vacation inspiration

At last, we stuck to the prescribed ingredient this week: Passion Fruit. This fruit has a yellow jelly-like pulp and big edible seeds. It’s very tangy—almost not sweet at all–which allows it to pair well with ingredients both sweet and savory. My introduction to passion fruit was at one of Miami’s gems, El Palacio De Los Jugos. As it’s name suggests, this open air Cuban fruit and food market is literally a “juice palace” where you can mix up myriad combinations of tropical juices. From more exotic flavors like mamey and guanabana, to more conventional mixers like pineapple and coconut, the possibilities are endless. A few years ago, I tried a combo of mango and maracuyá (<– passion fruit en español). Instantly, I was hooked. The tang of the passion fruit cut right through the sweetness of the mango in a way that worked so deliciously well. I’ve never ordered a different juice there since.


Passion fruit certainly shines in sweet and refreshing drink form, but for this challenge, I wanted to embrace it’s warm and savory side. I was inspired by a dish I had in Aguas Calientes, Peru, the small tourist-teeming town at the foot of Machu Picchu. This September, I had the great privilege to travel there with my dad and friends from school. The night before we trekked around the ruins we had a dinner that I’ll never forget, for the great food, but moreover, for the wonderful company. After spending many months planning for our trip to Machu Picchu and many years prior to that pining for the chance to go there, it was surreal and special to be there at last, surrounded by family and friends.


That night I dined on trout with a passion fruit sauce. The passion fruit served the zesty role that a squeeze of lemon or lime would traditionally do, but the sauce had a bit of sweetness that a sugar-lover like me adored. I created my own version of this sauce, utilizing the convenience of frozen passion fruit pulp instead of the whole fruit itself, and livening it up with ginger, curry, lime, sriracha, and fresh mint. We ate it atop salmon with a quinoa and avocado salad, an homage to our dinner in Peru, and it certainly brought some gourmet flair to an otherwise ordinary weeknight. We proceeded to eat the leftover sauce throughout the week with shrimp and as a salad dressing, so if fish isn’t your thing, this sauce can still find a place alongside whatever strikes your fancy. Now, if only this dinner could transport me back…


Passion Fruit Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1 package (14 oz) frozen passion fruit pulp

generous squirt of sriracha

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp honey

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Saute chopped onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, curry powder, cumin, and salt and cook another minute. Add frozen fruit pulp and cook, stirring often, until it defrosts. Add sriracha, sugar, honey, and lime. Taste for extra seasoning. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree until smooth. Add mint. Serve atop fish, vegetables, tofu, salad—whatever you’d like! Keeps well covered in the fridge for up to one week.

One thought on “vacation inspiration

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s