Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pineapple Kesar Ice Candy

Our childhood was mostly spent with outdoor activities, playing simple games in the hot sun, trekking up the Hat Hill, climbing trees and playing cricket, Badminton, Volley Ball or Soft Ball, sweating it out and then running towards the man with the bicycle loaded with an insulated ice box  on the carrier full of ice candies, and a brass bell that he rang to alert us that the Ice Candy man has arrived! Then we indulged in licking the refreshing cold juice out of the red and yellow coloured frozen candy moulded around bamboo sticks or packed in a polythene tubular pouch named as 'Pepsi Cola'. Pepsi Cola was not branded Multinational product but the humble Mangalorean ice candy in the form of lolly. 
The main flavours of this poor man's life saviour frozen dessert used to be lemon, mango, strawberry and milk(Doodh Candy). Of course they were artificially flavoured, sweetened and coloured but we didn't give a damn even about the water they used to make them. Our elders used to caution us that eating ice candy made with well water may cause cold, cough and fever but we used to conveniently ignore their advice and run for the candies as soon as the ice candy man appeared round the corner!

However, we were choosy, as far as the ice candy man and the hygiene were concerned.  Near our school there used to be a middle aged man as well as an elderly man selling ice candies but the elderly man had a bandage on his leg and we used to feel averse to buy ice candy from him. We used to call him 'Kirmbela' in Tulu which means the one who keeps scratching! So the preference was obviously for the other man who was looking more decent and clean. He sold Bharath Ice candy as far as my memory serves me right.

 Bharath Ice Candy opposite Balaji(Srinivas) Talkies used to be well frozen and without any impurities. The taste used to be perfect, as they added the right amount of essence and artificial sweetner. During school vacations, I used to sit in my father's office in Car Street and twice daily I used to visit Bharath Ice Candy shop and eat fresh ice candy which the owner plucked straight off the metal mould and served. Rama Cold House near our school also had excellent ice candy, made by two brothers, Shivanna and Krishna. The other brand City Ice Candy was also good. During Mangalore Rathotsava there were several ice candy vendors ringing the bell, as well as the Ice Gola makers shaving the ice and flavouring it with cola and other flavours. Some of my friends still have fond memories of the 'Bella Candy' or jaggery ice candy with added grated coconut, but I haven't tasted it. I may come out with the recipe for Bella Candy if I feel lucky to find someone from rural places around Mangalore who still make it. 

Well, those days can not be revived after the invasion of branded frozen food. Today Ideal Ice Cream is a reputed brand that sells ice candy lollies, and I found them hygienic and cost effective. 

However, the urge to make our own ice candy at home was uncontrollable this summer, as I was reminiscing over my childhood days. Hence I went to Market Road and hunted for Ice Candy mould. I was lucky to get one with three different shapes and nine ice candy/kulfi moulds in one. The shop owner told me that Rasna juice can be poured into the moulds and made into ice candy. He also added, that though the moulds have caps with sticks designed in plastic, we can also use bamboo sticks to make authentic ice candies. I had my own apprehension about trying bamboo sticks, hence I used the plastic ones provided with the moulds. Besides, they have them cozy cup like caps that come in handy while relishing the candies. The juices get collected in that cap and keeps out clothes from getting soiled. 

I also decided to make Pineapple Kesar Ice Candy using my own imagination.

Now why Pineapple Kesar Candy, you may ask.

1. Pineapple is a juicy sweet and tangy fruit which suits the candy.
2. Kesar has not only natural orange red saffron colour, but also has a fantastic natural flavour that blends well with pineapple juice.
3. Now being season for pineapples, we had  fresh pineapple in stock!

So here it is, Pineapple Kesar Ice Candy. You may make them in batches, transfer them into a fridge storage box and consume them as and when you feel like, or offer them to your guests. They remain good in frozen condition for days and weeks. Make these lovely delicious lop sticks, lick them and bring back those wonderful childhood days!

