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Jan 5, 2012

Rambutan Jam & Country Style Ribs

Is it rambutan season already? Gosh.
Some folks feel the years go by from the changes in weather. In this part of the world, we get that from the fruiting seasons. And I believe we get rambutans twice a year.

We have a huge old rambutan tree in the backyard that refuses to go away to rambutan heaven. When we first moved in, we saw that it could cause a bit of a problem safety-wise if it doesn't get chopped down. So we did just that.
Today, it's half its height but still bearing fruit, not the biggest and juiciest but still sweet and nice. And I believe it's trying to tell us that it's not ready to fold up it's branches by giving us a whole lot of fruit every year.
The squirrels are happy, the civet cats are happy, the birds are happy and most of all, my neighbors are happy. After making everyone happy, I still have a ton of fruit left. There's only so much one can eat and I've given away sackfuls.
And so I do what I always do with too many fruits ... make jam.
Why not? They keep, they make good gifts, they taste great with everything, they're versatile (can be turned into marinades, cordials, sauces, ice cream...).

Strangely enough, eaten on its own, the rambutan tastes pretty good. But as a jam, it tastes just like plain ol' syrup (sugar and water with no flavorings). So I had to liven it up a tad and add some lemon juice. Magic!

This turned out better than I'd hope. Not a jam to be eaten with toast, altho I don't see why not ... just saying what my tastebuds are telling me.
And they're saying this loudly, "MOVE OVER, MINT JELLIES & APPLE SAUCES!"
It went super with our roast rack of lamb this last Christmas and before that, we had it with roasted country-style ribs. Absoverylutely yummerlicious!

The only tedious part of this process is peeling the flesh off the seeds.

I've also included the recipe for the Roasted Country-style ribs here using the brining method. This is a method to be talked about at length in another post (maybe). I've found the results rather satisfying and the process useful when it comes to roasting big chunks of meat (not steaks).


(feel free to double the amount)

3 cups peeled & seeded rambutans
juice of 1 large lemon
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar


Plonk rambutan flesh into a food processor. Buzz until you get a texture you're happy with. I made mine a little chunky as I like a bit of bite.
Put everything into a pot.
Cook on medium heat until all sugar has dissolved.
Lower heat and allow to simmer for about 15-20 mins or until it turns all gooey. (Sorry, I'm not one who uses a thermometer, poor neglected thing) or just do a cold plate test.
Do not allow sugar to caramelize.

(Country-style ribs refers to the meatiest variety of ribs)


2.5 - 3 kg rack of Country-style ribs (in this case, it's pork)
Dry English mustard
2 - 3 tbs molasses
brine solution (see below)


With a small, sharp pointy knife, stab the rack to death! Stab! Stab! Stab! (Watch for the bones tho, don't want to break your knife there).
Rub dry mustard and molasses all over rack. ( I didn't measure how much mustard I'd used but I'd estimate about an ounce or so, enough to coat the rack generously).
Leave in fridge for a couple of hours.

Prepare brine:
Mix together 1/4 cup kosher / coarse salt with 1 cup of water and dissolve over heat.
Leave to cool.
When cooled, mix solution with about 5 cups of cold water (more if needed, to cover meat completely)

Place seasoned meat in a large baggy/ non-reactive container and cover completely with brine. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or in my case, 4 hours.

We cooked this in the bbq, covered and on very low heat for 2 1/2 hours. Make sure the temperature at the center of the meat is at 71˚C otherwise it's not safe to eat. (This is pork, remember?)

*Okay: confession time. I don't know whether the brining process worked its magic on the rack this time since pork is already quite fatty and sweet and not prone to drying out too much. I'm just telling it as what we did (we had some fun tho .. all experimental), and whether the dry rub was necessary in this case.
I definitely will be trying this out on other meats and learning more about this process and will keep you informed.

FYI: a basic brine solution would be:

4 cups cool water
1/2 cup kosher salt / coarse salt
1/2 cup sugar

Since I had used molasses, I omitted the sugar in the solution.


  1. Never heard of rambutan jam before. You are so lucky to have fresh and cheap/free rambutans, even if ‘only’ twice a year.
    When I think of rambutans great taste comes to mind together with the real p in the a process of eating it. I can imagine the hard work that goes into making it, I think this gift would be quite appreciated by the lucky recipients.

