BAYFOOD FASTS: Getting food for iftar ready is very much a family activity. Since everyone makes the extra effort to be home just in time, we’re all usually in the kitchen anyway. While my mom and my sister generally make the food, I do my part in setting the table, getting the smaller things out onto the table, and being the time keeper! And as with any other year, my dad has to make his one specialty - Fruit Chaat. I actually wasn’t a fan of it when I was younger (because I had some fierce hatred against almost all vegetables and fruits), but it’s actually pretty good.
Fruit Chaat is like a fruit salad, but a Pakistani version. It’s usually eaten in the summer months since it’s a refreshing snack. It definitely reminds me of summer as well since when I was younger, fasting was in the summer as well (because Ramadan is on a lunar calendar, and thus shifts 10 days up every year), and that’s the only time my dad has made it.
He always takes out the biggest glass bowl he can find in the cabinet and then takes time to cut up the fruits. Our chaat consists of bananas, apples, grapes, and oranges, as far as the fruit goes. Once everything has been cut into chunks, you then add the fruit juices to increase the sweetness. This is a combination of orange and guava juice followed by some sugar. The final step is to add either Chaat Masala (we use the Shan version) or simply cayenne pepper. There are no measurements because you put in however much you want of each fruit or you can substitute other fruits or fruit juices according to preference. But this is a mostly traditional version, except normally there would be actual guava in place of the juice. Others also have added potatoes and/or garbanzo beans as well, but I personally don’t want those elements in a fruit salad type dish.
It’s a nice blend of fruits that are both sweet and tart that mesh well together with the sweet juices and the spices. You get all of those elements in each bite. However, as shown from the pictures of this particular batch, I don’t recommend adding THAT much cayenne pepper! This batch was incredibly spicy and we had to temper it down with more juice and sugar to balance out the flavors. ;)
The Fruit Chaat provides a nice contrast to the fried snacks that are put on the table and you get SOME nutrition (even though it’s packed with a good helping of sugar and sugary juices, heh).
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