Categories
Beverages Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Streetfood Vegetarian

Aam Pana – Green Mango Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianAs we drove to indian store a few weeks back, I told the husband “Oh I doubt they would have any more”, though secretly,I desired that they had ordered more of these chubby, tart green mangoes which are gateway to aroma and taste of indian summer into my little kitchen. I approached the mango carton first thing though I was there to stock up on green chilies, baby eggplants and curry leaves. I hurriedly tore the plastic bag and started my selection.”She’s a little too excited about them”, I overheard the husband telling the store keeper whose reply made me smile ear to ear,” Will be getting more in few days”.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianThis summer has been rather good as far as seasonal produce goes. Except the blueberries which I climbing the price ladder each week, we are enjoying the bounty a lot. I bought squash and first cherries home over the weekend  but I am more happy that the supply of raw mangoes exported from India will continue in our local store. After pickling, adding them to lentils and chutneys, I also made this drink last week.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indian

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianWhile the raw mangoes were boiling and the cumin was slow roasting, I plucked up few leaves from my potted mint, tore them from the twigs, bathed them in the kitchen sink and set on the counter. My hands started to smell of the herb and a strong aroma filled up the nostrils only to be replaced a few moments later by the sweet-smelling cardamom as I broke open the pod. Suddenly, the kitchen was engulfed in the perfume of herbs and spices. I was at once transported to being a child again, drinking aam pana first thing from the jug in the refrigerator after getting back from school.

Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indianAam (mango) pana/panna is tart, sweet and spicy drink popular in India during the cruel summer months.The recipe is very simple and quick.You could roast or grill the mangoes for a smoky flavor instead of boiling them. Just keep in mind not to overdo the mint, cardamom or cumin since the pronounced taste has to be of the mango here.
Sinfully Spicy - Aam Pana, Green Mango, Mint & Cardamom Drink #indian

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 5-6 green mangoes,unripe
  • (scant) pinch of hing (asafetida,optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (can be increased to 1/2 cup or to taste)
  • 6-7 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 very small green chili (any mild variety will work)
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp kala namak (black salt, adds tang but substitute with salt if you don’t have)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • Crushed ice, mint leaves to garnish

Method

Wash the mangoes and remove their tops, peel them. Place them in a pressure cooker along with hing and 2 cups of water.Close the lid and let cook on medium heat for 1-2 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil the mangoes in a pot till the flesh is soft. Take off the heat and let cool down till okay to touch.

Meanwhile, finely chop the mint leaves and green chili. You can seed the chili before chopping. Break open the cardamom pod and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle.

Once the mangoes have cooled a bit, add the sugar to the pot and using your hands squeeze the mangoes till all the flesh falls off and you get hold of the seeds. Discard the seeds and any tough membranes. Add finely chopped mint and chili and using your immersion blender, blend everything. Ideally, the consistency of pana is not smooth, there is mango flesh and bits of mint & chili suspended in the liquid.

Add the cardamom,cumin, kala namak, red chili powder. Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust the salt. Transfer the contents to a beverage holder or a jug and add top with water depending on how dilute you like it.

Chill thoroughly and serve with ice and mint leaves.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Beverages Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Indian Streetfood Vegetarian

Gajar Kaanji – Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkYou do not realize the goodness associated with certain kinds of foods (and drinks) until you are of a certain age. I say this because no matter how pretty it looked, I don’t remember enjoying a glass of kanji back then.Now that I try to debate what to eat & what not to, guiltlessly gulping down this drink with the afternoon meals is a must.My container is nearing end but I am relishing it at least once a day for now.

