We saw some of the new fruits I tasted here, in India, as part of my Life List. The aim is to taste at least a 100 new ones.
We inch closer to the goal, thanks to my trip to Singapore, earlier this month. Read on:
Durian is considered the King of fruits in Singapore, so when I was in the country recently, I had to try some. Now, it is interesting to note that despite the fruit being loved by all Singaporeans (so much that they hold durian-eating festivals), you’re likely to crinkle up your nose upon getting close to one. Yes, the fruit stinks – and unbearably so. In fact, the Singapore law disallows anyone from carrying durian in busses and trains for people have known to faint from the overwhelming stench of the fruit.
I decided to be brave and took along a local friend, Weizhong, to buy (my Indian friend Vikas and I) one durian. It cost about SGD 20. Weizhong is one of the durian-loving citizens and was extremely happy to introduce me to his favourite fruit. When I voiced my apprehension at being able to finish the fruit, he grinned and promised that he would never let the fruit go waste.
Durian resembles a jackfruit, only it is much smaller than the latter. The pokey rind and the edible yellow flesh inside with a large seed, are similar in nature. The fruit-seller cut open a durian for us with his gloved hands andwe found ourselves a table at the hawker centre. Warily, I felt the flesh for texture and decided then itself that it was going to take a lot of will power to actually taste it – for it felt oddly (weirdly, even) soft and creamy in my hands.
(A short, 1 minute video of my friends enjoying durian)
Then comes the part where I tore a bit of the flesh and held is close to my nose. It is a miracle that I did not faint. No, really. It was an assault on my olfactive senses. The first smell to hit me was that of strong garlic (though Weizhong insists it’s not possible). The following was of erm, well, pee. (This, Weizhong totally agreed with.) I am a good contender for a bravery award, for I proceeded to let a tiniest bit of flesh into my mouth. It was SO bad! The texture, smell and taste together was too much for me to handle and I pushed the fruit toward Weizhong. He said my reaction to the fruit was not surprising as most Westerners and many locals cannot bear the fruit either. Vikas though, claimed to have liked it and ate a bit.
The one I had tasted, Weizhong said while savouring the durian, was of the sweet kind. Maybe I’d like to taste the bitter one? Not a chance in hell, I say!
But let me not deter you from trying some durian if you have an opportunity. Maybe you’d like to carry along some perfume!
I’ve tasted 4 exotic fruits, and we have 96 more to go!
Check out my post on other three fruits here.
Tell me if this is true for you, or am I the only one feeling embarrassed about it
So we’ve decided to get healthy? Yes.
The Ayurveda way? Yes
Help at hand: The book ‘9 to 5 Yogi’ by Shubhra Krishan.
Build: Slim (Bony, even?) Age: 24 years
Weight: 46 kg Weakness: Muscles, strength
Dosha: Vatta-Pitta (It’s OK if you don’t get these terms yet.)
Height: Well, that’s not gonna change, so never mind.
I’m going to track my journey of becoming fit. The goals for now are to put on 7 kg, be fit enough to take karate lessons/go on overnight treks and begin running regularly.
Here’s the goal, visually:
On day 1 (Oct 1, 2011) Here’s what I did, pottering about in the kitchen, before breakfast:
I warmed a glass of water and poured it on 1 spoonful of lemon juice. The water needn’t be hot, warm will do. My mum says I could’ve added sugar in it too. So if you find only lemon + water bad, taste-wise, go ahead with the sugar, or honey.
Next, I took a large apple. Got my mum to peel it and then chopped them into medium-sized pieces. I put about 1/4 glass of water in a saucepan and put it on the flame. If you don’t have a saucepan, it’s advisable to take a pan with a broad bottom, as the quantity of water is anyway less, and the apple pieces, more. I let the water heat for 2 minutes and then pushed the apple off the chopping board, into the saucepan. Tossed in 2 cloves. Put a light lid on it (a dish that’s larger than the mouth of the pan) and let it cook for 10 minutes. Eat them warm.
Now, for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy sweet stuff too much, stewed apples are great. The sweetness was perfectly likeable and pieces weren’t crunchy. That’s again how I’d like all my fruits to be. And 10 minutes doesn’t make them soggy either. If you’d like them to be sweeter, you could sprinkle some powdered (or otherwise) sugar on them. Or maybe substitute sugar with glucose powder.
One of these days, I’m going to try stewing pears too.
My Ayurveda book says it’s advisable to eat breakfast about 30 minutes after having stewed fruits. So I spend that time in preparing Almond Honey milk.
Almond Honey Milk
I had soaked 10 almonds overnight in clean water. I peeled all of them. That alone took quite a few minutes! By the end of my session, I realised that there’s a trick in peeling almonds, which I cannot explain here, and you’ll have to discover yourself. For now, remember that if you’re spending more than 20-25 seconds on one almond, it means you haven’t discovered the trick yet!
So anyway, I put the almonds and 1/2 a spoonful of pre-powdered cardamom in the mixer/blender. (It’s alright if you don’t have the cardamom powdered, becasue well, it’ll get powered anyway.) I open the lid to find the almond’s a bit grainy, and that’s fine for me.
Warm a glass of milk, add the powder and THEN add 3 spoonfuls of honey. I add honey later as my book specifies that heating honey makes it to lose it’s qualities. So remember to heat the milk separately, without honey.
I stirred the milk well, sipped it slowly, and thought it turned out great.
I was meaning to make some spiced water next, but I had already spent more time in the kitchen than I would like to disclose here. And then my mum sort of shoo-ed me out of “her” kitchen because the maid arrived to scrub the vessels and mum said I was being an interference in the kitchen.
So that was all for the morning
Tomorrow, I’ll take pictures.