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The longan fruit (botanical name euphoria langana), also known as Euphoria fruit, is a fragrant, succulent and sweet fruit, that is easy to eat. It only has a single seed that is black in color. When the longans are fresh, they have a leathery light brown skin, which changes its color to dark brown due to age or changes in the environment. This fruit is very popular in China and is known by its local name pinyin, which means 'dragon eye' because the place where the pit or seed is located resembles an eye. Longan also grows in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. The fruit season is between mid and late summer and is harvested immediately after lichee. The longan tree yields fruits in clusters, twice a year i.e. end of the dry season and during late summer.

Longan Fruit Nutritional Value

Longan is usually eaten fresh and it is a highly nutritious fruit. Given below is the information on nutritional value of the fruit. The calories in a single serving of longan per 100 g is 60 kJ.

NutrientsValue per 100g
Protein1.31 g
Fat (Lipid)0.10 g
Carbohydrates15.15 g
Magnesium10 g
Potassium266 g
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)65 g
Iron0.13 g
Riboflavin0.150 g
Niacin0.300 g

Recipes Using Longan Fruit

Though longan is frequently eaten fresh or canned, it can also be cooked. The longan is used in fruit salads, as a garnish in cocktails or in sweet and sour dishes. The Chinese people dry the fruit and use it in teas.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Longan

Ingredients
  • 10 ounce boneless chicken breast
  • 1 can longans, drained and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sweet soy sauce
Preparation

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, soy sauce and salt and combine them thoroughly with a wooden spoon and keep it aside. For sauce, combine all the ingredients in a separate bowl. Cut the chicken breast into small pieces or as desired. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and let the chicken remain in the mixture for about half an hour. Soak the fruit in salted water for about 15 minutes. Now drain the water and slice the fruit into halves. In a saucepan pour two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and transfer the chicken pieces and cook them till they become tender. Now add the diced pepper, sauce and longan and stir for about 2 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick. Transfer the contents into a bowl and serve it with jasmine rice.

Almond Velvet with Longan

Ingredients
  • 1 can longan
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cans mandarin oranges
  • 1 can lichee
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
Preparation

In a medium-sized bowl mix the gelatin with half cup of water. In a saucepan, boil the 2½ cups of water with 1 cup evaporated milk and granulated sugar. Add the gelatin and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the stove and transfer the contents into a medium-sized pan. Add almond extract to the mixture and cool it in the refrigerator till the gelatin becomes firm. Cut the chilled gelatin mixture into cubes and transfer them into a serving plate. Transfer the canned orange and lichee into a bowl and add the fruit with syrup. Transfer the fruits into the serving plate containing almond velvet cubes and combine well.

Longan and Red Date Soup

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried Chinese longan flesh
  • 1 cup dried Chinese red dates
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ cup Chinese rock sugar
Preparation

In a saucepan, mix the longan and red dates with water and cook till the water starts to boil. Add the rock sugar and cook for about half an hour more, till the mixture gets the consistency of a coup. You can serve it hot or refrigerate it and serve.

Health Benefits of Longan
  • Longan stimulates the proper functioning of the heart and spleen and improves blood flow in the body.
  • It can be used as an anti-depressant as it has a soothing effect on the nervous system.
  • A decoction of the dried flesh of the fruit is used as a tonic to cure insomnia
  • The kernel of the seeds has certain beneficial ingredients like saponin, tannin and fat which help in constricting the flow of blood in case of an injury.
According to an ancient belief in Vietnam, the seed of the longan, when pressed against snakebite is believed to act as anti-venom. This fruit has many beneficial values and is quite popular among the people of China and Thailand.