There are a number of seasonal fruits available in all tropical countries. I am always curious to find out the local fruits when I travel to any new place. I visit markets and look for ingredients that are not familiar to me. On one such occasion, I was in a farmers market in Mumbai and I came across a fruit that looked similar to a mud apple or sapodilla. But this one was smaller in size and uneven in shape.
I asked the fruit vendor about this fruit. She said that fruit is called ‘aaleev’ in Marathi. It looks like a mud apple but is not at all similar in taste. I was keen on tasting this fruit which I had seen for the very first time. The fruit vendor told me that it was foraged from a hillside and was native to the western part of India. It’s growing season is summer and it can be preserved to be enjoyed for the entire year. To preserve aaleev, cut it into slices, discard the seed, sprinkle the fruit with lots of salt and sun-dry the fruit for 10-15 days. The fruit slices will turn crisp on complete drying. If dried properly, this will last you for an entire year.
I tasted the fruit and was completely surprised by its smell and taste.
Colour: Dark amber
Flavour: The fruit had a pungent smell and was extremely sour. It tasted like tamarind but was a lot sourer. The sour after-taste also reminded me of rhubarb. I could also relate the smell to jackfruit.
Later, I tried the fruit with salt. I could now taste the fruit better because the sourness of the fruit was reduced by the added salt.
I would say that this fruit needs an acquired taste to be enjoyed because it is different than any other ingredient.
Texture: The fruit had an overall course and grainy pulp.
Due to its limited availability, it often gets consumed in villages and thus never reaches the city markets. Another reason being that the fruit is not cultivated in orchards and no one will pay a high price for it in the cities.