Fruits. Fruits. Fruits. Fruits fruits fruits.
I could go on about them forever. It wasn't always that way, though. I loved green grapes and little clementines and occasionally some strawberries... essentially little-kid fruit stuff.
I was hesitant to try new fruits, and when I did I really didn't like them.
But everything changed since moving to Bombay. Bombay, the land of exotic and bright tropical fruits that come in seasons, making up for the lack of change in the weather.
Strawberries from Mahabaleshwar and grapes from Nasik in the winter, vibrant watermelon in the summer, and I've already written about the Bombay bananas. In addition, there's melon: subtle, soft and sweet, pomegranate: bold and refreshing, oranges: huge and juicy, papaya: perfect in the morning, apples: sweet and crisp. I learned about litchi- whose season has just started!- and then a couple of years ago in Malaysia I tried rambutan- its larger cousin. When we were in Hawai'i in 2009 my parents were thrilled to find litchis, a fruit which they had only ever had as kids in India. But it looked squishy and white and weird and I didn't touch it.
I regret that so much...
I've become more experimental with what I eat, and more appreciative of fresh produce, and Bombay's fruits just seem to be more delicious than the mushy bananas and the pale watermelons that used to sell in Chicago and Amsterdam.
I wanted to make mango banana bread (i.e. cake) last summer but I never got around to it, so my dad and I made a loaf within the first week of getting mangos. I'm super proud, too because we set a record with making this: we took 20 minutes! My dad and I are both notorious for our long experimentations in the kitchen and for taking hours to get something done. Granted, this is a really simple recipe, but it felt good to bake something together without it taking out a huge chunk of the day again.
There are dozens of different kinds of mangos throughout India, and each region is loyal to its own variety. Bombay-ites are especially dedicated to Alphonsos: they have a dense, moist flesh, an orange colour identical to that of Holland's and at their best they're heavenly sweet (and horribly messy...).
When it's fresh, this bread is moist and springy, and it gets a lovely crusty top. I think it would have been better with more mango and more banana- giving the whole bread a stronger and sweeter taste.
But for those of you who are hesitant to mess with banana bread, or those who prefer a milder taste, using just one mango and less banana than it calls for would work out well.
Enjoy it soft and chilled, or toasted on a pan for an elevated taste (trust me, I read about eating it like that and resisted for ages, but I fell in love with the concept as soon as I tried it).
What fruits do you have locally? What are your favourites?
Mango Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup Mango, diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Sift together the first four ingredients and set aside. Cream oil and sugar. Add eggs and bananas; blend. Stir in flour mixture; mix gently until blended. Fold in mango and walnuts. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for one hour or until done.