One of the aromas that I find very hard to resist is that of ripening guavas. In the winter, it beckons me over to the fruit carts in the vegetable market, much like the heady scent of mangoes does during the summer months. You know how in the Tom and Jerry cartoons the fragrant steam rising from a freshly baked pie transforms into a wispy finger that hooks Jerry by the nose? That’s how guavas work on me.
Of course, my favourite way to consume this beautiful fruit is to simply bite into one that’s yellow and ripe all over. But a few years ago, I happened to eat a guava subzi as part of a winter Gujarati thali (I’ve heard that it’s made in Rajasthan as well) and I was amazed at how utterly delicious it was. I’ve made it a few times since then, always selecting guavas that are just starting to ripen, so that the subzi is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Served with fresh phulkas that have been slathered with ghee, this is my idea of a fuss-free, deeply-satisfying lunch.
Here is my very uncomplicated and quick recipe, which you can adjust according to your taste.
Guavas, just ripening – 3
Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2
Jaggery, grated or powdered – ½ cup
Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped – 1 tbsp
Salt, to taste
Wash the guavas thoroughly and then chop them into bite-sized pieces. You can remove the seeds, if you like, but I usually like texture they add
Heat oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds.
Once the cumin seeds start to pop, add the turmeric powder, followed by the guava and salt.
Mix thoroughly, and cover and cook till the guava pieces are semi-cooked
Add the green chillies, coriander powder and jaggery, along with a little water, if you think the subzi is looking too dry.
Cover and continue to cook till the guava pieces are soft and starting to get a little jammy.
Turn off the heat and mix in the chopped coriander leaves
Serve hot with phulkas, parathas or puris
You can also use red chilli powder in this recipe. Just add it along with the coriander powder. If you’re using red chilli powder, then you can choose to not add the green chillies
You can increase or decrease the amount of jaggery, depending on how sweet you want this subzi to be.
Since this is supposed to be a sweet and sour preparation, you can also add amchoor powder, if you think the flavours are not sufficiently balanced. Just remember to add it towards the end, when the guava is almost cooked.