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  • Chef Kaviraj Khialani
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Enjoy Dragon Fruit Delights With Easy Recipes From Chef Kaviraj

Turn healthy and delicious dragon fruit into tasty snacks with these interesting recipes. 
author-profile
  • Chef Kaviraj Khialani
  • Editorial
Published -03 Feb 2022, 15:00 ISTUpdated -03 Feb 2022, 15:20 IST
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dragon fruit delights chef kaviraj

Dragon fruit is also known as “pitaya” or “strawberry pear”. Dragon fruit grows on a climbing cactus plant that can grow from 15-20 feet high and can live for as long as two decades. The flower buds of the fruit are edible when cooked. Dragon Fruits are native to Southern Mexico and across Central and South America. The name 'dragon fruit' is derived from its unique appearance, where the spikes resemble fire and the scales resemble that of a dragon, as depicted in Chinese mythology. Dragon fruit is a fruit of many names, known as pitaya and pitahaya depending on genus, as well as strawberry pear and even night blooming cereus.

Dragon fruit can be considered as a superfood being low in calories but high in fibre, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and containing healthy fatty acids and probiotics. Antioxidants are essential to protect cells from free radical damage, which cause chronic disease and ageing. Some of the major antioxidants found in dragon fruit are betacyanins, betaxanthins, hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids.

To choose a ripe dragon fruit, look for bright, even-coloured skin. A few blemishes on the skin are usual, but if the fruit has a lot of flaws, it may be over-ripe. Hold the dragon fruit in your palm, and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers. It should give a little, but shouldn’t be too soft or mushy. Dragon fruit is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, including good amounts of carotene and vitamin C, and its nutritional and antibacterial properties have been studied for their ability to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and boost energy levels. Dragon fruit has high water content (about 80% water), and is a good source of iron, magnesium, B vitamins, phosphorus, protein, calcium, and fiber. The fruit’s edible seeds are also nutritious, as they are high in polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders

Dragon fruit is best used raw and slightly chilled, but can also be cooked, such as grilling with a sprinkle of chili powder to balance its sweet flavor. Slice the fruit lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, or quarter it and peel off the leathery skin entirely, as it can be bitter. Dragon fruit is commonly blended in smoothies, or juiced for beverages and cocktails. It can be used to make jams or flavor ice creams, sorbets and other desserts, while syrup made from the fruit is often used for colouring pastries and candies.

chef kaviraj dragon fruits

The soft yet dense texture will hold its shape nicely when cut, so it can be diced into fruit salads with papaya, coconut, mango, guava or kiwi. It can also be used in Savory salads, and pairs well with seafood, such as scallops and white, flaky fish. Ripe Dragon fruit can be kept at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerated in a sealed container for prolonged use. Fresh, cut segments will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two. Dragon fruit can also be sliced or cubed, then frozen for future use in blended or pureed applications.

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Health Benefits Of Dragon Fruit 

1. Dragon fruit is considered good for the eyes, bones, teeth, and skin.

2. Dragon fruit offers good support to our digestive system since it is high in fiber content, also aids in weight loss if consumed wisely.

3. Dragon fruit is a great immunity boosting ingredient and a fruit which can be had regularly due to good quantities of vitamins and minerals present in it.

4. Dragon fruit is also regarded as anti-ageing since it has anti-oxidants which work against the free radicals and makes our skin tighter and younger look wise.

5. Dragon fruit also helps prevent cardio-vascular diseases, lowers cholesterol levels and helps reduce high blood pressure.

dragon fruit health benefits

6. Dragon fruit is also anti-inflammatory and also supports our nervous system as well since it is high in vitamin B levels which aid in the formation of nerve cells and healthy fats for proper conductive signalling.

7. Dragon fruit is also heart healthy food, good in vitamin A and vitamin C content, also helps cure constipation issues.

8. Dragon fruit helps keeping the kidney clean and de-toxified and it also beneficial for our bone health as well.

9. Dragon fruit has also been regarded as a stress buster, due to its attractive look and eye appeal it is also a mood enhancer and works well to manage stress levels as well.

10. Dragon fruit is also regarded as good for the health of our hair and it supports good development of hair in our body and also strengthens hair growth.

Dragon Fruit Recipes 

Recipe 1 - Dragon Fruit Waldorf 

dragon fruit waldorf

Ingredients

For the base of the salad:

  • Assorted lettuce leaves-1 cup [Iceberg/Lollorosso/ Cos/ Romaine]

For the body of the salad:

  • Green apples/red apples-1 no, do not peel, cut into cubes.
  • Dragon fruit- 1 no, peeled and cut into medium size cubes.
  • Celery- 2 stalks, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • Walnuts- 8-10 no. roughly cut.

For the dressing of the salad:

  • Mayonnaise- 1 cup
  • Mustard paste-1/2 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime juice-2 tsp
  • Mint leaves- 6-8 no
  • For the garnish of the salad:
  • Assorted herbs/ nuts/ seeds/ micro-greens

Method

1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the salad recipe.

