Knowing my love for food and stories about food, I recently received ” Climbimg the mango trees “, by Madhur Jaffrey , from my children. Going through the pages of the book took me back to my childhood days.
Many a summer afternoon has been spent sitting on the branches of our Guava trees. It was siesta time after lunch. With the elders fast asleep, we kids sneaked out as soon as we felt it was safe to do so. We were left ‘ unsupervised’, and made very good use of this time doing things that would otherwise put one in trouble. A little packet of ‘Chaat masala’ tucked carefully in the dress pocket, and a romantic novel would be our companion. The property had four Guava trees. To tackle our constant complaining and sibling rivalry , Ma had allocated one Guava tree to each of us. We had our territories charted. The forks in the branches were now occupied, enough fruits for each one of us.
All went well, until we had company. They came in flocks. about fifteen of them together. The timing would be perfect, just when the Guavas were starting to mature. Not stone hard, neither mushy ripe. Very loud and chirpy, they spoke “parrotese”. One foot securing the branch , the other holding the guava. The very sharp red beaks digging into the flesh, the round eyes moving swiftly from side to side, looking out for predators. Unless shooed away they would finish the crop.
I found some guavas individually wrapped in the ‘Exotic’ fruit section of my local grocery store. There were a few other fruits left in the fruit bowl at home, that demanded immediate attention. I assembled a fruit chaat .
I sat in the patio and enjoyed the Chaat. Finally the snow is all gone. The sight of the crocuses popping up from ground, the sounds of the birds and geese, the smell of the first rain hitting the dry earth carries a magic that only spring brings. The long days with blue skies have made us forget and forgive the six harsh months of winter.
I’d like to hear from you friends. Is there any particular food that you wait for in spring?
Apple Two, cut in small cubes.
Oranges Two, skinned, cut in bite size pieces.
Guavas Two, deseeded if you prefer, cut in small cubes.
Walnuts One tbsp
For the dressing,
Honey 2 tsps.
Lemon juice 1 tsps
Cumin seed powder 1 tsps, roasted and freshly ground.
Chilli powder 1 tsps, use your discretion.
Salt To taste
Cilantro 1 tsps. Finely chopped.
Sprinkle the dressing on the cut fruits. Add the walnut pieces. Adjust to your taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Serve chilled.