Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Summer Fruits I

Paka pNepe. I used to HATE ripe papaya growing up, and although I've now made my peace with raw papaya, which we eat in light summer curries, I used to despise it with a passion too.

But my problem with the riper variety is not merely one of taste. Till a week back, in fact, I had never tasted paka pNepe. It was a matter of texture. I couldn't stand paka pNepe for the same reason I can't stand avocados. The oily, slimy, squishy, pulipness of it. It puts me in mind of rotten, oozy stuff. Overripe bananas slowly rotting in the sun, that is in fact the first image that flashed in my mind when I first touched the green inside of a halved avocado. Ew.

Then I visited a friend's aunt's house Just for a minute, she said, so she could pick something up. Which just goes to show how dumb some people are, because of course her aunt wouldn't let me back out again before the usual niceties of a 'first visit to our home' had been ritually observed. As part of the exchange -- I gave her details about my family, my education, my job, my 'hobbies', and my travels -- she instructed the live-in help to serve me a little bowl of sweets (we're back to sugar-sweetended desserts, I noticed, the short jaggery season being over) and a plate of peeled, chopped and frozen fruits. And there right at the centre were five large, unmistakble pieces of paka pNepe.

I said, of course, that I don't like ripe papaya, upon which I was solicitiously asked why. When I said it's because of the texture, the lady looked at me like my brain had become melted cheese with strange foreign ideas, and told me shortly that food was meant to be eaten, not felt up. Then she fixed me with a stern hawk-like stare till I slowly finished every single thing on my plate.

Not that I've ever seen a hawk's stare. I'm extrapolating.

And it was delicious. Not the hawk's stare, that nearly chilled the marrow in my spine. But the red pieces of raw papaya. In fact, and mango enthusiasts will probably burn me alive for this, it really tasted like a watered down Himshagor aam. Much enthused, I bought my own paka pNepe, which, owing to my unfortunate naivete in the area of pNepes, turned out to be golden yellow inside. Still, not bad. And a positive delight to look at. Take a dekkho :-)

 Paka pNepe with top and bottom lopped off.

Sliced through the middle.

 Cored of the seeds.

Each half cut into four (or more) slices, like tethered boats :-)

 Each slice cut through the centre, then diced breadthwise.

A bowlful of golden delight, frozen before serving.


Spin said...

E bawa. Amar same problem. Texture. But then if it tastes like "watered down Himshagor" then it can't be bad, plus, these pieces don't look kyat-kyatey.

And, it's no use directing me towards posts in your archive because I've read them all already. TWICE OVER. Cook, woman, cook.

Magically Bored said...

Somehow this is one fruit I have never liked, even though Ma invariably buys it from the fruit-shop. Give me mangoes and grapes anyday.

Rimi said...

Boxling, do you wish your ears to be sternly twisted? I refuse to cook in this beastly heat. This blog is on a holiday. So there!

Tuna, try. Please. I now regret all those missed mangoe-like pNepes

Spin said...

Fine fine be mean. I think it's time to revisit the Sauce! archives.

Rimi said...

It's a mystery to me why I adore you, you brat.

dipali said...

Good to see a convert to a healthy option:)

Sachinky said...

My cousin tells me they are good for losing weight. So I munch on them once in a while.