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Recipes with seasonal fruits and vegetables

India is blessed with all seasons like summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring. Each season lasts for about 2 to 3 months except we experience them quite differently as compared to other countries. Summers can be harsh in India, but we also get to relish the best mangoes in the world. Vegetables and fruits that are water-laden and light, like gourds, cucumber, jackfruit, melons, lychee, and lemons, are in abundance during summer. Similarly, with the rains lashing the country, the earth is filled with fruits and vegetables that are rich in anti-oxidant and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables like custard apple, apple, ladyfingers, beetroot, yam, etc. are beneficial. Winter brings varieties that warm the body and protect us from the cold, which can be quite bitter in many parts of our vast country. In this season, the goodness of oranges, green leafy vegetables, pointed gourd, radish, and garlic should be incorporated into your diet to keep your immunity up to weather the cold. Spring and autumn are comparatively smaller seasons. They last for about a month or so in India but that’s enough to help various fruits and vegetables thrive. Spring ushers in cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, and chikoo, while autumn sees pumpkin, corn, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, grapes, pomegranate, papaya, and berries.

Coming to Autumn or pre-winter, where we’re at now. There are so many ways to relish what’s in season. Don’t miss out on the season’s best. Enjoy these fruits and veggies with some delicious autumn recipes.

Beetroot drink

Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 per
Type: Drink

Ingredients:
Beetroot: 2 large
Apple: 1 large
Lemon: 2
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Clean, wash and peel the beetroots. Extract the juice of the vegetable.
  • Wash the apples and extract the juice of the apples too.
  • Mix the two juices.
  • Squeeze in the lemons. Add more if more tanginess is required.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix all the ingredients well and pour them in glasses with few cubes of ice.
  • Apart from being nourishing and rich in vitamins, this juice is detoxifying too.

Kantola Fritters

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Type: Snack

Ingredients:
Kantola: 250 grams
Onion: 1 small
Oil: to fry
Rice flour: ½ cup
Maida: 2-3 tbsps.
Suji: 2-3 tbsps.
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Salt: to taste
Chat Masala: to sprinkle
Mustard sauce to serve.

Method:

  • Chop the ends of the kantola. Slice the vegetable into thin roundels.
  • Thinly slice the onion too. Mix both the vegetable and add in some salt and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix in rice flour, maida, suji, red chilli powder, and some salt.
  • After 10 minutes, add the vegetables into the flour.
  • Mix it well. If the moisture of the vegetables is not enough to coat the flour well, sprinkle some water. Ensure the flour does not turn into a batter. It as to be dry.
  • Fry these fritters in hot oil till golden brown.
  • Sprinkle some chat masala over the fried fritters.
  • Serve the fritters hot with some mustard sauce.

Custard Apple Basundi

Cook time: 40 minutes + chilling time
Serve: 4 per
Type: Sweet

Ingredients:
Milk: 1 liter full cream
Custard apple: 4-5
Saffron: 0.5 grams
Cardamom powder: ½ tsp.
Sugar: ¼ cup (according to taste)
Chironji: 2 tbsps.

Method:

  • Pour the milk into a heavy bottom saucepan. Heat the milk.
  • Soak saffron in 3-4 tablespoons of milk.
  • Bring the milk to a boil and stir continuously. Simmer the flame and let the milk reduce.
  • The milk has to be continuously scrapped too from the sides of the pan. Let the milk reduce to a little more than ¼ its original quantity.
  • Add in the soaked saffron with the milk. Add in cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Add sugar according to taste.
  • Once it is rich, cream,y and thick enough, transfer the basundi to another dish. An earthen pot would be ideal. Let it cool completely.
  • Cut the custard apple remove the pulp. Mash the pulp well. Mashing separates the pulp from the seed. The pulp should measure ¾ cup.
  • After the basundi has cooled completely, add in the pulp of the fruit and mix well.
  • Add chironji and mix.
  • Serve chilled with some more chironji sprinkled on top.

Yam Stew

Cook time: 10 minutes
Serve: 4 per
Type: Sweet

Ingredients:
Yam: 500 grams
Black-eyed beans: ½ cup
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp.
Salt to taste

For Grinding:
Coconut: ½ cup
Green chillies: 2
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.

For tempering:
Coconut oil: 2 tbsps.
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds: ½ tsp.
Asafoetida: ½ tsp.
Curry leaves: 1 spring

Method:

  • Wash, peel and cut yam into small bits.
  • Soak black-eyed beans for about 20 minutes in warm water.
  • In a pressure cooker add in both the yam and the black-eyed beans.
  • Mix in turmeric powder and salt. Add enough water to cook the beans and the yam. Cook them till soft. This will require at least 3-4 whistles.
  • Grind coconut, green chillies, and cumin into a fine paste. Add required water.
  • Once the yam is cooked add in the coconut paste and mix well. If water has dried up, add some to make it into a thick stew consistency.
  • Prepare a temper by heating some coconut oil. Add in mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves. Pour the temper onto the stew and mix well.
  • This goes well with both rice and chapatti.

Green Apple Tarte Tatin

Cook time: 60 minutes
Serve: 4 per
Type: Dessert

Ingredients:
Puff pastry: 300 -320 grams
Green apple: 4-5
Powdered sugar: 1 cup
Vanilla essence: ½ tsp.
Butter: 50 grams
Milk: 2 tbsps.

To grind:
Green cardamom: 1
Cinnamon: 1-inch stick
Bay leaf: 1
Clove: 1
Saffron: a pinch
Salt a pinch

To serve:
Vanilla ice cream

Method:

  • Firstly prepare the spice mix by roasting all the spices other than saffron and salt.
  • Cool and grind them with saffron and salt into a fine powder.
  • For the tarte tatin, take a cast-iron skillet and sprinkle ¾ cup sugar. Place it on a low flame and let it melt to a golden brown.
  • Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar and the spice powder on it and leave.
  • To the melted sugar add butter and let it heat for another couple of minutes.
  • Arrange the apple quarters neatly into circles. Place dollops of softened butter in between the apple quarters. Ensure the butter is placed evenly.
  • Thaw and roll out the puff pastry and cover the apples with it. Tuck in the rest of the pastry into the sides of the skillet.
  • Poke the pastry with a knife in the centre and in the sides to let out the steam from the apples.
  • Brush the pastry with milk and bake it in a preheated oven at 220 ℃ for 10 minutes and rest 20-25 minutes at180℃. Keep an eye on the pastry as it bakes. As it turns golden brown taken it out from the oven.
  • Place a plate on the skillet and turn it out upside down. The apples with amber-brown sugar should be well coated.
  • Serve this upside-down dessert warm and with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Both, Indian Ayurveda and the western world food gurus emphasis on recipes around seasonal fruits and vegetables. They attach a lot of prominence to eating fresh, clean, and seasonal produce that is readily available and in abundance. As there are some fruits and vegetables that are found throughout the year, avoiding them is not a good idea. Vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, brinjal, and beans are available anytime. Even fruits like bananas, papayas, and lemons are available all year. One should enjoy them too. In India, each region proudly produces its specialties. Like coconuts in coastal regions, stinging nettles are found in abundance in higher altitude regions. Similarly, dried berries and beans or ker sangri of the deserts are akin to groundnuts of the plateau. A healthy and balanced diet is inclusive of seasonal as well as commonly available produce. So eat up!

Talking about a healthy diet, here’s another guide that’ll ensure you’re getting all your nutrients from differently coloured fruits and vegetables.

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Indian Pickles: History, traditional preparation and health benefits

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