Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bel Phal and Nectar


Bel phal is called Wood apple in English. Many times as a child I have seen my mother use certain fruits that  she associated with her childhood and she enjoyed them in different forms. I never ventured near some of them. Bel phal is one such fruit. It is the first time 2-3 weeks ago I saw wood apple in the supermarket and picked it up for experiments. I knew I could make a chutney or a drink. Chutney would go waste if it smelt strong I thought so the safest was a drink. We can always dilute drinks right!

Now after bringing it home the fruit lay in the tray for weeks. I was seeing it every day and was very sure I would have to throw it out. However this one is a tough nut, literally and metaphorically. It has a hard woody shell. It does not go bad so easily. I used a pestle to break it open just like a coconut. The pulp was ripe brown and very aromatic with a very faint fruity sourness. This fruit is know to be a cure for all ailments of the digestive system.

I went to my bookshelf and referred to "Annapoorna" by Mangala Barve. It gave a recipe that I knew I would atleast like if not love. Enumerating it here for you.

Ingredients
1 bel phal / wood apple
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 cardamoms powdered
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
Juice of 1 lime

More water to make the drink

After breaking the fruit with a spoon scoop out the pulp. In a steel box put the pulp and add sugar. Mix it a bit add a cup of water. Close the box and put it in the fridge. The sugar will dissolve over a couple of hours and will make the fibrous pulp easy to extract. The fibrous pulp has a lot of seeds embedded in it. To remove the seeds the pulp has to be strained through a mesh. 

Pour the pulp in a juice strainer and press it down with the back of a spoon or spatula. Tap the strainer a bit to remove all the pulp. Spice up the drink with powdered cardamom seeds and pepper powder. Add the   lime juice to impart a freshness. Now this pulp can be refrigerated and used when needed. 

To serve in a glass take thick pulp and top up with chilled water. Adjust the consistency of the drink as you like. I wanted to consume all of it so made just three glasses of the juice. It was very thick hence you can call it Bel Nectar!

12 comments:

  1. yes this is a fruit that my parents also relish in summer. Maa has one tree and every evening she would make beler sharbat. this is very good for digestion and for people who have constipation. obviously good for aged persons who always suffer from such problems. great that you brought this fruit in spotlight, otherwise people are forgetting about all these fruits and its goodness.

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  2. Very interesting drink..awesome!

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  3. ya i remember my aaji making all kind of weird concoctions from this fruit and force feeding us, from which we use to run. Think one needs to develop a taste for these kind of fruits .. bel phal, kavaTh etc. think i will appreciate this now much more :)

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  4. Yes only a cultured palate can relish it! It took me all these years to dare.

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  5. is this really bel phal or kavath? they look similar from outside but have a different interior. i feel this is kavath. the chatni with jaggary, jeera, a dash of green chili and a little ginger tastes great with roti...try out























    eallyeally

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  6. Bhagyashree Kaku am not sure. It was labelled as wood apple and wiki calls both bel phal and kavath by the name, however their botanical names are Aegle marmelos and Limonia acidissima respectively.

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    Replies
    1. If the fruit has rough flaky greenish white external surface, is sour inside and the seeds chewable, then it is kawath.
      On the other hand, bel fruit is smooth greenish yellow to greenish brown outside, with orange colored pulp inside which has varying degree of sweetness (but never sour)and hard non chewable seeds.
      In malls both are called wood apple (but they usually sell only kawath). Also note, botanically, both belong to the same family.

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  7. Delicious!! My grandmother loved this and we were treated to it when we visited her!!

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  8. Nice nectar!!! It's kavath wich called wood apple in English.

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  9. This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/2011/05/chocolate-recipe-and-chocolate.html

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  10. kavath and bel phal are the same...

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