An extremely delicious, sweet-tart, wild fruit, obtained annually, during rainy season, in our village market. The tribals selled bamboo basketfuls of these delicious fruits, which I always insisted to buy, as a kid. Underneath the thick, green peel and hard pericarp, was lodged the edible soft, flesh-colored pulp. The raw fruits were tough to break and too sour to eat; but, the mature, ripe ones were too tasty to describe in words. Not to forget the appetizing aroma. Even when I left home for hostel, my mother made it a point to buy some and keep in the refrigerator, for me to come in the holidays and enjoy. I am not sure, whether these trees exist anymore in the local forests or have been hacked for firewood and timber. It's pity, such endemic tropical fruits can not find their way to bigger markets.
This granular stuff is shredded and semi-dehydrated tender bamboo shoots. It is considered an annual delicacy, relished as a side-dish, in my village in India. The local tribal women cut the newly sprouted bamboo, laboriously chop it into minute cubes, subject to sun drying to eliminate fungal growth and sell when it is semi-dried and start emanating a characteristic aroma. My mother purchases the stuff and use as a garnishing ingredient for many preparations. Far far away now, i can just reminisce the seasoned, sour bamboo taste.
Many of you may not be aware that the bitter neem tree flowers can be consumed...yes, in certain parts of India, during the spring bloom, the fragrant flowers are cooked into quite a delicious recipe...adding tangy tomato, tamarind or raw mango subdue the bitterness of the flowers and render it edible....though, not regularly, for a few times a year, I am all game to try this preparation.......
These are edible fungi, the truffles (not quite mushrooms). These globose fungi sprout underneath the ground, on first spell of monsoon rain (in June-July) in India. The tribal women hunt these much-in-demand forest products (a highly laborious job) and sell in the local market. I absolutely relish the delicacy prepared by my mother. These umami-flavoured, gustatory delights are highly prized in culinary world. As per consumer demand, these expensive fungi have even found use in pickle, sauce, cheese and beverages.