One busy morning while I was on my way to finish the important errands of the day,deep in thought I absently gazed out of my car window. A flash of bright red brought me out of my reverie and onto ‘foodie’ mode. Interesting looking plump red (what looked like fruit) were placed in an attractive mound. Making a mental note to myself to take a closer look on the way back home,I carried on !
I learned later that these fruits grew in the Courtallam area or (Kutrallam as it’s known in tamil!) According to the cart vendor,these were available rarely and were meant to be eaten raw with a dash of salt and chilli powder. Upon tasting them,the texture did indeed resemble the Indian gooseberry and hence I supposed the name but the taste is far more bland and has a hint of sourness. Such a pretty fruit,I was sure went by other names as well…as luck would have it,I found the bell fruit !What an aptly delightful name ! This tiny blush like fruit goes by so many names, Bell fruit , Water apple, Nukavicca , Chambakka , Jamrul and I’m sure has many more ! The botanical name is Syzygium Samarangense and while it does need a bit of help to make it lip smacking delicious ,the colour and shape do definitely add to the attraction.
Later in the week while foraging for odds and ends,with a friend ,we could not pass up the paneer nellikkai cart vendor,who was selling his wares with a big smile,despite the sweltering heat. So, I do have a bag full of these beauties right now and will rustle up a recipe ,very soon,for sure !
It is available in the hot months and in Kerala is used to make pickles and preserves.
They are popular in Kerala , Malaysia and Bangladesh
I love the contrast of the green banana leaf against the red of the bell fruit