Mumbai chefs share experimental lychee recipes

With the Internet going crazy over #stuffedlychee recipes, city chefs suggest tips to ace the innovation game with the floral-flavoured fruit


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Knowing how to not go wrong is often the handbook to getting things right. In the past few weeks, lychees stuffed with all kinds of sweet and savoury fillings have featured more than just a couple of times in our daily Reel browsing. Watching hollow juicy arils ooze out mawa, khoya, gulkand, puréed mango, crab meat, or prawn and goji berries can be oddly satisfying. Is it tricky to fill a tropical fruit with flavours and textures that complement its floral-fruity notes? Chefs say yes. But fret not because they have also come up with easy suggestions to create elevating dishes with a fruit that’s both sweet and tart.   

Seedless and stuffed

Cooking local

Cooking local

Gaurav Gidwani, chef, F&B developer, BrewDog India

It makes me happy that people have finally begun experimenting with seasonal fruits in the main course. This gives chefs an opportunity to showcase local produce. While stuffing the fruit with milk products is a popular trend, I feel the burst of sugar can subdue the subtle flavour of lychees.  I have developed a far eastern savoury curry with lychees, water chestnuts and romrang berries. The tart in these fruits uplifts one another. The curry is sweet, tangy and spicy. The texture of this fruit is also important. Anybody innovating with lychees shouldn’t overcook it; or else it loses  both texture and taste.

Gaurav Gidwani, chef, F&B developer, BrewDog India

Saving for later

Juliano Rodrigues, chef, Out of The Blue

Juliano Rodrigues, chef, Out of The Blue

If someone wants to whip up a novelty, they should first understand the fruit. It’s an acidic fruit, and the acidity must be balanced in the dish. While developing recipes, I also think of its shelf life. A dish should last for a couple of days. When lychees are stuffed with mawa, their shelf life decreases. In our ratatouille version, we add some cheese to the preparation — just enough to hold form. Retaining the fruit’s succulence in any combination is vital, too. People can de-seed and freeze the fruit so that these juices don’t drain out.

Delicate as a flower

Saloni Kukreja, chef and recipe developer

Saloni Kukreja, chef and recipe developer

I recently spotted lychees stuffed with cream cheese and crystalised ginger on the Internet. It looked delicious. I would even love to make crystalised ginger and sesame ice cream -stuffed lychees someday. I feel a lychee’s delicate notes need to be preserved while experimenting. The vessel-like structure of the fruit makes it apt for stuffings, but an overpowering and unbalanced flavour profile should  be avoided. 

Stuffed lychee with ratatouille

Stuffed lychee with ratatouille

For mix floret couscous

Ingredients
. 50 gm grated cauliflower
. 50 gm grated broccoli 
. 1 tsp chopped parsley 
. 1 tbsp chopped onion 
. 1 tsp chopped garlic  
. 1 tsp oil  
. Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and sauté. Then, add grated cauliflower and broccoli to the pan, and cook until done. Adjust the seasoning and keep it aside for later. 

For stuffed lychees with ratatouille

Ingredients
. 5 de-seeded lychees 
. 2 tbsp small diced tomatoes 
. 1 tbsp small diced onion  
. 2 tbsp small diced zucchini 
. 2 tbsp small diced mixed peppers 
. 1 tbsp small diced brinjals 
. 1/4 cup tomato sauce 
. Salt and pepper to taste
. 1 tsp chopped garlic 
. 1 tsp oil 
. 1/4 tsp mixed herbs 
. 1 tbsp parmesan cheese 

Method
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the chopped garlic. Now, add all the ingredients except for lychees and parmesan cheese. Cook the vegetables on a low flame. Add cheese and season the mix when it is ready. Wait for it to cool down before stuffing the de-seeded lychees with 
this mix. 

For sumac veggies

Ingredients
. 1/3 cup mixed vegetables 
. 1/4 cup tomato sauce 
. 1 tbsp sumac
. 1 tbsp chopped onion 
. 1 tbsp chopped garlic 
. 1 tsp oil 
. Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Begin with heating oil in a pan and quickly fry the chopped onion and garlic. Then, add the other vegetables along with the portion of tomato sauce. Cook the ingredients until they gather texture. Lastly, add sumac, salt and pepper.   

For assembly
First place the couscous on the plate, followed by the sumac veggies and stuffed lychees. You can garnish it with some bocconcini cheese, but that is optional. 







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