  2. Man, you're fast! :D I tried googling for a guide to make this but couldn't find anything. So, I'm glad it turned out good... phew. And thank heavens the fruit is free! I won't feel so bad if I screwed up.

  3. Oooh, a recipe which involves stabbing! I absolutely have to try that - I love the idea of brining meats, too!

    And sheesh, the way you talked about topinambours and other local stuff I use? I envy you the fruit, oh how I do! This sort of thing I only ever see in the "fancy tropicals" section of the supermarket veg and fruit area, and they are usually miserably tired by the time they arrive here! Lychees (more popular) fare a bit better and I like those, but rambutans are something I'd tasted once or twice in my life and that is all - only proof that there are great things to eat everywhere in the world, and that they are wonderful and *different*! Yay for not getting bored with food!

    - Veronika

  4. What a gorgeous photo, Ping! How fabulous to have such amazing fruit at your disposal! I love to brine meat and both your ribs and jam must be spectacular...mmmmmmm.

  5. I fell in love with rambutan last summer in China, but I haven't had the jam form. Looks like an amazing recipe :)

  6. eattheroses: haha! Yeah, let out all those 'why-didn't-you-take-a-pic-of-me-in-my-lovely-black-gown' stress! :D
    I guess we'll always envy each other's whatevers. But that's what keeps things interesting, right?
    Btw, when you do get to eat rambutans, is the flesh still firm? Because when ours turn a little brown, the insides get a tad bit mushy and tastes a little winey as well, not good. My nieces and nephews in England and America have never seen fresh rambutans until they visited and was pretty surprised how they actually look when fresh, quite different from what they get there.

    Lizzy Do: Hey Lizzy! Thank you. They both turned out very good indeed. Thank goodness.

    Kiri W: Hello, Kiri. I did read that you had some dehydrated rambutans. Did you also have the fresh ones? As I've explained to Veronika above, it has to be all nice and red with little green spikes of hair to be tasting good. I'd hate to think people have a bad impression of the fruit just because they didn't know how it's suppose to be. Thanks much for coming by :D

  7. No ribs for me, but I can DEFINITELY eat that jam! YUM-ola! :D

  8. wow..this looks awesome..would love to have some..YUMMY YUMMY..


  9. What an incredible, appetising photo! Rambutan is one of these mysterious, beautiful fruits, always in the "exotic" section of supermarkets that I am always tempted to buy but never do it... so learning that it grows in you garden like crazy is very funny ;-)
    Inside it looks a bit like litchi, is the taste also similar? (I mean when it's raw, it costs even more than passionfruits here, so no chance to make a jam).
    The country style ribs sound delicious! I often marinate meet, but have never brined it... I shall experiment with your brine next time and see the difference.

  10. Rambutans are not something I have ever had, but I love the way they look! I can imagine they are very time consuming to work with, but the ribs sound fantastic.

  11. We have lychees in season, wonder if I can us it instead?

  12. Tiffany: Haha! Thanks.

    Aarthi: Thank you, Aarthi.

    Sissi: Thank you, Sissi. Rambutans taste a little bit like litchi but the texture is quite different. The flesh is firmer and has more bite. Personally, I prefer to eat litchi than rambutans as a fruit. Wow! I would never have thought they would be so expensive elsewhere but I guess being exotic ... yeah.

    Kristen: They look like sea urchins, don't they? :D The ribs turned out very well. Thanks!

    Veronica's Kitchen: I'm sure you can use lychees instead. I haven't tried making a jam out of them ... hmmm... maybe I should. Btw, did you get the tag for Bloggers Unplugged in the last post? Or was it the post before? I emailed you as well. Thanks.

  13. Ping-such an amazing exotic fruit, and as for the jam, I imagine it's divine! The country ribs are incredible...not on my diet, I'm sad to say...just gazing at the gorgeous photo any longer, and I will gain that pound I!

  14. You are very creative indeed, very special rambutan jam! Wish i can come over to taste this straight away..

  15. If I live up a 100 years, I will still learn something new from you, and that is you have to live longer than me. I have never heard off and tasted rambutan jam before. Some more eat with roasted country style ribs is Greek to me. Ya, I am very "Jakun' wan. They look very tempting though, can send some over or maybe I can collect some from you? (beh paiseh wan) hehehehe

  16. Elisabeth: Uh, hehe, sorry that you have to see this on your diet. See, I told you I'm hopeless at dieting. I salute you for being able to look at all the food blogs and still stick to it.

