Orange is the new hack: How to give dishes a citrus twist with the winter fruit

The chill is still lingering in Mumbai’s air and before it disappears, making the most of the season and its produce is a must. Surely those who love cooking don’t even need a nudge to visit the market and look for their favourite winter ingredients but for those who can’t cook, it may be quite a task. However, they can find joy in the simpler things by experimenting with seasonal fruits easily available right now. 

While strawberries usually steal the show during this time of the year, oranges are cheaper and are found in every house. The uncertainty of whether citrus fruits will taste sweet or sour may often discourage people from using them, don’t forget there’s an equal amount of flavour to explore with oranges. Adding them to any dish can be quite refreshing and may even end up surprising you.

Before the winter ends, Mid-day Online reached out to chefs in the city who love using seasonal fruits like oranges in their food. These chefs use the dish not only in desserts with beer but also salads and to make a delicious dip. 

Chef Viraf Patel makes a delicious orange ice cream but with a boozy twist by adding in-house craft beer to it. Photo: Independence Brewing Company

Orange Craft Ice cream by Chef Viraf Patel, Independence Brewing Company, Versova
The easiest way to use oranges is by turning them into ice creams. Chef Patel, who is also the director of operations with the restaurant, says he makes use of oranges in different ways. While using them in a delicious arugula and orange salad is one of them, the other is using the fruit to make ice cream. Although it`s winter, ice creams never go out of season. Since many people are still working from home, it also gives them a chance to try their hand at making homemade ice cream. 

Egg yolk – 3 nos, milk – 250 ml, castor sugar – 100 gms, orange (whole) – 1 no, BandWit (IBC beer) or any regular beer – 150 ml, vanilla extract – 1 drop.  

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
2. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan.
3. Combine the hot milk and the egg/sugar mixture, mix well.
4. Pour back into the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
5. Cook to the Rose – In this process, the custard (milk, sugar, egg) is cooked to a thick consistency, when taken on the back of a wooden spoon and blown upon, one sees the shape of a rose. Allow the mixture to cool in the freezer until chilled. 
6. Wash and zest the orange and juice it.
7. In a separate saucepan, cook the beer with the orange juice and reduce it to 1/3 the quantity.
8. Combine the zest, custard and beer reduction and pour into an ice cream maker and set. 
9. If you do not have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture while churning it every 15-20 mins until firm (note this process will have icicles compared to the machine process). 
10. Scoop up and enjoy.

Gurmeet Arora suggests using oranges in a salad which has the freshness of mixed greens, crunch from the nuts and creaminess from cottage cheese. Photo: Flax

The Garden Crunch by Gurmeet Arora, owner, Flax, across all outlets 
Orange can be made the star of desserts but it can also work well in something as versatile as a salad. Why opt for a regular sad when you can add more to it by including oranges? This one, recommended by owner Gurmeet Arora and served at the restaurant, goes beyond the usual to add freshness from the mixed greens, crunch from the nuts, creaminess from the cottage cheese and the distinct taste of a zesty orange to produce a burst of flavours in the mouth. 

Mixed greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, leafy Simpson, arugula) – 50 gms, Oranges (diced) – 50 gms, grilled cottage cheese (paneer) – 60 – 70 gms, zucchini (long thin strips like noodles) – 25 gms, carrot (thinly shredded) – 20 gms, spring onion – 6 gms, red pepper slice – 18 gms, red cabbage – 30 gms, roasted peanuts – 12 gms, roasted almonds – 12 gms, chia seeds – handful, flax seeds – handful, nutty ginger dressing – 50 ml. 

1. Take a salad bowl and mix all the greens, zucchini, carrot, spring onion, sliced red peppers and red cabbage.
2. On the top, add grilled cottage cheese, diced orange, roasted peanuts, roasted almonds, chia and flax seeds.
3. Pour nutty ginger dressing and serve fresh.

Orange Hummus by Chef Makrand Samant, Kyma, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East
Do you want to experiment with oranges beyond their use in desserts and salads? Samant, the executive chef for Mediterranean cuisine at Kyma, the newly-opened middle-eastern restaurant in the city suggests innovating with the traditional hummus. He makes the much-loved dip by adding a seasonal touch to it with oranges.

Boiled chickpeas – 100 gms, roasted garlic – 5 gms, tahina – 10 gms, orange reduction – 5 ml, harissa – 15 gms, salt – 5 gms, lemon juice – 3 ml, orange essence as per requirement. 

1. Boil the chickpeas. 
2. After boiling, grind them into a paste.
3. Add roasted garlic paste, tahini paste, orange reduction, harissa paste, salt, lemon juice and orange essence.
5. Churn it into a smooth paste.
6. Garnish with olive oil and Malta orange and serve with pita bread.

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