February 06, 2024
FRUIT SALAD AN INDIAN STREET FOOD? Heck yes! Chaat or small plates are a category of Indian dishes sold on the streets by vendors who are often renowned for their flavor combinations and personal spice blends. There's the pani puri walla, the omelette and parantha guy, the bhel puri walla and on and on. And then there are the ones that assemble fruit chaat. Slice and diced fruit expertly combined with lime juice, black salt, and some heat and then mixed together in a bowl topped with a plate. Shake, shake, shake. Everything mixes so well with that flat plate on top. It's then poured into a throw-away bowl made of paper or a leaf and served with a toothpick. It's the kala namak or black salt that makes it all so addictive combined with that tart lime juice. In our home, we make fruit chaat on the weekends when we want to clear out the fridge and need a healthy snack ahead of dinner. I usually use whatever fruit I have lying around - a half-eaten apple, a plum at the bottom of a fridge drawer, or cantelope that tastes bland on its own. In the photo above you'll see yellow guava that we found in the Indian grocery store but for some reason didn't eat fast enough. In it went into our fruit chaat! This flavor combo is especially delicious on fruit that isn't as sweet as it should have been - a kind of bland cantaloupe, papaya, or dragon fruit. Instead of throwing it out or worse, letting it sit in the fridge until it goes bad, use it up this way! I've also started to use tiny key limes in my chaat, which has ramped up the flavor tenfold. It's so easy and so addictive. For me, I love one main fruit like a melon or papaya, side bars like pear or apple, soft and sweet notes from a ripe banana, and crunchy nuggets of goodness from a pomegranate. Eat it as a snack or as my in-laws always did - as a dessert after a meal instead of all the high-calorie stuff. xoxo Anupy
3-4 cups fruit (diced cantaloup, papaya, apples, pear, banana, grapes, kiwi, dragonfruit, pomegranate - literally anything)
1 teaspoon kala namak, black salt
juice of 1 lime or lemon or several key limes
pinch, regular salt
pinch, red chile powder or cayenne
Add all ingredients to a deep bowl and stir or do as the street vendors do and fit a plate on top and shake. Eat immediately. It can also keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, but not much more because of the lime juice.
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