1. Pineapple chunks - 2 cups
2. Sugar - 1/2 Cup(Adjust according to taste)
3. Saffron(Kesar) - A pinch

Boil about 2 cups of water.
Take the saffron, powder it with your fingers and add little hot water and soak the saffron in it for 15 minutes.
You can also use a marble mortar and pestle to grind the saffron in hot water. 
Add 1 cup of boiled cooled water to the pineapple chunks and run in the mixer to extract thick juice.
Strain through a sieve twice to get rid of fibers, and keep aside.
Heat sugar in a nonstick saucepan.
Add one cup of the pineapple juice and stir well to dissolve the sugar.
As the juice and sugar mixture starts to boil, add the remaining pineapple juice, bring to a boil and simmer.
Keep stirring from time to time.
Boil for 5-10 minutes, when the juice thickens and reduces in volume.
Now add the saffron water and mix well.
Keep on flame for another 2 minutes and then switch off the flame.
Allow to cool down completely.
In the meanwhile, wash the ice candy moulds and the caps with sticks.
Pour the pineapple saffron juice into the moulds till the brim and seal them with the caps.
Keep in the freezer for 8-12 hours or until the ice candies are well frozen.
For quick use, you may dip the moulds in warm water for 2-3 minutes and then take out the ice candies.
Better keep at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and then remove the ice candies, trasnfer them into a fridge box and store them for later consumption.
The above recipe is sufficient to make 3 glasses of thick Pineapple juice or 9 standard size ice candies.
If you use fresh tangy pineapple, add sugar and if you are making with canned pineapple, You may use the sugar syrup from the can.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chicken Kolhapuri

Chicken Kolhapuri is a Maharastrian signature curry that is very spicy and aromatic. It is like Managalorean signature dish Kori Ghasi but contains more spices and less coconut. Perhaps, it has the influence of Andhra cuisine, for some of the ingredients that go into the masala are identical to Andhra style curries.
I first tasted Chicken Kolhapuri in our own Mangalore, first at a restaurant run by Prakash Prabhu of Nandini Sweets fame at Hotel Maurya(Now Shaan Plaza) on KS Rao Road, and at Hotel Rajadhani on Milagres cross Road in the mid Eighties. Both the restaurants made it pretty well. We friends used to frequent those two restaurants those days on weekends, and our regular order was Chicken Kolhapuri and rotis.

I have gone through various recipes but this is my own formula based on original ingredients that go into the dish, adding a few of my own. Those who like spicy food can go for it, for this curry can clear a coated tongue and blocked nose, at the same time enhance secretion of digestive juices and increase your appetite. Make this on a hot summer day and enjoy the heat that beats the summer heat, or simply relish this on monsoon or cold winter days to keep you warm! 
Chicken(Without skin) - 500 Gms, cut into medium size pieces
Plain Yogurt - 2 Tbsp
Salt - 3/4 Tsp, or according to taste
Red Chilli Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Red Long Chillies(Byadgi or Kashmiri) - 6
Peppercorns - 1/2 Tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 Tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 Tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 Tsp
Caraway Seeds(Ajwain) - 1/4 Tsp
Marata Moggu - 4
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Star Anise - 1
Nutmeg Powder - A pinch
Mace(Javetri) - A pinch
Poppy Seeds(Khus Khus) - 4 Tsp
White Sesame seeds - 2 Tsp
Dry Coconut Bits/Desiccated Coconut - 1/4 cup 
Onions - 2 medium, sliced thin
Green Chillies - 3-4, cut into small pieces
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 Tsp
Kasuri Methi(Optional) - 1 Tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium, chopped
Coriander Leaves - A small bunch, chopped
Refined Vegetable Oil - 4-6 Tsp
Wash, pat dry and marinate chicken pieces with yogurt, 1/4 Tsp salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder for 1-2 hours.
Dry roast 4 red long chillies, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, marata moggu, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg powder, mace, poppy seeds, white sesame seeds and dry coconut till a nice smell emanates.
Heat 2 Tsp oil and fry the onion slices and green chillies with a pinch of salt till oil leaves sides and onions are well browned.
Once cool, dry grind the roasted spices along with dry coconut into a powder.
Add fried onions and green chillies and grind into a fine paste, adding minimum water.
Heat remaining oil in a thick bottomed pan.
Add the remaining 2 red long chillies, fry for 30 secs and keep aside.
In the same oil, fry ginger garlic paste along with the ground masala paste till oil separates.
Add optional kasuri methi and chopped tomatoes and fry till tomatoes are mushy.
Now add the chicken pieces along with the marinade and fry for 3-5 minutes or until chicken turns whitish.
Add one cup of water, remaining salt to taste and half of the chopped coriander leaves, bring to a boil, cover and simmer.
After 15 minutes, chicken will be properly cooked, and oil floats on top.
Now open the lid and check for salt, add the fried red chillies, then switch off the flame.
Garnish with remaining chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with a lemon wedge, along with steamed rice or with choice of rotis.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pineapple Lassi - A Summer Cooler

