It has taken me a little longer to get around to posting again since returning from my trip to India. This trip was a little different from the usual family holidays… an all girls road trip from Delhi to Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur! We squeezed so much in with lots of sightseeing and visited some truly amazing and memorable places, like the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Askshardham Temple and City Palaces, words to describe what you see visually I will leave to the writers and poets of the world! The other side of the coin is that there are families and people in living conditions and surroundings that are less than basic and at times left you feeling a heavy sense of sadness…!
Indian food was on the menu every evening and we had some delicious dining experiences, the most memorable was at the Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur where most of us ate the Rajasthani thali, sampling a variety of dishes from the region. Choosing more wisely at breakfast each morning, I ate some of my favourite fruits, papaya, bananas and pineapple. So, it seems fitting to include a very simple recipe and easy my way back into posting… with a little spice!
Fruit Chaat is a very popular street food in India, fresh fruit served with a mix of spices called chaat masala, giving the fruit a sweet, sour and spicy taste. Chaat masala is also used in salads like this easy cucumber salad and some savoury dishes like Aloo chaat, a savoury potato dish.
There are many recipes for chaat masala and the only ingredient I could not find was mango powder (amchoor) as it was out of stock, so I bought some dried pomegranate seeds instead. The packaged version of chaat masala contained black salt (kala namak) which gave a very sulfurous eggy taste to this spice mix and was not something I liked with the fruit. However, this post on black salt may change my mind, when I get around to trying some with fried potatoes! Fruit chaat could be served as a light starter before an Indian dish like Dal Makhani, a very popular lentil dish.
With a little experimenting I wanted a simpler version of this spice blend, the packet version had 19 ingredients! Lulu hypermarkets in Bahrain stock a range of spice mixes and of course not forgetting the spices from the Manama souk. If chaat masala seems a little much to start sprinkling over your fruit, try mixing a little black pepper with some chilli powder or just keep it plain and simple… lime juice and fresh mint.
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds
- 2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds or cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ajowan seeds
- a pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground Kashmiri chilli
for the fruit salad
- 1 papaya, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 pineapple, skin removed and cut into pieces
- 3 bananas, peeled and sliced
- 4 small limes, juiced (more to taste)
- a handful of chopped fresh mint leaves
How to make: Use a pestle and mortar and ground together the black peppercorns, dried pomegranate seeds, coriander seeds or cumin, ajowan seeds and a pinch of Himalayan or sea salt into a fine powder, mix in the Kashmiri chilli. Store the spice mix in a small container until needed.
Place the prepared fruit into a bowl, pour over the lime juice and add the mint, gently mix until combined. Place into a serving bowl or individual dishes and scatter over some chaat masala. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: The papaya and pineapple can be prepared in advance but leave the bananas before serving as they discolor quickly when sliced.