A food magazine after my own heart was undoubtedly the BBC India good food guide. Since it’s no longer in circulation I hold on to the past copies almost like safe guarding treasure. A few years ago one issue carried a recipe for a naval pazham sorbet. This is a fruit that I could eat non-stop until the tongue went numb with the astringency overdose. That would lead to me sticking the tongue out to check for the extent of blue-ness. Despite doing this countless times, the blue tongue continues to be a point of fascination even today !
A happy sight,for me, is opening the refrigerator and finding a dish filled with shiny ,plump nagapazham (as I’ve referred to it all my life) coated with white salt crystals. Added to that is the sight of the condensed water droplets on the fruit and sides of the container.It never fails to work the salivary glands! Of course, now having to do all of this myself,the refrigerator no longer offers such delicious surprises,nevertheless it’s a much loved snack.
This is one fruit that I never considered sharing.It was always me and bowl of this yummy seasonal delicacy. When over ripe the flesh just melts effortlessly in the mouth,leaving behind that slightly sweet and tart aftertaste. This year the jamun vendors have been few in number.The unprecedented quantity of summer showers seem to have pushed the availability of the naval pazham further.
However we did manage to get our hands on a small quantity of both the country variety as well as the hybrid.Despite the diminutive appearance the nattu variety does not disappoint in flavour. Rather than try out a sorbet ,”why not make a drink ?” was the thought that crossed my mind.
Interestingly enough Chef Sanjeev Kapoor had shared his recipe of a ‘jamun panna’ on his cookery channel. Another version of this recipe was put up on the ‘polka puffs’ food blog. Both sounded delicious and used different techniques to make the drink,one where the jamuns were subjected to a cooking process and the other that was marinated in flavourings and crushed raw.
Being used to the process of making aam panna by cooking the raw mango,it made better sense to follow the same method.Finally it so happened that the drink resulted in becoming an amalgamation of both recipes. Not only did we boil the fruit but instead of just straining the liquid we blended the cooked pulp along with the water that had turned a pretty shade of purple .
The drink evolved in stages with the addition of salt , panam kalkandu and roasted cumin powder. None of these flavourings took away from the intense taste of the fruit. This is definitely a drink that will be savoured mostly by those who like the fruit. It’s also tastiest when chilled.To me it feels more like a sherbet because of the colour and consistency.
For those who like to take maximum advantage of the naval pazham season,the drink is a must try. Fresh mint , lemon, black salt, pink Himalayan salt and chaat masala are wonderful seasoning options that can be added to this drink.
Yet another cool way is to drink it on the rocks in a heavy bottomed tumbler with the addition of citrus segments and a salt crusted rim. Now that I think about it maybe add a dash of Tabasco to make a purple coloured virgin mary .Here’s to new and exciting summer coolers.
Helps with digestive disorders
Prevents enlargement of spleen,helps against uti
100 gms of jamun has 55 gms of potassium
Contains Vitamin C and iron in adequate quantities
Good for diabetics
Helps control acne ,the seeds can be crushed and applied on the skin along with gram flour and rose water