The apple of our ice
The humble tadgola is being re-imagined in cool desserts across city restaurants. Pick your favourite avatar of the coconut-y fruit
Guess it's safe to say that local, street-side treats are finally having their moment in the sun. Whether it's a seemingly "ugly" and smelly ingredient like jackfruit being championed worldwide or the unassuming moringa being celebrated as a superfood; simple things we all grew up eating, and perhaps somewhere forgot about in the rush of procuring over-priced kale chips and matcha, are all making a grand comeback on restaurant menus.
"Summer is the perfect time to make use of some of the most underrated fruits and veggies, like purple carrots, jackfruit, as well as tadgola," says chef Reetu Uday Kugaji who consults with city restaurants, while speaking about the jelly-like palm fruit that's all the rage this season. In Kugaji's kitchen, tadgola finds its way into an ice apple and thandai kheer that is garnished with dried fruits and pumpkin seeds. "Both thandai and tadgola are coolants. So, I thought of incorporating them into a kheer-like dessert. It is an under-appreciated fruit, but has great flavours that help beat the heat," she explains.
Reetu Uday Kugaji
But Kugaji isn't the only chef dabbling with ice apples. Standalone restaurants are jumping on this bandwagon, too. Here are four cool ways to make most of the summer treat!
Ice ice baby
It isn't surprising to learn that one of the few chefs experimenting with tadgola is Prateek Sadhu, as it is perfectly in line with the core principles of his unique restaurant Masque. While speaking about the kokum sorbet and pickled tadgola dessert, he tells us, "Tadgola is a versatile and delicious super food. It is both refreshing and packed with minerals and vitamins. However, despite all its benefits, it is still relatively unexplored in India and as it is our endeavour to bring back forgotten ingredients, we wanted to have a unique preparation using the fruit."
At: Masque, Dr E Moses Road, Mahalakshmi.
Time: 7.30 pm to 12 am
Salad to order
At this eatery the ice apple salad (Rs 325) is a signature summer treat comprising orange, charcoal croutons, fresh root vegetables and tadgola, all tossed in an orange-passion fruit vinaigrette. "When the sun is shining, it can drain the body, and even die hard junk food lovers are on the lookout for something light to fortify them. Keeping the soaring temperatures in mind, we have created a dish using fresh and delicious coastal fruits that will help you stay hydrated and keep fatigue, stomach ailments and nausea at bay," says chef Nagraj Bhat, who conceptualised the dish.
At: London Taxi, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel.
Time: 12 pm to 1.30 am
Chilling on a sundae
The summer fruit sundae (Rs 425) at this Goan eatery emerged out of a tribute to the markets of Mapusa, and contains classic summer fruits like mango, tadgola, tender coconut, litchi and candied water chestnut served with a kokum sorbet and condensed coconut milk soup, along with caramelised red rice to add a crunch. Elaborating on the thought behind the dessert, head pastry chef Heena Punwani says, "We wanted for it to taste like summer on a plate. While the fruit component includes summer stars like mango, it gives equal importance to other under-appreciated fruits like tadgola, which is so delicious and refreshing when served ripe and chilled. It's also a fruit that holds nostalgia, for some of us having memories of eating it off street carts."
Chef Heena Punwani
At: O Pedro, Unit 2, Plot C 68, Bandra Kurla Complex.
Time: 12 pm to 1 am
"Tadgola or nungu, as it is called in many parts of South India, is not only known for its cooling effects, but also for its soft and slippery texture and subtle flavour. Coming from the coconut family, it lends a deliciously rich and milky taste to the dessert," says Dharmesh Karmokar while speaking about the nungu payasam (R220), a staple in the South during the summer. "It is a seasonal sweet treat," he adds.
At: Thangabali (all outlets).
Time: 12 pm to 4 pm; 7 pm to 12 am
Call: 8928021253 (Khar West)
Tadgola for health
* It contains a lot of water along with minerals like sodium and potassium, making it a perfect for remedy for dehydration.
* It helps with digestion and reduces acidity and stomach ulcers.
* Ice apples contain phytochemicals that lend antioxidant properties to the fruit. It has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps keep heart disease and cancer at bay.
* Since it's a low-calorie fruit, it's a great sweetener for those on a diet.
* Applying the flesh of tadgolas on irritated or rash-affected areas helps reduce itching.
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