I went to the market the other day and was strolling along, basket in hand, humming quietly, keeping my eyes open for some Thai basil. Then suddenly I stopped. Right in front of me was a pile of purplish round fruits. Some were cracked open, revealing a thick interior red skin and white fluffy segments of flesh. Seeing the flesh alone reminded me of its creamy, sweet yet slightly tart taste. Of course I could not help myself. Seeing a true nature’s delicacy, I immediately filled my basket with fruit after fruit after fruit. Yes, it’s the Queen of Fruits (aka the mangosteen) and her season is upon us. Oh, rejoice!! Well.. actually by us, I mean those of us who live close enough to Southern Thailand…
So what is mangosteen? Hailed as the “Queen of Fruits”, the mangosteen’s popularity here in Singapore is rivalled only by the omnipresent durian (which, funnily enough is nicknamed as the “King of Fruits”). The tree is part of the Guttiferae family and has the distinction of being remarkably difficult to raise. The few trees that do reach maturity can take up to 15 years to bear fruit.
So if you’re lucky enough to be able to find some and have never tried a mangosteen, I really urge you to buy some, for the sake of tasting it alone. It will instantly remind you of warm sandy beaches and clear blue sky.
If you’ve tried it before and are looking for other ways to enjoy it, do consider the refreshing mocktail below. It’s a celebration of summer’s arrival in a glass. I call the drink below “Summer Blush” because it makes me want to own a lipstick by the same shade, which then got me thinking for appropriate names for said lipstick.. if that makes any sense at all. If you can’t find fresh mangosteens or if they’re ridiculously expensive, then try to find a frozen version. It isn’t half bad. Even the bottled-ready juice pack is okay. Just as long as you stay away from the canned version, which does a really poor job of representing the real fruit.
The recipe I’m giving you is more of a guideline than an actual recipe. Actually, this is a drink that should be made without real measurements, because each fruit will yield different quantity of juice and they will also give way to different levels of sweetness. I cannot foretell how juicy your frozen mangosteens will be or how tart your raspberries are.
Truth be told, I rarely measure my ingredients. Before my blogging days, I hardly ever take note of how many grams of vegetables/meat go into my dish, or how many spoonfuls of sugar go into my cake. I trusted my instinct and I still do. Now, blogging has made me pay more attention to how many of what goes into which dish. But as for salt, sugar and pepper? Only you can decide how salty, sweet and spicy you want things to be. So I encourage you to taste as you go along. After all, that’s what cooking basically is isn’t it? Adjusting flavours to suit your taste.
Makes 1 jug
FOR THE DRINK:
- 1 can soda water
- raspberry syrup, homemade or store bought (recipe below)
- cranberry juice
- 1 kg medium mangosteens, juiced (if you must, frozen is fine, but please do me a favour and stay away from the canned version. or if you really can’t find any, bottled-ready juice is also fine)
- fresh lime juice
- lime slices, as many as you want
FOR THE RASPBERRY SYRUP
- 300 gr (10.5 oz) raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed), crushed
- 220 gr (7.7 oz) sugar
- 230 ml (1 cup) water
If you’re MAKING THE RASPBERRY SYRUP, then get a saucepan ready over medium heat. Pour in water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Lower the heat immediately to low and leave to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the crushed raspberries. You can crush the fruits some more using the back of your spatula. Bring to a boil once again and let thicken for about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.
TO MAKE THE DRINK, pour your juiced mangosteens, your can of soda, lime slices and the cranberry juice into a jug. Try to get a 1:1 ratio for the mangosteen and cranberry juice. Squirt in a good dose of lime juice. Little by little, mix in the raspberry syrup. Taste as you go along. Adjust accordingly. If you want it to be more sour, squirt in some more lime juice. If you have a sweet tooth, then by all means pour in more syrup. When the taste is to your liking, refrigerate the jug.
Serve on a beautiful summer day.