Okinawa Tourism Information:Series/IslandBlessing,IslandTastePart15EdibleCactusFruit!DragonFruit

Series / Island Blessing, Island Taste Part 15 Edible Cactus Fruit! Dragon Fruit

post : 2014.10.12 21:00

While I was walking down on the right back alley, my eyes were grabbed by the magic of a big, pure white flower.  

I was wondering what kind of flower it was.  My eyes followed where the flower came from and caught a cactus growing around the fence of a private house.  Taking a closer look, I knew it was a vivid red fruit.

 “Oh, it is a dragon fruit (pitaya)!”
It came out automatically on the back alley with no one around.

Dragon fruit, which always refers to fruit of the genus Hylocereus, is native to Latin America and actively cultivated in Okinawa and Kyushu Region.

It is rich in nutrients and recently gets a lot of attention as “super food (nutrition-rich, low-calorie whole food)” second only to Assai palm.
When you cut the fruit in half, it comes in different colors: crimson, pink, and white.  Especially white flesh has a high sugar content.
When you suffer from sweltering summer heat, the moderate sweetness and juiciness of dragon fruits can supply you good energy.

You can eat it in various ways: served cold, jelly, juice, smoothie, etc.  It is our youngest daughter’s favorite fruit.  She bites like a bug, getting her hands and mouth dirty in red. 

In Japan, dragon fruits are mostly eaten as a fruit; however, cactus mesophyll and buds can be all eaten.
Recently in Okinawa, dragon fruit buds are found at markets.  You can stir-fry them simply, boil them quickly, or deep-fry them in batter.  With a texture like bamboo shoots and a taste like artichoke, they go well with olive oil and salt.

Following the last article on “Mango,” we would like to introduce you a raw cake* made by Ms. Naomi Nishijima, the owner of café ionce, using vivid-colored dragon fruits.

*raw cake: a cake made with no sugar, egg, and dairy and without baking in the oven

Firstly, make the crust.  To make the color of dragon fruits show up on the crust, add raw cacao powder to the crust ingredients to create a little dark-colored one.

For the filling, blend finely ground raw cashews, finely ground raw macadamia nuts, water, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt until just combined. The rich taste is irresistible!

If you place slices of dragon fruits on white filling, the colors of dragon fruits run.  So you have to use a dehydrator to extract water from the fruit.  It is fantastic of her to take an extra effort in the pursuit of beauty.   

Looking at the colors of cacao dark brown and deep vivid red dragon fruits, you can’t help but sigh.
This is a good combination of bitter cacao, dehydrated dragon fruits, and rich-tasting filling.
Now the sweets that you can enjoy beautiful colors and great flavor is ready!

Naomi-san has a playful imagination.
Even while making, she might have new images coming up one after another.

“Shall I make another one?”
As she said it, she mixed the standard filling with dragon fruits to make pink cream, with which she skillfully drew on the cake. 

Look at pretty pink marble pattern and scattered dragon fruit cubes.

The almond-flavored crust, juicy, a little-sweet dragon fruit, rich-tasting filling give you a puffy palate feeling and a refreshing feeling and melt in your mouth like iced cream.  

Even more than tasting, the raw cake is so beautiful that I feel like I am looking at a painting.

Please visit café ionca to enjoy a raw cake! 

Raw Dragon Fruit Cake (Yield: One 6” cake)
  *This recipe is for those who do not have a dehydrator.

(Ingredients)

For the Crust:
*Raw almond  75g
(Soak them in water for more than 8 hours, drain and dry them completely.)
* Dried dates 50g
* Finely grounded coconuts  35g
* 2/3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

For the Filling:
* Raw cashews  90g (Soak them in water for more than 2 hours.)
* Raw macadamia nuts  10g (Soak them in water for more than 2 hours.)
* Water  40cc
* 1Tbsp maple syrup
* 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
* A pinch of salt

1/3 Dragon Fruit (red flesh / A dried one is preferable.)

【Preparation】

1. Make the crust.  In a food processor, blend all the ingredients until just combined.
2. Stop the food processor to check with your fingers to make sure that the ingredients stick to each other.
    Please be careful that if you mix it too much, the ingredients become icky.  
3. Press the crust 2. into the prepared tart mold.
4. Make the filling.   Pour the ingredients into a blender and mix them until creamy.
5. Pour and spread the mixture 4. onto the crust base 3..
6. Slice dragon fruit thinly into rings.
7. Decorate the cake with sliced dragon fruits 5. to make them look like flower petals.
8. Chill it in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.  

I used to avoid sweets, but since I started living in the southern land, I have been fascinated by the world of enchanting fruits, which offers us sweetness that our body needs.  
When I discover something new in my exploration of fruits, I will surely let you know.

Recipe was provided by Ms. Naomi Nishijima 

café ionca
Address: 208 Kouchi, Nishihara Town, Nakagami County
TEL: 098‐943‐3434
Hours: 11:00 to 16:00
Closed from Sunday to Wednesday
Website: http://www.cafe-ionca.com/

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer monobox (Tetsumasa & Kozue Kono)

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