I am not much of a beverage person, a glass of water with a lemon wedge is my treat,even when eating out.The very fact that this fermented drink does not have a speck of sugar or other usual suspects found in beverages makes it very unique and the crisp, tart flavor is truly an acquired taste. If you are a fan of pickles & mustard, this could be a treat for you in the liquid form. I would compare it to the taste of a mellow pickling liquid but with hints of spices – all of which are all actually so so good for you.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkThere is the star spice- the small brown mustard seeds,commonly know as rai in Indiarich in omega-3 fatty acids & magnesium. Then the essential turmeric, best known for its anti inflammatory properties. Usually many don’t use it,but I add a pinch of ajwain (carom seeds) & methi dana (fenugreek seeds), both of which help in better digestion & metabolism. Additionally, fenugreek seeds help lower the blood sugars. To top it all, the sun fermentation for about a week or so further improves the nutritional value of this drink.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkKaanji is an end of winter, spring onset drink in northern parts of India, particularly Punjab. It is usually prepared during Holi, and served as a beverage.Normally, purple/black carrots are used which are available in abundance in India during February-March spring months but if you do not get those – use any kind of carrots & put in a few slices of beets for that lovely ruby color. Many recipes add turnip slices or alma (indian gooseberries) too – just to increase the nutritional value.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkSometimes, lentil nuggets (Kaanji Vada) are dunked in this sour liquid & served as a street side snack. The fluffy nuggets absorb all that liquid and turn deliciously spongy and soft to eat. Boondi ( Crispy chickpea flour drops) are what I topped my tumbler with, however you can serve it all on its own. The fermented carrots & beets can be eaten as pickles.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Ingredients

  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 medium beetroot
  • 1.5 tbsp rai (small variety brown mustard seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp each ajwain (carom seeds) & methi (fenugreek seeds) (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp kala namak (black salt, substitute with normal salt)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups water

Method

Sterlize a wide mouthed glass container large enough to contain 6 cups water with a non-reactive lid.

Thoroughly wash & peel the carrots and beetroot. Using a sharp knife, cut them into thin slices. You could cut them in rounds or batons, dosent matter, but the slices should not be very thick.

Bring water to a boil. While the water is boiling, using mortar & pestle, coarsely crush the mustard, ajwain & methi seeds. Place the sliced beet & carrots in the container. Add the crushed spices.Sprinkle turmeric, black salt & red chili powder on top.

When the water has boiled, take off the stove and let sit on counter top to cool down a bit. Add the hot water to the container and using a wooden spoon, stir the contents thoroughly. With another clean spoon, taste and adjust the salt. At this point the contents will taste bitter but all that will go away after fermentation.

Place the lid on the container and let sit in sun for 5-7 days. Stir 2-3 times a day with clean wooden spoon.Kaanji is ready when it starts tasting sour.The fermentation time will depend on sunlight in the place you live.

You can serve Kaanji at room temperature or chilled. Add boondi or dried mint leaves as garnish.

The fermented carrots & beets can be eaten as pickles. Kaanji can be stored for up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

Categories
Beverages Uncategorized Vegetarian

Jal Jeera – Indian Tamarind & Cumin Cooler

Whats your favorite beverage? I m not much of a beverage person, but am always up fresh fruit & vegetable juices as well as a couple of homemade coolers make it to my list.I distance myself from store-bought beverages, unconsciously.

He doesnt care much – his HUMONGOUS liking for beverages is oblivious of the concept of homemade or store bought.As I write this, our refrigerator is stocked with all sorts of flavored lemonades, coconut water, mango nectar & weird-looking smoothies. I m not joking. This is pretty much the same all round the year – he drinks more than he eats – I seldom tell him. Needless to say refrigerator space is one eternal bone of contention between us.

Jal Jeera is an essential north indian summer beverage, served as a refresher with meals.You will find a lot of street vendors serving chilled jal jeera stored in earthern pots sitting atop their decorated carts in India. It is another show stopper of indian street food scene. I just can’t imagine rounding up summers without it.

My mom makes a mean jal jeera from scratch. She does not use any pre made spice powders, its a a crisp concoction of fresh made tamarind pulp water (jal) & roasted cumin (jeera) flavored with mint, black salt, green chillies & ginger. Each ingredient plays a role – tamarind & mint have cooling properties, cumin & black salt aid in digestion & chillies provide the essential kick. Many people use fresh lemon juice instead of tamarind pulp in their preparation and skip sugar.

