Hell couldn’t be hotter than Delhi in June. This summer seems to be particularly hot. Many of my less heat-hardy plants have just dessicated. Even the Temple Tree is showing signs of heat stress! I can only pray the monsoon will keep its date with Delhi; if all stays well with the wind systems, it should hit Delhi on June 29.
The week has started off well with a sharp shower on Monday morning that brought a seven degree drop in the day temperature, from a scorching 44 degrees Celsius the previous day to a ‘balmy’ 37. We take our silver linings as they come. Monday was also my birthday and I was supposed to hit the streets, albeit those of the air-conditioned neighbourhood mall, with my sister, mom, and niecelet, who herself turned all of six years last week. No, I wasn’t planning to shop till I dropped; it was Mom who needed company to shop. We spent a pleasant couple of hours telling her what to splurge on. Nothing beats shopping therapy when it is not even your own money.
We had had the festivities a day early. I had said “no” to a birthday party unless someone else volunteered to cook. My Mom did but I didn’t really want to have her spend time in the kitchen on my account. The son hasn’t been home this summer so we didn’t get to party on his birthday either. The heat not withstanding, you cannot go through summer without a party in a house full of Geminis. So, it was decided, that I will cook on Sunday, the day before I turned the number when you may be considered well and truly into your late 40s. The menu was pretty much the same as here.
I wanted to try something new for dessert, something that would be light and refreshing. After debating between panna cotta, which would need cream, and fresh fruit with custard, I decided to go with a fresh fruit salad with a twist. I came across this recipe that used mango and lychee, both in abundance right now, and combined it with sabudana in a way that I had never used this fasting-food before. The use of a lime-ginger-based syrup made for a palette cleanser of a dessert – just the perfect way to end a meal in this hot-hot summer. There was just enough leftover for me to make a breakfast of it the next day. Dessert for breakfast on your birthday – isn’t that a great way to start another year of your life?
Mango and Lychee with Sabudana
1 1/3 C (250gm) sabudana (tapioca pearls)
2/3 C sugar
1 C water
Juice and rind of 1 lime
2″ piece ginger, sliced thin
1/4 t salt
4-5 mangoes, cubed
1kg fresh lychees, peeled, stoned and torn into pieces
Boil 8 cups water and add sabudana. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered for 45min. Drain and rinse well in cold water. The pearls should be cooked through and will look translucent. If you still see some white, zap them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Next time, I will soak sabudana before cooking like I do for making sabudana khichdi.
Heat sugar and one cup of water. Bring to boil and add the lime rind and sliced ginger. Simmer 10 minutes. Let stand another 10 minutes before straining the syrup into a mixing bowl. Once the syrup has cooled add lime juice to it. Add prepared fruit and cooked sabudana to the bowl. Mix well and chill for at least an hour before serving.