Fruit chaat is so much more than a fruit salad. In Pakistan it’s eaten all year round, with chai. Chai, the time of day, not the actual chai, if you know what I mean. Breakfast, lunch, chai, then dinner. That’s the chronological order of meals eaten in Lahore.
I sometimes find it sad that things that are a part of your daily life become seasonal when you move away. The samosa’s, jalebi’s and fruit chaat you eat so often become traditions you pull out during Ramadan. As much as I would like to make fruit chaat all year round, I make it everyday in Ramadan, maybe because that’s when I miss home the most. And if there ever was a fruit chaat recipe that you could make you feel at home, it’s this one, with the sweet guava juice and earthy cumin balancing the sweet and sour fruits so well, I’m transported to Lahore with every bite.
One thing I’ll insist on is using guava juice/nectar. Since it’s hard to find decent guavas (like mangoes) here in the states, I use guava juice to add the subtle flavor. The rest is open for change(I sometimes add chickpeas), even though I’ll be offended if you add berries to this!
Here’s what you’ll need to serve 4-6 people
2 Apples, diced
2 Peaches, diced
1 cup grapes, halved
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup chickpeas *optional
1 1/2 cups guava juice
1 tsp coarsely ground roasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp laal mirch (cayenne)
1 Tblspn chaat masala
Start off by chopping all your fruit. If you’re going to make this ahead of time, chop all the fruit except the bananas. They get mushy very quickly, so add those right before serving. Sprinkle the seasoning over the fruit and pour in the juice, mix well and chill before serving. The chickpeas add a great savory element to the already sweet and spicy palate, but I will admit I don’t add them every time.
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