2. Clean, wash/rinse the lettuce leaves, place them in ice-cold water to maintain their freshness.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine together the ingredients for the dressing and mix well, I also tried using greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise and it turned out to be yummy as well.

4. Just before serving, add in the body of the salad into the dressing and give the salad a nice toss and mix.

5. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly, arrange the drained and pat dried crispy lettuce leaves on a salad plate and portion the tossed salad on it and garnish appropriately and serve.

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Recipe 2-  Marinated Dragon Fruit Salad

marinated fruit salad

Ingredients

For the base of the salad:

  • Assorted lettuce leaves-1 cup [ Iceberg/Lollorosso/Cos/ Romaine]

For the body of the salad:

  • Dragon fruit- 1 no, peeled and cubed
  • Fresh pineapple- 3-4 slices, cubed
  • Apple- red or green- 1 no, cubed
  • Chickoo- 2 no, peeled and cubed
  • Grapes- 10-12 no
  • Berries- ¼ cup any variety

For the marination cum dressing:

  • Honey-2 tbsp
  • Lime juice-2 tbsp
  • Mint leaves- 10-12 no
  • Ginger juice- 2 tsp
  • White wine-2 tsp- optional
  • Raisins- 10-12 chopped
  • Dates- 3-4 no puree

For the garnish of the salad:

  • Toasted flax seeds/ melon seeds/ pumpkin seeds- 2-3 tsp
  • Micro-greens/ fresh herbs.

Method

1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the marinated dragon fruit salad.

2. Prepare the base of the salad, clean, wash- rinse and place in cold water.

3. In a mixing bowl, assemble the ingredients for the marination cum dressing and give it a nice mix.

4. Add in the fruits as desired and mix, place in a cool place/ chiller/ fridge etc for around 20-30 mins.

5. Give the fruits a nice toss one more time and portion them on a bed of crispy lettuce leaves on a salad plate/ bowl.

6. Garnish the salad with toasted seeds/ slivers of almonds/ nuts/ micro-greens etc and serve.

Recipe 3 - Dragon Fruit Delight 

fruit delight

Ingredients

  • Dragon fruit- 2 no, peeled and cut roughly
  • Ginger juice- 2 tsp
  • Lime juice- 2 tsp
  • Sugar syrup- 2-3 tbsp.
  • Cashews-2 tsp chopped
  • Lychee crush- 2 tsp
  • Tender coconut/ malai- 2 tbsp. chopped
  • Coconut Water- ½ cup

For Garnish 

  • Mint leaves- 6-8 no
  • Cherries- 2-3 no

Method

1. This recipe is about preparing small shorts with dragon fruit in the form of a juice / healthy sips.

2. Pre-prep all the ingredients as listed above and can be adjusted as desired/ as per taste.

3. Using a jar of a mixer-grinder/ food processor, combine together the dragon fruit with all the other ingredients as listed and give it a nice churn and process it.

4. Remove into a bowl, check for the balance between sweetness and flavor and adjust it accordingly. At times I also avoid the sugar element in this shot drink and prefer without sugar as well.

5. Just before serving the refreshing shot drink, portion it into small glasses, garnish it as desired, and serve.

Recipe 4 - Fusion Firni With Dragon Fruit 

fusion phirni

Ingredients

For the Firni mixture:

  • Milk- 500- 750 ml
  • Rice paste- 2-3 tbsp
  • Green cardamom powder- ½ tsp
  • Sugar- to taste
  • Condensed milk-1/4 cup
  • Mava- 2-3 tsp
  • Raisins- 2-3 tsp chopped
  • Almonds- 2-3 tsp chopped
  • Cashews- 2-3 tsp chopped
  • Dragon fruit- 1 no, peeled, cubed
  • Mint leaves- 8-10 no
  • Glazed/tinned cherries- 3-4 no
  • Fruit cocktail tin- 1 cup, assorted tinned fruits can be added too
  • Rossogulla- 2-3 no, sliced for the fusion touch in the Firni
  • White chocolate- ¼ cup either shavings/ chips/ melted

Method

1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the fusion Firni recipe.

2. In a saucepan combine together the milk, rice paste, sugar, elaichi powder and cook for 12-15 mins on a low flame, keep stirring.

3. Add in mava and condensed milk as it starts cooking, and continue to cook for another 8-10 mins on a low flame. Turn off the flame and cool.

4. Add in the white chocolate, mix and chill. Now it’s time to layer the dessert.

5. Using dessert glasses, cups start with the layering of the white chocolate Firni, place the dragon fruit, sliced rossogulla, assorted fruits, nuts and repeat the layers.

6. Chill the dessert for 2- 3 hours and then garnish and present the wow some dessert with dragon fruit combined in a white chocolate flavoured Firni.

Chef Kaviraj Khialani is a Celebrity Master Chef. He is a Mumbai-based author, food designer, food writer, consultant and creative cuisine specialist. For more recipes from Chef Kaviraj, stay tuned! 

Disclaimer

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