Treat me: Chocolate ginger lychees

When I was about 11 or 12 one of my favourite cookbooks was The Australian Women’s Weekly Chinese Cooking Cookbook. I don’t ever remember my mother cooking anything out of it, but we did eat out at Chinese restaurants and I based my whole understanding of the menu at Chopsticks and Hoo Wah on what was on offer in that book.
It was probably quite sophisticated for the time and it had all the information I craved on how to make curly spring onions and deep-fried ice-cream balls. None of which I can remember now, of course, but one image from the book has stayed with me. The star of the dessert section, apart from the aforementioned deep-fried ice-cream, was the chocolate-dipped lychees. Some 25 years later, I have finally made them. And boy, were they worth the wait.

Chocolate ginger lychees
These couldn’t be simpler – or more delicious. The only thing you need to be careful about is draining the lychees really well. Handle them with care – dry them with kitchen paper like you’re handling a baby after a bath – and you’re away. Quantities are slightly approximate because some tins of lychees contain more than others. I’m sure you won’t be too stuck for ideas if you’re left with lychees, ginger or chocolate left over.
As well as being the ultimate trip down memory lane for me, this recipe is also perfect for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge. The February We Should Cocoa is being hosted by Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes, who has chosen ginger as the special guest ingredient.

1 x 450g tin lychees in light syrup
20 small nuggets of crystallised ginger
200g good quality dark chocolate, at least 60 per cent cocoa solids

Drain the lychees in a sieve, then dry carefully with kitchen paper. Leave them upside down on more kitchen paper to dry out while you melt the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate over gentle heat – in a double boiler arrangement is probably safest. Line a tray with baking paper.
Insert a piece of ginger into each lychee. Using a fork, a skewer or a dipping spoon, carefully drop each stuffed lychee into the chocolate and roll it around to coat. Remove from the chocolate and place on the lined tray. Repeat until all the lychees are coated.
Put the dipped lychees in the fridge to set firm, then transfer to a lidded container. Store in the fridge. They’re also good straight from the freezer – it’s like having a chocolate-ginger-lychee sorbet. Makes about 18.

Have a great weekend, everyone x



  1. February 21, 2013 / 6:57 am

    I remember that cookbook and loved it as well. I did in fact con my mother into letting me make the icecream balls. A bit fatty and not as exciting as they looked as I remember, of course I had limited cooking skills at 12.

    You should make them now!!

    Julie Q

  2. February 21, 2013 / 7:53 pm

    My favourite childhood book was an Usborne Cook Book for Children- it had cartoon little people showing you what to do- I still rifle through it everytime I pop home to my parents for the ultimate trip down memory lane! Have a lovely weekend too x

  3. February 21, 2013 / 10:24 pm

    i remember deep fried ice cream on the menu of our local (and only) chinese restaurant where we would go as a family occasionally. but i remember more the red flocked wallpaper. my brother and i used to fight over who could sit next to the wall (we probably had to take turns) as it was endlessly fascinating.

  4. February 21, 2013 / 10:40 pm

    Well that's a flavour combination I've never come across. It sounds really good.

  5. February 22, 2013 / 8:51 am

    That book was worshipped in our house too. I remember my sister and I cooking up 'banquets' to attempt to replicate the local takeaway…lemon chicken was our favourite.

  6. Anonymous
    February 22, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    What a fantastic, tasty, simple idea.

  7. February 23, 2013 / 1:48 pm

    I adore lychees, but do you think I can get them in this frozen rural backwater? No! I must dream on them instead. What a simple and tasty way to enjoy them!

  8. February 23, 2013 / 6:48 pm

    I have never thought of coating lychee with chocolate! What an innovative idea!

  9. February 23, 2013 / 9:18 pm

    Ooh yum, a new twist on chocolate and ginger. Lychees may be our most underrated tinned fruit 🙂

  10. February 24, 2013 / 12:57 am

    I love lychees. I love crystallised ginger. I love chocolate. Why has it never occurred to me how heavenly they would be together? And I even had that book way back in the day too, so I can't think how this escaped my notice. Funnily enough, the Australian Women's Weekly Thai Cooking book still graces my shelves, and there are a couple of dishes I still make from it often.

  11. February 26, 2013 / 11:26 am

    These look wonderful, I don't think I've tried lychees before. Thanks for entering into We Should cocoa

  12. February 26, 2013 / 2:34 pm

    Saw these in the We Should Cocoa round up, and they look and sound absolutely divine! Must try. 🙂

  13. February 26, 2013 / 9:33 pm

    These sound lovely. I love lychees, ginger and chocolate, so this has to be a winner!

  14. February 26, 2013 / 9:39 pm

    Trust you to go for something so totally off the wall, but oh so totally delicious. I would never in a million years have thought of coating lychees in chocolate – why am I so conventional. Great We Should Cocoa entry, thank you.

    I'm hoping you're still up for next month?

  15. Anonymous
    April 18, 2015 / 9:56 pm

    Hi Lucy'
    I am about to make these have not done so for years. The original AWW recipe calls for a combination of kremelta
    and chocolate if I use good quality chocolate can I forget the kremelta … not sure it is even still available,
    Thanks very much

    • April 20, 2015 / 8:39 am

      Hi Marnie, I am sure you can make them without kremelta (I'm not sure if you can still buy it now either, I must have a look). All it will do is thin the chocolate down a bit – if you want to do that I would add a tiny bit of coconut oil in its place. Probably any oil will do, actually. Good luck!

  16. Mala
    November 28, 2017 / 10:23 am

    I still have the book with great recipes. These at fab and do easy to make.

  17. Christina
    March 10, 2023 / 3:11 pm

    It is now ‘23 & as I’ve packed my house for moving next week I was looking for the litchi balls I used to make – met the recipe & also ice cream balls in a friends WW recipe book in the 1980’s. Made it many many times, but also steeped the litchis in my homemade litchi liquor for extra kick & placed it on a shortbread biscuit before covering with chocolate.
    Ice cream ball adaptations are another story, suffice to say I made them once adding chilli sauce from a friend’s fridge, only to taste once served, that it was a chilli-garlic sauce!! Fortunately by then we already were filled with good food and drink.
    What a memory you just served me!!

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