Anar ka Ras, Spicy
Pomegranate is a tasty fruit, its juice is one of my favourite juices. I remember eating pomegranate as a child, sprinkled with a little Chat Masala or salt, black pepper and lemon juice. It is one of the most delicious of juices, give it a try! The seeds are a little hard; most people prefer to spit them out after squeezing the juice out by gently chewing on them. Some people find it difficult to peel it, but once you have learnt how, it is quite simple. Amount of juice per pomegranate depends upon its size, quality and freshness.
Pomegranate is considered to have a lot of medicinal properties in Ayurvedic and other alternative Indian medicine systems. Its juice, apart from being tasty, is given to people with stomach upset in India, because of its soothing properties. It is rich in sodium, which is a bonus for people with diarrhoea. Its fruit is considered to be a mild astringent and cooling agent, so its juice is given in fevers. Its ability to keep for long periods without refrigeration, made it a popular food for travellers in olden days. As a source of vitamin C, it helped to keep the gums of sailors healthy on ships.
Before the days of juicers and liquidizers, it was harder to get the juice out, the pearls were often squeezed through a handkerchief sized muslin cloth. I remember my mum juicing it this way. If you have a juicer, that is fine, but I often squeeze the juice out in a potato ricer, as shown in the pictures. Serves 1
1 tsp. Chat Masala. You can add salt and pepper instead or drink the juice as it is.
Juicer or Blender or potato ricer/masher
To peel a pomegranate, first cut off the crown and base off. Now make 4 perpendicular cuts through the skin only, encircling the whole fruit.
Gently tease the quarters of pomegranate open; put your thumb where the crown was and gently pull apart the 4 sections. Invert each quarter inside out by pushing it through the middle of its skin. Most of the seeds will pop out and can be removed easily by gently teasing them off with your fingers. Remove membranes and discard those, they can be bitter.
If you have a juicer, follow instructions to take juice out. If not, place seeds/pearls in a blender and blitz and strain the juice.
If you have a potato ricer, place a couple of tablespoons of seeds in it and press. The juice will come out easily. See pictures.
Add chat masala or salt and pepper, stir and serve chilled. You can serve it without chat masala too.
You can add juice of 1-2 oranges to get a slightly different flavour and taste.