Jamun recipes to extend summer
Dehydrated, frozen and puréed—here are ways to make jamuns last beyond their short-lived season
Last Diwali, a small area near our office pantry was cleared for stalls selling the usual festive fare of diyas and sweets. Finding packets of dehydrated fruits like strawberry, pineapple and jamun (java plum) among all the decadent Diwali confectionary was a sweet surprise. The reddish-purplish tinge of the dehydrated jamun made it look like thick dried rose petals. Imagining them to be the perfect and prettiest topping for overnight oats, soups or an exciting addition to a salad, I bought a few packets. Except, I never got around to it, because they were emptied like M&M’s.
The dried fruit had little trace of the tannin that imparts a dry mouth-feel, while the tartness and indelible dark purplish stain had been tamed. A few packets were saved for later and proved to be a rare guilt-free snack during the lockdown days, while waiting for the jamun season (May-July).
The dehydrated fruits are from the brand Fruit Munch. “We picked jamun for its numerous health benefits and limited availability due to its short-lived season," says Devashish Jaisingh, co-founder of Farmslice Agro LLP, which owns the brand. By dehydrating the fruit at low temperatures with their patented technology, they wanted to retain its nutritional value and extend its lifespan. The deep colour of the fruit renders it a potent antioxidant and it is believed to be helpful for diabetics. “Jamun is considered to regulate blood sugar," says nutritionist and food consultant Sangeeta Khanna.
Culinary ingenuity ensures that good things last longer. While jamun might disappear as the monsoon takes hold, turning it into a purée will warrant a kala-khatta (popsicle) on your Diwali menu.
It all begins with picking the right jamun, slightly reddish in colour and plump in appearance. The best season to find this variety is from May-end to mid-June.
Chef Anuraag Narsingani, executive chef, JW Marriott, Pune, shares an easy recipe to purée the fruit without sugar or additives. Take 250g of jamun, add 50ml of water and let it cook in a closed-lid vessel on low flame till the mixture turns slightly mushy. It’s ready when the pulp easily comes off the seeds. Let it cool completely and remove the seeds. Your sugar-free jamun purée, cooked in its own juices, is ready to be frozen and used for up to three-four months. Store it in freezer-safe glass jars. Before using the purée, transfer the exact amount you will need from the freezer to the fridge and keep for a day.
The whole fruits will keep better if you refrigerate them whole in perforated containers, like the ones used for fresh coriander, and will last anywhere from two weeks to 20 days.
The purée might soon turn into a prized kitchen ingredient, for it can be used to make kala khatta, ice cream, drinks and raita. Narsingani says the intensely tart and acidic taste of jamun is best paired with rock salt, cream and curd. While salt cuts the acidity and makes the flavours shine, curd and cream balance the tartness and ensure that your palate is not left feeling dry due to the high tannin content of the fruit.
These attributes make it a ready-made ingredient for home-made wines and vinegar. “In Purani Dilli, jamun kulfi is a treat you must not miss," Narsingani adds. You might have to wait a little longer to visit Old Delhi, or get your hands on the wine, vinegar and even sweet-sour chewy papad retailed online or at select supermarkets, but you can in the meantime whip up summer-ready jamun drinks and dishes.
By Manish Joshi, executive chef, Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
4-5 jamuns, deseeded
10ml lime juice
10ml sugar syrup
Rock salt to taste
Muddle the jamuns well.
Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh jamun.
Jamun Ice cream
By Anuraag Narsingani, executive chef, JW Marriott, Pune
150g jamun purée
250g good-quality cream
Hand-whisk the cream till it acquires a Milkmaid-like consistency. Hand-blend all the ingredients well. Freeze overnight and it’s ready to be relished.
200g curd, hand-beaten to a smooth consistency
50g fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
100g jamun, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin powder, roasted and grounded
1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
Rock salt or sea salt to taste
Jaggery or raw sugar to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Taste and adjust salt and sweetness.
Refrigerate for an hour and serve cold, garnished with a pinch of cumin powder.
FIRST PUBLISHED08.05.2020 | 04:27 PM IST