One of the nicest things about living in a tropical country like India, is the wide variety of seasonal fruits that come into the market month after month. I love my occassional visit to the wholesale fruit market, where one can buy crates of seasonal fruit, and spend the next days binging on fruit salads, desserts – besides sending out thoughtful fruit hampers to people you know!
Usually associated with being healthy snack, or a great ingredient in a dessert, fruits also help convert a regular savoury dish into an exotic, flavour packed, gourmet revelation. The popular Hawaiian pizza is just the tip of the iceberg - here are a few of my favourite ways to include fruit in my recipe!
Adding a fruit to a salad creates the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and helps bring out the crunch and texture that a great salad should have. Apples are famously included in a waldorf salad, fresh or dried berries work well with crunchy leaves, melons combine beautifully with salty cheese.Just chop up the fruit that you love, toss it into the salad and dress it as usual – and there you have it!
The next time you make a sauce or gravy, try adding some fruit while the stock simmers. Replace tomatoes with mangoes while making a gravy, and use spices like chilli and ginger to complement the sweetness of the mango, and you’ve got yourself a winner! Or try a sauce with onions and raisins, or dried fruit in a butter sauce!
A salsa is usually made with chopped tomatoes, chilli, jalapenos and coriander, sometimes with a swig of vinegar or lime juice. Substitute the tomatoes for mushed up mangoes or diced pineapple,and allow the flavours to rest in the fridge for a few hours for the perfect accompaniment with those crunchy nachos!
I have eaten a wonderful curry with raw jackfruit while on a holiday in coastal Maharastra, and I also have an annual jackfruit curry at home ever since, where I use raw, chopped jackfruit as my main ingredient. Simply chop up the insides of the raw jackfruit, with seeds and fibre and all, boil in some salted water, and then use it in a curry, quite similar to a potato curry.
And one favourite roadside snack is gresh ripe guava cut and sprinkled with salt and chilli powder!It wasn;t a big surprise then, when it tasted just as fantastic when cooked up like a stir fry, with some onions, ginger and green chillies!
Recipe: Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad
What you need:
Half a watermelon, diced or cut into strips
Mixed handful of basil and mint leaves, chopped
Sliced black olives
Half a red onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Soak the onions in the vinegar, and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour so that the onions are pickled.
Spread out the watermelon on the plate. Sprinkle the olives, herbs and pickled onions over the watermelon. Notice that I haven’t added any salt as I think the vinegar and the feta provide enough
saltiness to the dish.
Sprinkle the feta cheese over the plate, and store in the fridge until it is time to serve. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.
Written bySurabhi Ganguly
Surabhi, is an engineer turned food professional, who quit a decade-long corporate career to set up her own venture, Slyly Simple Gourmet Kitchen. Surabhi loves travel and exploring new cultures, and wherever she goes, she brings back a food memory that influences her cooking. Her unusual and easy recipes use unique ingredient combinations and strong, distinct flavours.