Grapes are in season!

by Sanjeev Kapoor

It is the grape season and the best time of the year for fruit lovers in Mumbai. As the days progress, the displays in the market change! I see mounds of grapes – black and green have started to arrive and they are really good for health. I only urge you to wash them properly because pesticides might be clinging to the sweet, soft fruit and dirt and dust too dominate. Anything fresh and seasonal is good for the body and grapes are known for cholesterol lowering qualities. (For the finer picture, grapes do go into the making of red wine that is good for the heart in moderate quantity!)

So what does one do with a bunch of grapes besides enjoying them as a snack? Bakers could use them creatively to make fresh grape and walnut muffins – using whole wheat flour instead of refined flour and add wheat bran for added fibre. I use brown sugar for the deeper flavour and colour and another healthy ingredient – walnuts. As the black grapes are chopped and mixed into the batter at an early stage of mixing, the juice of the grapes is well blended into the muffin. Have them warm as they are at their best.

Bigger challenge lies in using this sweet fruit in savoury dishes. My tip to seafood lovers is that grapes with their juiciness are wonderful to cook with fish and prawns. Take a batch of deveined prawns. And handful of red, green and black grapes. Now, skewer them on toothpicks alternately. Sprinkle a little salt and start cooking on an oiled grill. Heat half cup honey in and add three-fourth cup balsamic vinegar with a dash of salt. Add red chilli flakes and remove from heat. Continue cooking your angoori kababs till nice and evenly done. Place them on an attractive plate and pour the sweet-sour sauce over. Serve and enjoy the compliments. Such a simple dish but always a hit!

Another excellent partner for grapes is cheese! Mozzarella with chopped grapes on strongly made garlic bread when put under the hot grill turns out a starter that is startling with specks of chilli flakes. Just be sure that the grapes are chopped as it is not advisable to bite into a hot cooked whole grape! And if cheese is a good friend, pasta cannot be far behind. Use fusilli for better texture and black grapes for better visual. Add broccoli, red capsicums, baby tomatoes, basil and dress it up with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, oregano and crushed grapes. Toss really well and serve it in a deep bowl with a sprinkling of cheese.

Baby Corn and Kale Angoor is my personal pick this season-Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan; add 1 tablespoon ginger paste, 1 tablespoon garlic paste and 2 chopped green chillies. Cook on medium heat briefly. Add 2 boiled onions made to paste in half cup of water. Cook on high heat, stirring continuously until oil starts separating. Add ½ cup grated mawa and cook till mawa gets mixed with onion paste thoroughly. Add ½ cup tomato puree, ½ cup whisked yogurt, 1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. Stir continuously. Add 2 peeled & chopped apples and half a cup of water. Cook covered on medium heat, stirring occasionally till apples are mashed thoroughly. Add chopped 12-15 baby corn that are lightly blanched and about 75 grams of chopped seedless black grapes, mix well and add salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh cream, mix well. Mix in 1 teaspoon garam masala powder and serve garnished with some more chopped black grapes.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.