Non-Native Vegetables and Fruits of India Part III

Non-Native Vegetables and Fruits of India Part III

To continue from Part I & II, we will be looking into some more fruits and vegetables which are non-native to the Indian subcontinent, but still very much part of our cuisine and have become inseparable.

  1. Tamarind:

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a non-native plant to India. Tamarind is a fruit-bearing tree, that is indigenous to Tropical Africa, through human transportation that it reached South Asia. Tamarind is extensively used in Southern Indian cuisine as a souring agent in almost all the dal preparation, the curries. It has a tangy and sweet taste to it so it gives the dal or curries an excellent gravy base for the dish. Tamarind pulp is also used in many traditional medicinal preparations.

Many times, this question arises whether tamarind is a fruit or a vegetable, it is an edible fruit. The tamarind pulp tastes sweet and sour.

Now it is so far widespread, it grew in South Asia i.e., India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand. I have seen a variety of sweet tamarind also is available as an exotic version of the fruit.

The irony is that today India is one of the largest producers and exporter of tamarind worldwide.

  1. Sitaphal/Custard Fruit

This is also of one my favorite fruits, have grown to eat this fruit a lot. Sitaphal/Custard Apple is a native of the West Indies, it has traveled through Central America to Mexico. This fruit also is one of the introductions of Portuguese during the early 16th century.

Custard apple is found mentioned in the old ayurvedic texts and also depicted in the sculptures of Ajanta caves and carvings at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. It is said to cause cold and trigger one who is prone to cold and cough. People having diabetes and asthma should be careful while eating this fruit, especially people with asthma it said to trigger reactions immediately, I mean cause cold and cough, which can lead to problems further.

Not all is bad 😊 sitaphal/custard apple helps in healing ulcers and prevent acidity. This fruit contains micronutrients that can help you have a smooth skin tone and also help in eye health. All in all, it has good effects and bad effects on one person.

  1. Guava:

Guava is one most important commercial fruit grown in India, guava is 4th after mango, banana, and citrus. But I think we can give credit to the Portuguese again for distributing this fruit all over.  Its originally from tropical America it has been seen that it growing in wild. It was introduced by the Portuguese in India in the 17th century.

There are two varieties in guava one is white and the other is pink, pink guava is supposed to have more water content and less sugar and starch, and also seedless. These fruits are used to make juices normally because it has more flesh. Its served with breakfast in many hotels and restaurants.

Many times we can the roadside vendor cutting these fruits skilfully, sprinkles salt and spice, that’s how Indians love to have fruit traditionally. The first time I heard guava cheese being made out of this fruit, it’s very unique to goa and made during Christmas.

Many parts of the tree are also useful and used in many different ways around the world. In some parts of the world, its leaves are used for making dye. In El Salvador, the wood is used to make fancy combs, in some parts they are used for making handles of various types.

  1. Avocado:

Avocado is relatively very young to Indian cuisine, thanks to the master chef series and many other similar programs, this vegetable i.e., avocado and many other vegetables have got eyeballs with the Indians back home.

Its origin can be traced to Central Mexico, this tree is propagated through branch cuttings to keep the quality intact. It’s a large fruit with a large single seed within. It’s also propagated through seeds, through seeds it takes a lot of time, it takes at least 5 to 8 weeks before we can plant in the ground. These plants need weather without frost and very little wind, this plant is self-pollinator because of dichogamy (n plants, individual flowers have the function of two sexes separated in time, although the plant as a whole may have functionally male and functionally female flowers open at any one moment) in its flowering. Nature can be sometimes very peculiar in its way, but that’s how it balances.

The word avocado comes from the Spanish word aguacate, which in turn comes from the word āhuacatl which goes back to ‘the proto-Aztecan’ which also meant “avocado”. Avocado has acquired the name because of its shape.  It’s also known as butter fruit in India and as well as Vietnam. Its central part when it is ripe, the flesh is like soft butter and smooth texture. So, they call it butter fruit in many places.

Have used avocado in vegan dishes like butter-less cupcake Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes, guacamole is kind of dressing in salad or dip/sauce for any snacks like tortillas. In some of the countries, it mainly used to make a salad where the fruit is added raw into the dish.

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon #blogchatterhalfmarathon.



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