One of my most favorite fruit in Mumbai is the Guava, commonly referred to as peru in Hindi. It is generally found in the summer/fall seasons and is a great, filling, and wholesome snack to have at anytime of the day. In the last one year of living in Mumbai, I have developed a deep fondness for the fruit and have learned to appreciate its tarty flavor and nutritional value. More importantly, I have come to appreciate the way in which it is consumed in Mumbai.
If you have been to Mumbai at this time of the year, you will find hand carts loaded with perus at every street corner. Each cart has different types of perus, all having a various price range. You can see what I am referring to in the picture below:
You will notice above the distinct demarcations of the perus. You may purchase one for as little is Rs. 3/- to as high as Rs.6/- In the evenings, there are always people stopping by the cart to pick up a healthy snack on their way back from work. What is most intriguing is the way in which peru is consumed in Mumbai (and I am sure in other parts of India as well). You will notice in the picture below, a box containing a peach colored mixture of sorts:
This, my friends, is a sublime and delectable mixture of salt and red chilli powder! I have often avoided this mixture thinking it would taste awful and I often wondered how ludicrous people could be to apply this mixture on their perus…….until I tried it myself last week. I was passing by a peru cart and I mustered the courage to buy a peru and this time, instead of just giving the man the money and walking away, I waited for him to ask me the question, “Do you want masala on the peru?” I said yes.
The old man proceeded to smear a thin layer of this mixture on each quarter of the peru that he had cut open. I dared to put a piece in my mouth and was pleasantly taken by surprise when I discovered a medley of flavors in my mouth. It was a really strange but welcome experience. I asked the man why people eat their perus this way and he explained to me that the nutritional properties of the peru are such that they tend to create “cold” in the body, which means that, people tend to get colds easily if they eat too many perus. However, if consumed with the mixture of salt and chilli powder, one does not tend to catch a cold. Yes, in India, we have a panacea for every dilemma.
I checked this out with my next door neighbor who swore by this idea and was aghast at how I have been eating perus without this divine mixture. I have to say, I have been missing out on this unique taste of “tarty meets salty meets spicy” and look forward to eating many a perus with the seasoning.
So the next time you are in Mumbai and it happens to be Peru season, do stop by and indulge in a little piece of heaven!