On the outskirts of the city, where things tend to grow wild, there is a creeper with very pretty, attractive flowers and rather ‘ho-hum’-looking fruit encased in softly spiny bracts.
There’s nothing ho-hum about their taste, though.
An exotic, delicate flavour to match those flowers, packed into the tiny morsel-sized pulp that is as much loved by birds, too.
It is difficult to find a whole ripe fruit, since the birds invariably get to them just at the right time. and always long before any human might even notice.
Though I never missed seeing the flowers, I would have missed this delicious, edible surprise altogether, if not for a chance conversation with Y2.
Apparently one of the popular past-times with him and his friends, when boredom strikes, is to make a “sandwich” using this.
Occasionally there is some barter or trading involved. At one point there was even a restaurant with this, among other notables, on the menu.
Currency is wide-ranging (from sticks, stones, leaves, even “shramdaan” (donated labour) to an ongoing “construction” work (tent with sticks and leaves). Neighbouring traders might get a free exchange for “goods”.
Once I was offered a taste of this sandwich (much like a “paan”) and was amazed to discover that it’s actually quite delicious! I even asked for a second!
Then he whizzed me along on a foraging trip, explaining the ingredients, and how to identify and source them.
I managed to take some quick, blurry pictures to document the process –
|Leaves and seeds of wild basil, tender green leaves of tamarind, all plucked, washed and squeezed dry.|
|Pictured from left to right: Wild Basil Leaves, Tender Tamarind Leaves, Wild Basil Seeds, Wild Passionfruit.|
|Ingredients all assembled. (That blob is the pulp of the passionfruit – has to be eaten to be believed!)|
And here’s the pièce de résistance –
|Zingy, Fresh Mouthful, anyone? Naturally vegan, gluten-free, delicious, fresh and healthy.|