It is that time of the year when you cosy into thick blankets at night and wrap those knitted sweaters on before stepping outdoors in the daytime. While the crisp morning air with the occasional fog, mist and snow certainly forms a scenic natural backdrop, the freezing winter weather also brings with it a host of illnesses. These include the common cold, flu, sore throat, lung and breathing problems, not to mention the still rampant spread of coronavirus infection. Nevertheless, building resistance against pathogenic microbes by consuming immune-boosting foods significantly lowers the risk of these respiratory ailments. And one such nutrient-dense, crunchy, delicious winter bounty is guava.
Locally known as “Amrood” in Hindi, these pale white seeded fruits with a distinct green outer skin are blessed with ample amounts of vitamin C, the vital essential nutrient that fosters optimal immune functions. Moreover, guava fruits are also rich in folate, that ensures healthy red blood cell synthesis and circulation, besides potassium, which keeps blood pressure in check. A storehouse of lycopene antioxidants, as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, guavas are a perfect addition to the chilly winter climate diet, to strengthen bones, joints, fight seasonal diseases, eliminate harmful free radicals and improve overall wellbeing.
Of course, come wintertime, you find your taste buds, stomach and pretty much whole body perpetually seeking comfort in steamy foods, be it a cup of piping hot tea or a bowl of warm soup. Well, this winter season, why don’t you try some classic guava delicacies that are very nourishing, bolster the immune system and also a bit different from the usual home-cooked cold-weather fare of chai and rasam? Don on your chef’s hats and whip up these wholesome recipes of sweet guava chutney and amrood ki sabzi, that will shield you against maladies, augment your health as well as prove to be truly enticing gastronomical delights.
Sweet Guava Chutney
2 medium-sized guavas, ripened
¼ cup peanuts
A bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp jaggery
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
Salt, as needed
1 tbsp rice bran oil
4 tsp urad dal
A fistful of curry leaves
Wash the guava fruits, remove the peel, then cut them into big slices and deseed them.
Boil them in hot water with a bit of salt, until they become soft and get completely mashed.
In a mixer, blend the mashed guavas, peanuts, coriander leaves, jaggery, lemon juice and required amount of salt, to form a thick, homogenous paste.
Transfer the fine guava paste into a wide bowl.
Heat rice bran oil in a pan, temper the urad dal and curry leaves, then pour it over the guava paste.
This sweet guava chutney with a hint of tangy flavours serves as an appetizing side dish for idlis, dosas, phulkas, rotis and sandwiches.
Laden with vitamin C, guavas remarkably uplift immunity, besides supplying resilient connective tissues, increasing bone mineral density, thanks to their intrinsically high mineral content of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The wealth of proteins in peanuts guarantees robust, flexible muscles, aside from elevated growth and development of all bodily organs. Coriander leaves offer valuable vitamin A, for enhanced eyesight and jaggery comprises vast reserves of iron, to prevent anaemia and preserve healthy blood circulation. Lemon juice works wonders in detoxifying the liver, kidneys of detrimental wastes and chemicals, thus stimulating metabolism and digestion.
Amrood Ki Sabzi
3 big guavas, ripe, cut into large chunks, with seeds removed
½ cup tomato puree
1 cup fresh yoghurt
3 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp dry mango powder i.e. amchur
1 tsp coriander powder i.e. dhania
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
A cluster of mint leaves
Salt, as per taste
In a pan, add the mustard oil and once it warms up on medium flame, sauté the cumin seeds and hing, until the former begin to crackle.
Pour in the tomato puree and ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes on low flame.
Sprinkle all the spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, dry mango powder, coriander powder and salt as needed, continuing to stir the mixture until all the flavours soak in.
Transfer the yoghurt, cook for 2 – 3 minutes, so it mingles entirely with the spice and tomato blend.
Now add the guava pieces and cook for another 10 minutes, covering with a lid, until it softens.
Turn off the stove, pour in the lemon juice, combine well and garnish with some fresh mint leaves.
Serve this mouth-watering spicy amrood ki sabzi as a side for hot pooris, parathas or warm rice with ghee.