Well, I got me just the toy to make summer better – an ice cream maker! And, boy, have I been using it since! I’ve had it for a little over a week and have already covered my bases on frozen desserts – ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, and granita. It has just brought out the creative cook in me like nothing else in a long time.
Every time we are in the vicinity of Connaught Place, we make sure to pick up a tub or two of Tender Coconut ice cream from Natural’s, our favorite flavour. When I finally agreed to add another gadget to my kitchen tools, this flavour was going to be the litmus test. If I could re-create reasonably good tender coconut ice cream at home, then giving over some kitchen retail to the new gadget could be deemed to be well worth it.
Before I could even make a list of the ingredients I needed, The Husband, as he drove off, called to say he was sending the coconut vendor my way. I answered the bell, hesitated briefly, and asked for two coconuts. I handed over two bowls to the vendor, one to hold the tender coconut water and the other for the coconut flesh. When I went to check he was scraping out the flesh from what looked like a pretty mature coconut. He had assumed I would prefer it for making chutney. I requested a really tender coconut, one with malai.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find. Even in an extremely urbanised city like Delhi, with hardly any real wilderness left, you will be pleasantly surprised how nature escapes the boundaries we set for her. Plants like bathua (lamb’s quarters) and kulfa (purslane) are common enough. I even found a large patch of sotchal (common mallow) growing wild in Purana Qila one time.
Last year K, my house help, put before me a bag of citrus growing on an unoccupied plot in her colony that no one wanted and was only attracting monkeys and their destructive antics. It looked a lot like our santara, the regular Indian orange; the peel and sections were on point. But there was nothing orange-y about their juice. The juice was sour and bitter, in equal measure. Loathe to see beautiful fruit laid waste she brought me a few confident that I would be able to make something of them.
What better reason to post after a long gap than Diwali! It’s a low-key Diwali at home this year; Baba, my father-in-law, left us recently, and the son is also studying far away. But marking Diwali with some frenzied activity in the kitchen still feels natural and so I made these quick laddoos last night after a regular day at work. I shared a few pictures in my Instagram stories which had many asking for the recipe and I thought why not “revive” the blog with a quick recipe that anyone with half an hour to spare can make.
All you need is ragi (finger millet) flour, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), ghee, almonds, and cardamom – all healthy, minimally processed ingredients. I stocked up on the first two ingredients at the just-concluded Women of India Festival 2017 at Dilli Haat showcasing organic products manufactured by women. These laddoos are a great way to include millets in our diet. I will need to make more to share since we’ve already polished off half the lot and it’s not 24 hours since I made these!
There is this chunky peanut chutney from the Marathwada region of Maharashtra that’s a bit like a well-kept secret, a hidden gem, in a plethora of side dishes served all over Western and Southern India. Maharashtra has a portion of the thali reserved for these itsy-bitsy additions to the daily meal that make them special. Davi kadey, Marathi for on-the left-side, is the side of the thali reserved for a multitude of condiments, from salt to pickles, from a wedge of lime to chutneys of all kinds, a side that is almost completely missing in my Kashmiri thali. Exceptions only prove the rule. I think we allowed rice to find its way into that corner as well.