When we buy pineapple, the whole fruit lasts for 3-4 different recipes. It is my passion to come out with new ideas, cross the horizon and gallop towards new world of exotic recipes. That of course without getting carried away with the western way.

Lassi is our own Indian natural cooler from Punjab, that's made in different flavours and a North Indian meal is always complimented with a tall glass of cool sweet lassi. Some of the fantastic lassi preparation can be found in Punjab and Delhi, but I first tasted very good lassi in Bengaluru in the Eighties. Restaurants like Sukh Sagar, Chandra Sweets, Shakti and Suhas served wonderful lassi. In Mangaluru now a days you can find good lassi sold even in sealed plastic pouch by KMF and a local make 'Swad'. Balwant's Krishna Chats had lip smacking lassi in the Eighties and the Nineties. Some say Balwant adds phova or puffed rice  to make lassi thick but I have my own doubts. I found his lassi very good when he had that cart outside Central Market. Not tried at his present setup opposite to the Central Market.

Just a few days ago I bought a big pineapple that cost just Rs.65/- per piece at More outlet near our home. I made pineapple pudding already and thought of making some summer cooler with it. Meena had experimented with strawberry and mango lassi already. I thought in lines of making pineapple lassi, and whenever I try and make some juice with pineapple, honey and lemon come to my mind. I also felt that a hint of fresh ginger might add to flavour and taste. Then I announced "Pineapple Lassi with Ginger Lemon and Honey will appear soon in our fridge". Meena was not amused, as she's mastered the art of making lassi adding fruits!
Well, when I get new recipe ideas, I search in google first to find if someone like Chef Sanjeev Kapoor or Sanjay Thumma have already come out with that. I searched and found many results, but the one I found at 'Budget Bytes' web page is almost the same as what I had in mind! The author has added ice cubes and made it without adding lemon. I added lemon zest for that lemony bitterness. I also thought of adding Angostura Bitters but restricted myself, as it is not easily available in stores in India and people may get confused how to go about the recipe without it. I also avoided blending the lassi in a mixer. I went the traditional Punjabi way of whipping yogurt in a flask with hand churner. Chilled it in the fridge and avoided adding ice cubes.

So folks, here's the fantastic summer cooler Pineapple Lassi with added ginger, honey and lemon zest for you and your partner. Cheers, and beat the summer heat with a tall refreshing lassi.

You'll most certainly exclaim, "Pineapple Lassi Jaisi Koi Nahin!"

Plain Curd(Yogurt)  - 300 Ml
Pineapple - 4 Slices chopped(Around 1 and 1/2 cup)
Cold water - 1 Cup
Ginger - 1" piece grated
Sugar - 4-6 Tsp
Salt - A pinch
Honey - 4 tsp
Lemon  Zest
Transfer pineapple chunks along with sugar, salt and grated ginger into a mixer jar and blend for 2 minutes.
Add water and run the mixer for another 2 minutes.
Strain the juice and collect in a bowl.
Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Take the curd in a flask or a pot.
Whip well with the hand churner for 2-3 minutes.
Don't whip more, as you may get butter formation in the lassi.
Take a tall glass and fill it half with lassi. Drizzle one teaspoonful of honey.
Top up with pineapple juice.
Drizzle one more teaspoonful of honey, grate lemon and sprinkle zest over the frothy top and serve garnished with a slice of lemon.
Stir gently as you sip the cool stuff reading a book or magazine, watching a TV show, working on your computer or just relaxing in your easy chair watching nature. 
Ingredients in this recipe are sufficient to make two tall glasses of lassi(Approx 300 Ml each).
You may increase the proportions according to your need.


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