BENGALURU: Summers are synonymous with the wide availability of fresh litchi fruit. It’s that time of year when the street corners are lined with hand carts piled with bunches of this refreshing fruit. Once peeled, the red warty shell of the fruit gives way to the most luscious, translucent white flesh which is juicy, aromatic and sweet. A native fruit of China and India, litchis are packed with health benefits and are best eaten fresh. The fruit is a chef’s delight and is used extensively in the kitchen to prepare cocktails, ice creams, puddings, and salads.
Vikas Seth, chef and culinary director at Embassy Leisure is a big fan of litchis. He finds the fruit blends well with any dish given its white and juicy flesh combined with the floral and sweet flavours. “I really love the juicy fresh litchi fruit, tasty and refreshing in summers,” he says. “I have very fond memories of eating this seasonal fruit with my grandfather and sister during summers in Amritsar, where he would peel each piece and feed us.” The super fruit is high on vitamin C, which boosts immunity, aids in digestion, weight loss and strengthen bones too.
Vishal Atreya, business partner and chef at The Pump House brewpub, uses litchis to make a refreshing Litchi, Mango and Basil Salsa, which is served fresh on a toasted bread with fresh grilled scallops. According to chef Atreya, “Litchis have a very unique floral aroma and a peculiar taste which is a blend of grapes and pears. I like the unique texture they provide to any dish.” Another kitchen masterpiece in chef Atreya’s kitchen is a chilled Litchi and Coconut Panacotta.
According to chef Seth, “Fresh litchis are a great addition to desserts and drinks and the fruit also complements a number of savoury dishes as well,” adding, “Litchis go well with seafood… a fresh Litchi and Mango Fish Curry can become your weakness if you try it once with jasmine rice.”
Aslam Gafoor is a Bengaluru-based hospitality professional,food lover and travel enthusiast