This is a favourite fruit of many Bengali kids around the world!! You can get it dried all times of the year or fresh at that particular time of year when they ripen on the trees in Bangladesh. My happiest childhood memories come from when I was 10 and spent 6 months in Bangladesh with my parents and sisters visiting my HUGE extended family. I was too young to appreciate the family but remember throwing stones at the ‘boroi gas’ jujube trees with my cousins and then jumping on the fallen jujubes with screams of glee and joy!!
Above the normal jujube ‘boroi’ varying in size a little larger than a pea to a cherry.
Normally they taste sweet when ripe with a hint of sour. They are soft and gooey!! They just melt in your tongue whilst the skin has fun getting stuck on the upper side of your mouth. You can eat them unripe with salt or a salt and chilli mix. You can eat them ripe in the same way!!
You can make a sour fish soup with them (‘Boroi Tenga’ in Bengali) of which a recipe will be posted once I’ve edited the photos!!
But by far my favourite way to eat them is by squashing them in Bamboo. I have no pictures of this instrument made particularly for eating jujube in Bangladesh. A foot long piece of bamboo-one end open and one end closed. Another smaller piece of bamboo that fits into the whole length and mashes the jujube up with various other ingredients to make a chutney that is gulped up by everyone within a few seconds of being prepared. Unfortunately I have no pics of this wonderful culinary contraption. And whilst in Bangladesh last year and half of this year, I wasn’t blogging yet.
I will make this chutney with my wooden mortar & pestle over the next few days as it’s ripe jujube time here in Cambodia now and post the results!!
There are 2 distinct types of this fruit. One which is slightly larger and can be found in Bangladesh all year round and is called ‘bilathi boroi’ which means ‘foreign jujube’. This is the size of a small cherry tomato. This has very little taste once you’ve tried the smaller marble sized version. The larger version is missing the sourness which is a highlight of this fruit. And then there’s one variety called ‘Sini Boroi’ meaning sugar jujube which are the size of very small seedless grapes. They are far sweeter than the other versions. I remember eating them directly from the trees ripe. Even with worms-we would just bit the part with the wormhole off (and hopefully not discover half a worm… :-)) and gobbled them up!!
Unripe they are green, ripe they turn golden yellow and then orange brown. They are hard whilst yellow or green and soft and gooey when orange brown.
You can make something called ‘boroi gila’ from their juices. It is an arduous process which takes over a week of repeatedly cooking up the juices in spices and eventually forming lumps the size of large strawberries – very dark brown almost black in colour- which are then dried for days under the hot Bangladeshi sun. Once dried properly they will keep for at least a year!! I watched this process earlier this year whilst in Bangladesh when one of my loving aunts made them!! Of course no pictures or recipes because I never saw the need- before being a blogger!
Every trip my father made to Bangladesh throughout my childhood – his return was highlighted with a freshly made stock up of these wonderfully sour ‘sweet’ treats!! They were definitely far superior to any chocolate I’ve ever ate!! Maybe it’s my asian taste buds- ‘sour’ is our ‘sweet’!!
Below the larger Jujube ‘bilathi boroi’ slightly oblong in shape whereas the small ones are spherical. they vary in size from a cherry to a ping pong ball.