There is no written recipe, like most indian moms. It is even pointless to ask for one for all I will get is how many palm fulls and pinches. I have come up with this recipe from memories of taste of her jal jeera. Hers will always be the best though.

Indian Tamarind is quite sharp & fibrous in taste as compared to the Thai variety. You need to soak it for few hours in water & mash to separate seeds & fibre to extract the pulp.Tangy & smoky in taste, jal jeera is usually topped with boondi – puffed, crispy chickpea flour balls (available in indian stores) & crushed ice.

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 6-8 Servings)

  • 1 cup tamarind pulp (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp roasted jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 18-20 fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp kala namak (black salt, substitute with table salt)
  • 1 serrano chilli (de- seeded , if desired)
  • 2 tbsp red chilli flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 3″ fresh ginger shoot, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Table salt (to adjust)
  • 5 cups water, cold
  • To Garnish – crushed ice, boondi, mint leaves (optional)

Method :-

Tip everything except table salt & water into your blender. Blend on low for 2-3 minutes until you get a semi smooth mixture. Dont make a very smooth paste.

Place a colander over a large bowl & sieve the paste through it. Note – I sieve the paste a couple of times to obtain a clear(er) drink. Place the collected paste into a jug, top with 5 cups of water. Adjust the salt.Chill till ready to serve.

Before serving, stir thoroughly, pour into glasses, garnish & serve.

Jal Jeera keeps fresh for 3-4 days, refrigerated. It can also be served as pani for indian street food- pani puri. 

Notes :-

  1. To see how to extract tamarind pulp at home, click here.
  2. Store bought tamarind paste can also be used in this recipe. The paste is more concentrated and way salty compared to home extracted version.Adjust the quantity to your liking.
  3. You can substitute tamarind pulp with fresh lime/ lemon juice. The taste differs from traditional recipe but still good.
  4. Place cumin seeds in a sauce pan and roast over medium heat.
Categories
Beverages Breakfast Easy Recipes

Indian Espresso Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

Coffee Sugar Mix [Makes about 1/4 cup paste]

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cold milk + a little more [if required]

Per cup of coffee you ll need :

  • 1 heaped tbsp of the above coffee sugar mix [or adjust to how strong or mild you like your coffee]
  • 1/2 cup luke warm whole milk [substitute with half n half or any flavored creamer]
  • 1/2 cup cold whole milk [substitute with half n half or any flavored creamer]
  • Cocoa powder, ground cinnamon to sprinkle [optional]

Note: You will need a tall mug & a metal spoon to whip up the coffee sugar mix.Please keep away your fine china and pick up a mug which is little heavy.

Method:

  • In a dry, tall and heavy mug, tip in the instant coffee powder and sugar together.

  • Mix well and add milk just enough to moisten the mix [about 1 tbsp].In case you need more, add slowly.The purpose of milk here is just to give you a base moist paste to start working with.

  • The mix will be dark brown at first.With the help of spoon, start beating the mix rigorously.It will start turning pale and pasty.
  • Keep on beating the mix till it becomes pale brown and the sugar has dissolved.The mix will be thick and will flow like a ribbon. Also you would have done away with some of that flab on your arms 🙂

  • You know when the mix is ready and thick enough when even on inverting the cup, it wont drip.

  • Once done, the mix with be a viscous paste.It is ready to use now.
  • Tip in a generous tablespoon of coffee-sugar mix into a “microwave” safe cup.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup of luke warm milk.Microwave on high for 20-25 seconds.

  • Take out and stir thoroughly with a spoon to dissolve any lumps etc.This is an important step.You need to get a smooth coffee-milk mix before adding more milk.
  • Top up with remaining 1/2 cup of cold milk and stir gently to combine everything. [Note: Mixing milk too rigorously will reduce the froth in the final cup]
  • Micro again for about 30-40 seconds or till you see froth rising up.
  • Your coffee is ready.Top with ground cinnamon or cocoa powder.
  • Serve warm with muffins or cookies.

