Carpe Fruitum This Summer!
It's sunny, sultry summer time, the time when the months of May, June and July roll by, bringing with them a large variety of vibrant tropical and sub-tropical fruits. Who doesn't love skinning a favorite fruit and sinking their teeth into the flesh?!
According to an ancient Eastern proverb, three things in life are so important that they should only be shared with the ones you love: a bed, a prayer mat, and a mango. Mango, the most popular fruit tree in the country, has about 3,000 varieties both in cultivation and in wild the most dear to our hearts being the heemshagors, langras and fozlees. Apart from tidbits you can make with kaacha aams like aachar, aamshotto and morobbas, a typical Bangla way to enjoy a ripe mango is to mash the pulp up with doodh-bhaat…yummy!...and yes, licking the fingers is an added bonus! Tk. 80 per kg is the going rate for mangoes at the local fruit shops.
It's green, it's prickly, it's oh so yummy. The kathaal or jackfruit has a pungent odour, which a lot of people can't stomach pun intended! but how can you deny the taste?! Whether you love its yellow flesh to be firm or squishy, the mango-cum-banana taste is simply awesome! Plus you can boil the seeds in salted water, or put them in a curry...those taste like boiled, salted peanuts…another lip-smacking treat. Jackfruits are available for Tk. 50-80 per piece.
Anarosh or pineapples are another prickly and yellow bunch from our family of summer fruits. But with a lil pinch of salt it tastes heavenly! The more scars and spikes an anarosh has, the more tropical the taste! The adage 'don't judge a book by its cover' certainly works here. And nothing tastes more sublime than a tall, cool glass of pineapple juice. These…ahem…beauties are available for Tk. 20-30 per piece.
What's the correct way to eat a lychee? As fast as possible so that you can move on to the next one! Lychees or lichus are succulent, refreshing and ready. Originally from the 'Middle Kingdom' (they've been grown in the southern regions of China for over 4,000 years), they're high in vitamin 'C' (five grape-sized fruit are enough for your daily needs) and also natural sugars. If you don't plan to eat all of your lichus within the next several days, freeze them. Frozen lichus taste like fine, delicious sorbet. Lychees are sold in bunches of hundreds for Tk. 250-300.
Known universally as the 'queen of fruits' or the 'fruit of the gods', the white, moist, soft and juicy flesh of the mangosteen or taal is sweet-n-tart, aromatic, and tastes incredible. Rich in antioxidants known as xanthones, magosteens are purported to have many health benefits. These fruits are available for Tk. 15-30 per piece.
Wild about Watermelons
Taste the summer, pink and sweet! Yes, I'm referring to the heavyweights of the fruit world, the watermelon or tormuj…the deep pink flesh of this vegetable (yes vegetable..it's related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash!) is a beckoning to your taste buds in itself. Cool, cool tormuj slices or cubes, straight from the fridge taste simply divine. It's an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and has an abundance of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight such diseases as cancer and heart disease. Watermelons are sold for Tk. 60-70 per piece.
The black berry or jam is a summer favorite with many. And why not? The sweet, tangy flesh in the color of royal purple is awesome. And the bhorta made with this fruit is a must-have! Add a lil bit o' kaacha moreech and a pinch of salt and sugar and mash it all up and you're ready to indulge! Jaam is sold at the local fruit stalls for Tk. 50-60 per kg.
Oh do note…I mentioned all the seasonal prices…so don't blame me if you're slapped with prices that sound exorbitant at the shops! And prices also vary with the sizes of these beauties. Anyways…happy munching!
By Simin Saifuddin
Photo: Munem Wasif
In our April 4 issue there was a story on page 6 about a French design technique. Decoupage is the art of applying paper onto virtually any decorative surface. You can decoupage an egg, glue prints under clear glass or a even create unique decoupage furniture. We inadvertently misspelled the name of the technique.