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.

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