flavors. Taste for sweetness and tang and adjust by adding more honey or more lime juice.

When you’re happy – and this is distinctly individual taste — pour over fruit, toss lightly and sprinkle with coconut and serve.

Till next time.

Melkam Megeb. Bon appetit. Buen provecho. Mànmàn chī! Guten Appetit! Dober tek! Selamat makan! Nush olsun! Svādiṣṭ khānā