Lychee (Litchi chinensis) is a delicious and juicy fruit. Botanically it belongs to Sapindaceae family. The translucent, flavoured aril or edible flesh of the lychee is popular as a table fruit in India, while in China and Japan it is preferred either dried or canned. Lychee orignated from southern China, particularly the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien. The spread of lychee to other parts of the world was rather slow due to its soil, climatic requirements and the short life span of it’s seed. Lychees reached India through Myanmar and the North East region during the 18th Century. India is the second largest producer of lychees in the world after China. Other major producing countries are Thailand, Australia, South Africa, Madagascar and Florida in US.
Lychee is a small fruit with a sweet smell, taste and packed with healthy nutrients. It is available mostly this season. It has rough skin on the outside while it contains a juicy flesh inside. It is also used as medicine in China.
Why is the Lychee fruit is healthy?
Lychee contains a good amount of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin B-complex and phytonutrient flavonoids. Lychee is a rich source of nutrients that is required for the production of blood. It provides manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and folate that are required for the formation of RBC’s. Lychee contains healthy fiber which not only increases metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrate but also suppresses appetite. Lychee also offers a high amount of antioxidants which is effective in preventing early ageing.
Lychee also contains a good amount of potassium which is required to maintain the sodium and fluid level (balance electrolyte) in the body. Thus it helps to maintain high blood pressure and it reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Antioxidants are effective to protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress. So it protects from degenerative disease and prevents arthritis.
Lychee is also effective to protect the body from asthma. The dietary fiber found in the furit is considered as one of the best nutrients that promotes cardiovascular health.
LyCHee REDEFINED with BERRIES AND ROSE COULIS
100 grams fresh lychees puree
20 grams dehydrated milk powder
10 grams agar agar powder
30 ml condensed milk
30 ml rose water
FOR THE COULIS
100 ml rooh afzaa sharbat
100 gram fresh raspberry
Finely puree fresh lychees and pass it through a seive.
Add milk powder, condensed milk and rose water and mix well.
Combine agar agar with cold water and mix till there are no lumps
Mix all the ingredients along with agar agar and set it over night on a round silicon mould
FOR THE COULIS
Finely puree all the ingredients and cook in a pan for ten minutes
Pass it through a seive and keep it in a refrigerator
FOR THE ASSEMBLY
In a plate put the dessert in the middle, garnish with fresh berries, pour the coulis separately
LITCHI AND SEAFOOD Ceviche
For 4 people
200 grams fresh grouper
100 grams shrimps
02 lemon, juiced
01 diced ripe tomato
10 lychees de-seeded
01 firm ripe avocado
1 shallot thinly sliced
50 ml fresh lychees juice
½ tea spoon red chilli paste
01 garlic clove crushed
Purple corn tortilla chips
Place diced grouper, boiled shrimps in a glass bowl and cover it with 3/4 of the lemon juice and the lychees juice. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Strain when ready to use
Mix the diced litchi and the other vegetables with the remaining lemon juice. Stir in the marinated seafood.
Add olive oil, salt and pepper, chopped cilantro and the chilli paste.
Gently toss and serve in a glass dish garnished with litchi and tortilla chips
KATHAL and lychee BIRYANI with lychee RAITA
Course: Main course
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
INGREDIENTS FOR THE RICE
02 cups long grain basmati rice
2 tsp salt
4 cups water
02 dried bayleaf
04 green cardamom
2 inch piece cinnamon
02 sprig mint leaves
FOR THE MASALA
01 medium sized raw jackfruit
10 tinned lychees
3 tbsp vegetable oil
03 tbsp ghee
01 tsp shahi zeera
01 cup onion thinly sliced
2 tbs ginger chopped
3-4 green chillies
01 cup yoghurt
01 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
Salt to taste
FOR THE GARNISH
1/2 cup golden fried onions
2 tbsp mint leaves chopped
10-12 cashew nuts fried until golden
10-15 strands of saffron soaked
1 tbsp milk
FOR THE RAITA
01 cup fresh yoghurt
05 tinned lychees
50 ml lychee juice
FOR THE RICE
Wash the rice and soak in enough water for 30 minutes.
Drain the water and add the rice to a heavy bottom pan along with four cups of water, salt, bayleaves, green cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
Cook the rice until it is 80 percent done.
FOR THE MASALA
Heat cooking oil in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, add jackfruit and fry until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and keep aside.
In the same pan, add ghee.
Once the ghee is hot, add shahi zeera and onion and fry until onion is golden brown.
Add ginger and green chillies and fry for a minute.
Add yogurt, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and fried jackfruit and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Now add mint, coriander and salt and cover and cook the jackfruit until it is done.
Add little water if required. Finally mix the whole litchi
FOR THE RAITA
Whisk the yoghurt with the litchi juice.
Add chopped litchi and mix well.
Serve chilled garnish with nuts.
ASSEMBLING THE BIRYANI
In a heavy bottom pan, add the jackfruit masala.
Sprinkle some golden fried onions, mint leaves, cashew nuts and raisins.
Cover with cooked rice.
Top with the remaining golden fried onions, mint leaves, cashew nuts, raisins and saffron soaked in milk.
Cover the pan tightly and cook on very low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve hot with raita.