Notes:

  • You can use  whole milk diluted with water if you want.
  • Normally, sweetened cocoa powder is sprinkled over the coffee before serving.I have noted it in the recipe even though I dont like to add it to mine..
  • The paste lasts in fridge for about 2-3 days.You will have to beat again before using it.Ofcourse, the results will vary as compared to the fresh mix.
  • The microwave times I have noted are the ones on my appliance.You will have to adjust and keep a watch as your coffee is inside to avoid spill overs.

Enjoy your cuppa coffee ! Thanks for stopping by.

Categories
Beverages Easy Recipes Festival Recipes

Thandai-Fragrant Milk Drink With Spices,Nuts & Mint

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients [serves 4]

  • 4 cups of whole milk (substitute with low-fat/almond milk/soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews
  • 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds [or melon seeds if available]
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds [available in indian stores under the name ‘Khus-Khus‘ or ‘Posto‘]
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns [adjust to taste]
  • 7-8 green whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds [or aniseed]
  • 1 tbsp rosewater [use 1-2 drops if using rose essence]
  • pinch of saffron dissolved with 1 tbsp of warm milk
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves [don’t use too many else drink will turn bitter]
  • Sugar to taste
  • Nuts and ice cubes [optional] for garnish

Method:

  • Soak almonds,cashews, fennel, poppy, pumpkin seeds, cardamom & black peppercorn in enough water overnight or for at least 5-6 hours.
  • Once soaked, drain the water and discard it.
  • Tip in the soaked nuts& spices along with rosewater and mint leaves in a blender and grind to a smooth paste.
  • At this point, refrigerate the paste if you want to use it later.The paste keeps fresh for 4-5 days,refrigerated.
  • For making the Thandai: Tip in the milk, cream,dissolved saffron along with sugar to the taste in a blender on smoothie mode and churn for 3-4 minutes on high till everything comes together.
  • Pour into glasses, garnish with nuts and serve chilled.

Variations :

  • You can use the cold milk mixture to make a thandai ice- cream.
  • Blend it with lots of ice and 2-3 tbsp condensed milk and make a smoothie.Adjust sugar in that case.

Enjoy ! Happy Holi Everyone!

Categories
Beverages Breakfast Brunch Easy Recipes Side Dishes Stir-fry Vegetarian

Indian Spiced Peas(Chuki Matar)& Masala Chai

 

 

 

 

Spiced Peas/Chuki Matar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 2 green chillies. thinly cut (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice [adjust to taste ]

How I did it:

  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Once heated, temper the oil with cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan and let the onions saute till transculent.Dont brown them.
  • Next, add the chopped green chilies and ginger julians and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the peas, red chilli powder, cover the lid and let the peas steam till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Once tender, open the lid,add salt and garam masala and stir fry on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fresh lime juice and serve warm with masala chai

Masala Chai

Ingredients

  • 1 tea bag per cup (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves/cup)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 fresh tulsi leaves [holy basil leaves if available] NOTE:Holy basil is totally different from Thai or Italian basil.
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of warm milk
  • ¼ tsp chai masala powder
  • sugar to taste

Masala/Spice Mix  [Makes 1 cup masala]

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/4 cups whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cups green cardamom
  • 4 twig mace, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 piece nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

How I did it

  • Fine grind all the ingredients under the head “Masala/Spice Mix”.Store this spice mix in an air tight container in a dry place.This lasts for 2-3 years.
  • To make the masala chai:In a saucepan, add the water along with ginger and tulsi leaves[if using] and let come to a boil.After 2-3 minutes, add tea bag or tea leaves. Let  brew for 2-3 minutes.Next, add “masala” and milk and let it again come to a boil.Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.Strain and serve with sugar (or sweetener).

Enjoy!