Fruit Chaats or lightly seasoned fruit salads are another common summer spectacle in India. In India, you will see them made with tropical fruits like pineapple, mangoes and guava. I often add a touch of spice to fruits like peaches and nectarine, however this variation was created for a demo that I was doing at the Ossining Farmer’s Markets.
I had initially developed this recipe with strawberries and blueberries in mind, however, once at the market, I quickly changed around things once I saw these lovely plump and beautiful cherries. They were very kindly donated for my demonstration by Mead Orchards. These plump and sweet cherries were perfection, and, we shall soon be having sour cherries come along as well and the magic of this recipe is that they shall work just as well with the sour cherries too! Working with them was pure joy, against what was the best weekend day of an almost rained out holiday weekend.
The fruit in this recipe, essentially gets marinated in a nuanced fruit and wine infused wine, over time the cut fruit absorbs and marinates in this liquid, sharing and almost macerating in the process. Since the blueberries are left whole, the result of textures and tastes offer a variety of dimensions. Now, while I think that almost any kind of semi-sweet or sweet wine will work for this recipe, I am partial to Holiday Spiced Wine from Brotherhood Winery.
Again, like I have mentioned earlier, you will be able to vary this recipe with your choice of fruit as the summer progresses and it can be served alongside both sweet and savory dishes. Also, you can play with the herbs in this recipe. I have suggested basil and thyme, I often like to add in mint as well. At the farmer’s market this weekend, I actually added in lemon basil, which also worked very well. A quick note to some of the reader of this section, I will be at Chutney Masala on Thursday 17th, at 6:30 -9pm, tasting some of their wonderful food and of course chatting and signing books for whoever joins us. I would love to see some of you there, so please do stop by.
A light and colorful fruit salad, along the lines of an Indian fruit chaat.
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
- ¼ cup semi-sweet wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 11/2 pints of cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 pint of blueberries
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- In a mixing bowl add the orange juice, lime juice and wine and stir in the salt, sugar and ginger and mix well.
- Add in the sliced strawberries, cherries and blueberries and mix well.
- Stir in the thyme and basil and set aside for 30 minutes or so.
- Toss with the almonds before serving.
Lightly Spiced Fruit Salad
This Indian inspired fruit salad meshes, sweet, sour and savory notes to create a delicately balanced medley of flavors.
Prep Time: 30 minutes to an hour (mostly to marinate the fruit)
¼ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
¼ cup semi-sweet wine
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
11/2 pints of cherries, pitted and halved
1 pint of blueberries
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped basil
½ cup sliced almonds
Method of Preparation
In a mixing bowl add the orange juice, lime juice and wine and stir in the salt, sugar and ginger and mix well.
Add in the sliced strawberries, cherries and blueberries and mix well.
Stir in the thyme and basil and set aside for 30 minutes or so.
Toss with the almonds before serving.