Using fruits in savoury ways lends a sublimely sweet touch to many dishes. Here’s Sanjeev Kapoor on how to use fruits in your everyday cooking.
Fruits are amongst the oldest foods that man has chanced upon. In fact, the history of fruits is as old as Adam and Eve – remember the story of the forbidden apple? The colours, flavours and textures that fruits can lend to any dish are limitless. No wonder they have been used in cooking preparations for over hundreds of years! Introducing fresh fruit can really add something special to any recipe – like blueberries or mangoes cooked into a sauce or raspberries added in a salad! While most people associate fruits to be commonly used in desserts, they can, in fact, become part of any dish. And believe me, the result will be extremely delicious! The flavours of the fruit will stand up to the sharp spiciness of any dish and truly enrich the meal.
Cooking with fruits
Though cooking with fruits can be fun, one has to be very careful about how they are used as they are very delicate. Certain fruits need to be rubbed with lemon juice after they are sliced to preserve their colour.
Fruits can be incorporated in dishes in various ways. They can be used as toppings, as sandwich fillings, in salads, in beverages, in desserts, and most importantly can be converted into preserves like jams and jellies so that they can be enjoyed even when they are not in season. Fruits are also found in treats such as muffins, ice cream and cakes. In fact, these days frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruits has many admirers!
Everyday tips to cook fruits
Fruits can be cooked in various ways but there are some steps to be kept in mind. If you’re cooking soft fruits or those with seeds, instead of boiling them, simply place them in a deep pan of boiling water to warm them up. Doing this preserves its texture and shape. This technique, called poaching, is commonly used to cook fruits such as pears. Bring the water to a simmer and then gently lower the fruit into the pan with a spoon. Immediately reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling and cook until the fruit is tender.
You could also stew your fruit by placing it in a pan with just enough liquid to soak it. This method helps to keep the fruits moist. Nectarines, plums and peaches are extremely tasty when stewed!
Another great way to cook fruits is grilling them. The result is very sweet and strong flavoured, thanks to the intense heat that caramelizes the sugars present in the fruits. Cooked in this manner, these fruits make fantastic desserts, side dishes or appetisers.
However, there are a few tips for grilling fruits. After cutting the fruits, soak them in water so that their liquid content is increased and they do not dry out during the grilling process. A light spray of cooking oil on the grilling rack will prevent them from sticking to it.
The possibilities of cooking fruits are many. With a little bit of innovation,
one can use them in numerous ways. So the next time you’re wondering how to add a twist to any dish, just turn to your fruit bowl!