I associate pomelo, or chakotra as it is known in North India, with Chhatt Puja in Bihar. The fruit is scooped out as an offering to the gods, leaving the shell intact. In my house, the shells were given to children to decorate. We made holes in the shell and painted images on its surface. On the day of the puja, which is held in the evening, we would light diyas inside the hollowed-out, decorated shells, making fascinating patterns of light on the walls. While we didn’t know Halloween or its traditions, we seem to have celebrated it in our own way in my household.
I use Thai pomelos in this salad because they are, ironically, available all year round in India, since they are imported. Local Indian pomelo is available only in November and December. Pomelo as a fruit is juicy and citrusy like an orange, with the sweetness of a sweet lime, but not as sour as grapefruit. I combine the pomelo with sweet, preserved amla (known as Indian gooseberry). If amla is not available, you can use any fruit preserve, such as gooseberry preserve, or candied pineapple.
- 1 medium size Thai pomelo
- 4-5 mint leaves
- 4-5 Thai red chillies, juliennes
- 1 radicchio lettuce, hand-torn
- ½ tsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
For Tamarind Glaze
- 2 tbsp tamarind chutney
- 1 tsp lime juice
- ½ tsp chaat masala
- 1 amla murabba
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
- 2-3 slices thinly sliced garlic
- Oil for frying
- Clean and peel the pomelo. Take out the segments in chunks. Remove all the seeds and white pith.
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry garlic slices until golden.
- Drain the fried garlic on kitchen paper. Keep aside for garnish.
- For the tamarind glaze, first deseed and chop up the amla murabba.
- In a bowl mix the chopped amla murabba with lime juice, chaat masala, salt and tamarind chutney.
- Now place the cleaned pomelo segments in a salad bowl.
- Add fresh mint, hand-torn lettuce, chopped coriander and red chili juliennes.
- Pour in the tamarind glaze and toss well.
- Top it up with crushed peanuts.
- Arrange the salad on a platter and garnish with fried garlic slices.