Popsicles are the new buzz this summer in my kitchen. And the mint and pineapple popsicles are topping the flavor chart so far. The sweetness and tartness of pineapple combined with a notch of chaat masala and mint create a flavor bomb. One bite and you will be reminded of kala khatta – a familiar Indian flavor which is hard to describe in words. A flavor so close to my heart. But this one is not exactly like kala khatta making it even more exquisite. So for anyone else who loves the combination of sweet and sour or who might need a little boost in the afternoon. I’m happy to report that these mint and pineapple popsicles are both tasty and energizing. And just basically delightful.
Meethe Chawal or the sweet pulao is considered one of the most auspicious dishes in Punjabi Cuisine. Desserts made with rice are popular in Punjabi to name few – Kheer, Phirni and this unusual version of savory rice is a specialty prepared on certain festive occasions. Considered a good omen, to combine yellow rice with sugar and serve it as a sacred offering to the deity of the family. Enriched with the aroma and color of saffron and cardamom, this sweet pulao is the fitting end to a conventional Punjabi meal. The earthy taste of whole spices and the sweetness of saffron make this sweet pulao a perfect melody of flavors. Don’t forget to garnish Meethe Chawal with a generous amount of almonds and pistachios before serving.
Kheer and the sweet dish season is back. We have officially entered the festive season in India. An array of festivities lined up in the upcoming months and they come to the halt with the year ending. Samavat Rice Kheer is one of the old school puddings that make a perfect dessert for the festive feasts. Simple, no fuss making process and the conventional creamy texture are the highlights of this gluten-free pudding. The only twist we have introduced in the Sama Rice Kher Recipe is adding a layer of fruits before serving. We love our puddings and custards chilled. Winter season as well is no exception for this rule. And the combination of chilled, thick and rich kheer layered with sweet and ripe mangoes, is definitely a gratifying experience for the food senses. If you thinking where to get mangoes in the month of October, then take a look around surprisingly it is still available. At least, it is still here in Delhi.
The charm of summer in Delhi is the lack of inspiration around. We miss the enticing last summer. We were in hometown, Nainital, far away from the rest of the world, where summer is for perfect family picnics, trekking expeditions, local berries and seasonal fruits. But by the time winter came, we started missing the urban civilization and buzzing lifestyle. And to experience that, we shifted our base to Delhi – the heart of the nation. Summer in Delhi is deserted – the only sound is of an occasional bird cuckooing in the garden or a slow, rusty leaf falling from the tree. As described by the famous writer Ahmed Ali, Delhi summer is the season of ‘unending noon’. But even in the midst of such dullness, the beautiful hue of Jamun (Java Plum) inspired me to step ahead and play with the flavors of the fruit. Hence, the result is Jamun (Java Plum) frozen Yogurt.
Rice Kheer Recipe is an age old traditional Indian pudding prepared with three basic ingredients – milk, rice and sugar. The combination of these humble ingredients results in a mouth melting pudding. The full-fat milk is simmered, stirred till it thickens and each grain of rice if perfectly over-cooked. The natural starch of the rice and the right condensation of the milk gives Kheer its creamy texture and not cornflour or artificial thickening agent. The addition of slightly crushed green cardamoms instills a subtle aroma in the pudding. In India, we love our desserts, puddings dressed up in vivacious colors, luring perfumes embellished with edible adornment. But opposite to this, Chawal Ki Kheer has an elegant appearance. The fine layer of flavors, the adequate hint of saffron and cardamom perfume, and an uncomplicated air around Kheer are few good enough reasons to make this pudding an Indian festive favorite.
Jalebi Recipe, a conventional Indian sweet, which needs no defining introduction. This deep-fried pretzel like sweet – dish from India is well celebrated among the food lovers. The batter prepared with white flour defined into twisted and tangled concentric circles, deep-fried till crunchy and later dunked in saccharine sugar syrup. The moment batter touches the hot oil it starts taking whimsical shapes as if the batter has a mind of its own. The pair of hands seasoned with years of practice could only master the tactful technique of shaping perfect Jalebi. That precise moment of the wrist is required to create exemplary well-coordinated circles. It is always absorbing to watch the Halwai make Jalebis. The man sitting beside the wide and flat skillet filled with pre-heated oil, the batter filled in a muslin cloth, he moves his wrist like a magic wand in a rhythmic motion over the kadhai and voila, there you have Jalebi ready.
Pahadi Vrat Ki Panjiri is saccharine homemade fudge with a warmth of spices to its flavor. There is a pleasant drop in the temperature, early morning breeze has a welcoming note to it and the evenings are cozy. It is officially autumn knocking at the door with its full bloom. While brewing the first cup of tea in the morning, there is a kind of charming quietness and crispness in the air. That moment of the day I want to hold time hostage for a while and let my thoughts immerse in the first rays of the sun. Once such morning, while sipping coffee memories of a spicy kind of sweet mother used to prepare before winters cluttered my mind. The vague memories of its taste lingered in my taste buds. As the day progressed into a bright sunny one, I called mother, the first few introductory lines about the mysterious fudge were enough for her to guess the name – Vrat Ki Panjiri.
Basundi Recipe is a traditional Gujarati milk pudding laced with the rich flavor of saffron and dry fruits. We are slowly and steadily creeping into the celebratory mood with all the Indian festivals lined up in the coming month. During the festive season we don’t mind to come out of our cocoon and share some light moments with the loved ones. In our family gleeful memories are often interlinked with good food. The jubilant moments are shared with each other over a table laid with delicious homemade food. And post every family meal sharing recipe notes is a ritual we hardly give amiss. Recipes shared by the aunts while relishing the bowl full of dessert are the part of my ancestral treasure. Their recipes are not accurate about the measurement or cooking time, some cooking instructions are missed while dictating, yet the end result is always satisfying. Sometimes, I wonder, maybe it is the years of cooking experience that make their vague recipe draft much more precise than a cookbook recipe.