    Sonia: Thank you. It's not that difficult to make. I'm sure it'll be super easy for some one with your expertise.

    QPC: Live to more than 100 years old?! Good grief! No thank you. I think after about 80, you won't want to learn from me coz I'd be posting subjects about incontinence and food for people with no teeth :D

  17. I'm gonna go ahead and say that this looks amazing, although I have no idea what rambutans taste like - you're lucky to have such things in your backyard! They look a bit like lychees... are they anything similar to them? Beautiful photos for a, no doubt, delicious dish!

  18. I've never had of rambutan jam but your pictures sure want to make me try. :)

  19. ohhh.. i love rambutans... i had one (one, because they were quite expensive) in hawaii. it was scrumptious. too bad where i live, all the rambutans are imported, and by the time they get to the supermarkets here, the rambutans are all dried up and icky.

  20. Charles: Haha! Thanks. No, rambutans are not lke lychees, taste nor texture-wise. Maybe more like a longan but not as crispy.

    Baker Street: Thank you. I hope you'll be able to find some rambutans some day and try it out. It really goes well with meat.

    Amanda: I'm so happy you've had rambutans ... and liked them. I'm surprised so many people don't even know about the fruit. Luckily you had a good one and not get a bad first experience... that would have put you off for good.

  21. ooooh nice. love the fusion. Back home in singapore, our neighbour has a rambutan tree so we have an abundance of it. Curious how that would taste like in a jam, it looks brilliant!

  22. un plato exótico luce hermoso y delicioso,abrazos hugs,hugs y buen año.

  23. Shu Han: Thank you! Do make some to try. It's definitely a nice change from the usual condiments.

    Rosita Vargas: Hola. Muchas gracias y gracias por la visita. Abrazos para ti también! Feliz año nuevo!

  24. i've had rambutan before, but not in a jam. sounds pretty good, though!

  25. Homemade rambutan jam! This is extremely innovative to me! I like the idea.

  26. Shutterbug: Thanks.

    Zoe: Thanks, Zoe. I'm glad I tried it out. Turned out well.

  27. Rambutan is quite rare over here...mouthwatering photo.

  28. I can eat a whole tub of peeled rambutans.. and yes I don't like to share them. kekekeke.. However, I have not had it as a jam before. Hmm.. now I wonder can I add it to ice kacang? Have a good week!! huggss

  29. Those ribs look amazing! I have to try the brining/slow cooking thing!

  30. Angie's Recipes: Really? Funny how we take things for granted when there's an abundance of it. Thanks much for the visit.

    Chic & Gorgeous Treats: Hi Jo. Wow, that's a lot. I'm thinking a tub as in a bucket :D Hmm.... now that's a great idea, adding it to ice kacang. It would be a little like the sweetened attap seeds. Yes, I'll definitely try that. Will have to carry a bottle in my bag when I go to the ice kacang place ... hope I don't get shooed out of the shop :P

    PolaM: Thanks! Yes, do give it a go. I would love to know how it turns out.

  31. I love rambutan! Haven't heard of rambutan jam but I'm sure it is delicious! :)

    1. Hi Sheryl. Yes, it was delicious ... at least that's what the folks who cleaned out the whole bottle told me :D Thanks for the visit and the comment.

  32. Salute! Rambutan jam?? Good idea coz sometimes we do get a lot of rambutan.

  33. Oh ya. When my tree fruits, we can't eat them fast enough. This seemed the logical thing to do :-)

  34. hi Ping, my students did rambutan jam but we all hated the "spoilt/old/sourish" rambutan taste - how did you get rid of that? Loved your descriptions in the recipes. Keep "jamming"(?)

  35. Hi. Thanks for dropping by.
    Sorry you had to taste that. From what you described, the fruit you had could well be overripe. That's how they taste when they're overripe. Where are you based? Reason for asking is that you may not be getting these fruits in their optimum state by the time they get to your local grocers. Tip: refer to pic...the fruits should have 'hair' that isn't brown or black or dried up. And the flesh inside is firm.
    Hope you get to try again with some better fruits. Don't give up on it. It's good!