The guava may have originated in Central America but after hundreds of years of it’s existence in the Indian sub continent ,it is considered quite the local ! Very simply put , when it comes to nutrition, the guava is to Asia what the apple is to the west. It contains possibly the highest amount of Vitamin C present in fruits,is equally rich in Vitamin A ,manganese and folate which is a key nutrient for fertility,conception and pregnancy. Manganese helps the body in the absorption of other essential nutrients.Yet it is not a fruit which the urban table displays as often as it does some of the more familiar spherical others.
Again , that may have something to do with the fact that it isn’t mentioned to as great an extent in cakes, pies or even in salad form. One has heard of guava jellies, squashes and jams but how much of the actual fruit goes into making these delicious condiments,is something I often wonder. Considering the fact that all of these products are pink/peach in colour, they are probably made using the pink strawberry guava rather than the green.
The green guavas are the ones that are easier to find in this part of the world.The country variety is available from small sizes comprising of a dark green flesh to bigger ones that have a paler green exterior.To be honest,the guava was never really a fruit that I craved for,didn’t really care for those seeds that would sometimes refuse to yield no matter to what extent we had to bite down.I’m guessing this could be one of the main reasons why children have to be cajoled to eating this fruit. My parents’ generation however claim that it’s the seeds that make it so sought after.That’s a little hard to accept but who knows ,maybe they had stronger molars from all that brushing with neem sticks !
Anyway, the green guava has been on my food radar lately after a local caterer served us a green guava chutney at a family wedding.It was smooth,creamy ,an appetising green and most importantly was quite delicious. It had the kind of sour flavour that one associates with a yummy chaat dish. Among the array of chutneys served on the banana leaf that day , this one quickly became a favourite with the guests.
Normally at our big fat Indian weddings ,invitees would struggle to finish the many elaborate choices lined up on the thala vazha yellai.This one time however there were several voices accompanying my own asking for seconds of this tasty green guava chutney.It’s been many months since I first tasted it and am happy that it is now one of the sought after items at a wedding feast. The credit goes to (Madhampatty )Rangaraj for not just developing the recipe but for getting the wheels in my head turning to begin explorations of using the green guava as a veggie option !
The first dish we experimented with was of course the chutney. We didn’t want to ask for the secret recipe and expect him to reveal the tricks of his trade but going simply by taste ,we went with using onion, green chillies, tamarind,turmeric powder, rock salt and very little coriander leaves for flavouring. In went the chopped guava, seeds and all because one ends up losing so much of the flesh by discarding the seeds.It did of course add the extra task of straining the chutney after it was blended but hey I’m not complaining. The smooth puree was then tempered with dried red chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds.A quick taste and I was as happy as a clam.
With the rainy weather in mind , a warm green guava soup is next on the agenda.And after that a koyakkai rasam maybe?