Sunday, November 9, 2008

Put the lime in the coconut...

Our pantry, including a yummy favorite on the bottom right: chickoos.
These little brown fruits have a creamy inside that reminds me of a date. Mangosteens above.

Quick trip through the produce section today. Here are the fruits and vegetables that I didn't recognize:
Ladies Finger (which looks an awful lot like okra)
Snake Fruit
Ash Gourd
Butter Gourd
Sponge Gourd
Snake Gourd
Indian Drumstick
Egyptian Custard Apple
Curry Lemon
Bare (from India)

and my favorite, the super spiky scary looking jackfruit. We bought some mangosteens, (a purple fruit with a yummy bit in the center) the incredibly long Indian green beans, and also the mysterious Egyptian custard apple (a sort of bluish purple knobbly thing), which, when Mike looked it up, is described as "unbelievably tasty fruit with toxic seeds."

Good thing we looked it up! Cutting it open, I was surprised at the contents:

It tasted pretty good, kind of slippery like the inside of an apple turnover, sweet. None of us could get past the wierd factor this time around, though.

Obviously I could use some assistance in the distinguishing fruits and vegetables. I need a Produce Section Safari Guide, possibly a pith helmet too. I enlist Rani's help whenever I can to ask her about produce, and she is both willing and helpful.

All the produce has a sign with the name and the price and where it's from, which is facinating. Back in the US I only took passing notice, but here I love that the Saudi dates are next to US strawberries, and that we're eating apples from France and pineapples from the Phillipines. I also love that I can whack the top off the pineapple and stick in in the ground and voila! I have a pineapple plant. I am always on the lookout for attractive new kinds for the garden.

And the mangoes. Don't get me started on the mangoes. Mangoes as far as the eye can see, and the most beautiful papayas too. The mangoes are from all over the world, and I'm thoroughly enjoying getting to try out all sorts of varieties, from the common Alphonso to purple mangoes. With some research, I'm going to be posting a few of my newfound favorite mango recipes. I can't resist buying them, and some, like the one Thomas is holding, and the ones below, are huge! So we have to eat them, oh darn.

Fresh unpasturized fruit juices are de rigeur here, lemon juice with mint being my favorite, but everything from avocado to sweet melon and cucumber, to beet and pomegranite is easily available. Even at McDonalds the apple juice is pulpy and delicious. Watermelon juice is really popular they have that in the US South? They should! Orange juice is easily the most popular, and the oranges on the trees surprised me by being green, though ripe and orange inside.

Maybe someday my little lemon tree on the balcony will give me a sour little present. In the meantime, we are overwhelmed and loving the sun warmed fruits just off the tree like the oranges November.


Cathy O. said...

Ok, you are scaring me a little, now. Lemon with mint is MY favorite, too. lol. The Chelsea Hotel where we stayed before we moved into the villa makes a wicked "Mint Blast". Yum!

sherrip said...

Beware the Durian--it apparently has a strong odor and is a love it or hate it fruit--there are apparently hotels in the world that won't allow guests to bring it in because of its strong odor...

mmmm... mangoes, my favorite of late here in the states is the Kiett mango--big green ones. Try it chunked up with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of chili powder--yum!

Will & Cheyenne said...

Maybe I missed this somewhere along the way.....but when are you coming back?

Natalie said...

Our contract is officially for 2 years and change. Mike's project will go on longer than that, and as the time comes we'll reevaluate and decide what we want to do. I can see us staying here for a very long time, I can also see us blasting off happily for home when the contract is up. As it is, I think we will probably come home next August for a visit. It'll be hot, it'll be Ramadan, and I hear they won't start up school until that's over. Sounds like a good time to come home and enjoy the NW summer!

Thanks to Cathy and Sherri for the epicurious comments. Delicious!

Anonymous said...

The black fruit looks like a passionfruit nearly,(tough skin is purle and deeply wrinkled when ripe ,aromatic orange pulp is sweet and juicy). But they are more yellow inside. The small fruits looks like Lychees, Litchis of Chinese origin ,to me. You can take the brown skin of and you have a glistning white soft fruit (looks like a brain!)and has a little pith in the middle? They are in tins too ,cleaned and in sugar water?