I was shopping for groceries at Trader Joe's this past weekend and started getting a bit hungry. So I made my way to their demo area and sampled a rice dish that they were offering. But what truly caught my eye was a platter of red, ripe lychee fruit. Jackpot!
What's a lychee (aka litchi) you ask? Well, it's a fruit that I was first introduced when I was a little kid visiting my relatives in Thailand. It's red, ovular, and about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. It's covered by a thin, leathery skin which you peel to reveal a white, fleshy fruit with a hard nut in the middle. And the taste - soooooo sweet. It's hard to describe the flavor of a fresh lychee, but I guess it's similar to a very sweet grape with tropical undertones.
I think that lychees are my favorite fruit. I don't see them fresh very often in San Francisco, so I usually have to satisfy my lychee cravings in other ways. At Marco Polo, their lychee gelato is too die for! And I can usually find canned lychees in syrup in Asian supermarkets which are great over crushed ice with a little bit of syrup from the can. Which leads me to my recipe for lychee martinis (by the way, 3660 on the Rise in Honolulu makes GREAT lychee martinis).
1 shotglass of syrup from a can of lychees
3 oz premium vodka
1 or 2 lychees
1) In a shaker, pour in the lychee syrup and vodka.
2) Add ice.
3) Shake and strain into a martini glass.
4) Garnish with lychee fruit.
Ed's 1st Note: I like to refrigerate the can of lychees so they are really cold for this recipe.
Ed's 2nd Note: Premium vodka makes a difference. I prefer Grey Goose or Ketel One.