Watermelon Aguas Frescas

BM# 100: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Let’s have a toast!

Summer means watermelons and mangoes in India. Drinking Watermelon juice is very common to help cool the body down. It’s a straightforward no fuss recipe of blending watermelon with sugar.

Now coming to the recipe here, it’s the Mexican version of watermelon juice. Agua means water and fresco means cool in Spanish. Agua frescas means cool water and are not limited to just watermelons. It can made with a whole bunch of fruits and sometimes even cereals. Water and fruits are blended with sugar or sweetener of your choice and served with ice. I have seen some interesting recipes like tamarind agua Fresca and cinnamon rice water. You can read more about it here.

Read on for the recipe and prepare it this summer please :-)!

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or per taste
  • Ice cubes

Method:

  1. Blend the fruit with 2 cups water and sugar.
  2. Pour it into a pitcher and add the remaining 2 cups of water. Taste test and add more sugar if needed.
  3. Serve immediately with ice cubes.

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Strawberry shrikhand

BM# 100: Week 2, Day 3
Theme : 3 
ingredient Dishes

For Day 3, here is another yogurt based recipe. Strawberry Flavored shrikhand. We had been to a friend’s place for dinner recently. They served us a very generous thali, but it was the shrikhand – puri combination that all of us relished a lot. Surprisingly, my husband who is not a fan of anything sweet, loved it as well.

I decided to make it at home as it’s been ages since I prepared it. I have made plain shrikhand and mango shrikhand before, so this time I decided to make strawberry flavored one. I followed Usha’s recipe here and with just three ingredients to make this fantastic dish, it was perfect for this week’s theme. I love how Usha’s pictures have highlighted the pale pink color of shrikhand, not an easy task to accomplish.

Both my husband and son loved this. I would suggest tasting the shrikhand and making some adjustments while preparing it as the sourness of yogurt and sweetness of strawberries vary vastly. So use this recipe as a guide and tweak it to your taste.

Serves : 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups hung yogurt /Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup of strawberry purée

Method:

  1. If using regular yogurt, it needs to be drained well to remove excess water. Layer a clean cotton cloth over a fine mesh strainer. Place the strainer over a large bowl. Pour yogurt into the lined strainer and refrigerate overnight covered with a plate or plastic wrap. An Easier way is to use Greek yogurt.
  2. Purée strawberries to get about a cup of purée. Once the yogurt has drained, add it to a bowl. Add the sugar and the fruit purée in 2-3 batches to the drained yogurt. Mix well using a hand blender or a whisk. Taste test and add more sugar if needed. Refrigerate until the time of serving. If you prefer, you can mix in some chopped strawberries as well. Serve garnished with strawberries or chopped nuts.

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Spicy Tindora/ Kovakka

BM# 98: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Cooking for Two

Cooking for two is a challenge for me, because I always cook a lot more than what we need. The main reason for this is that if there is excess, I can always refrigerate it for another day…but if there is not enough food, it’s just not acceptable for me. I have an excellent appetite and after growing up with two siblings whose appetite can challenge mine, one thing I realize is that even though you think you have cooked extra food, the truth might be that it still may not be enough. In the last few years, I can see a definite decrease in my husband’s and my appetite, but even now, on really hungry days, I would rather have a little extra food than a little less food.

Its very recently that there has been a change in the way I cook. My husband works from home a lot, but on the days he decides to go to work, he takes lunch from home. Recently, he has started giving me a very short notice about packing lunch for him. So I have started preparing food just for him and once he leaves for work, I will start cooking again for me and my son. So, its a combination of cooking for one first and then repeating it for two people. The rice and dal is always prepared before I leave to drop my son, so that part doesn’t affect the short notice for lunch preparation.

Here is one of such lunches prepared. Its kovakka/tindora fry, prepared for one first and then prepared again for two people. This is a very simple recipe, yet it very delicious. The more oil you add, more crispier and tastier the vegetable is. But that choice is completely yours to make. Read on for the recipe.


Ingredients:

  • 20 ivy gourds, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt to the oil. Sauté for a couple of seconds until the chili powder changes color and becomes slightly darker.
  2. Add the sliced kovakka/tindora to the pan. Using a spatula, carefully mix well until all the pieces are coated with the chili powder and oil.
  3. Cover and cook in low heat for about 10-12 minutes or until the veggies are almost cooked, stirring couple of times in between. Once it’s almost cooked, take off the cover and let it cook in medium flame until kovakka is completely cooked and there is no moisture left in the pan. You will have to stir in between to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Serve with rice and sambar of your choice.

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Besan Doodh – Chickpea flour milk

BM# 98: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Cooking for Two

Spring is here and there is a definite improvement in the weather. We are not ready to shed our jackets anytime soon, but its so much better already. And there is so much to look forward to – greenery, cherry blossoms, lighter jackets, sandals, walks outside….that feeling itself is heart warming. My son is not a fan of summer.  He associates summer with bugs and the tiny flies that roam over your head and go right into your eyes if you are not wearing bug repellent. Its too hot for him but the biggest disappointment for him is that there is no snow in summer! Let’s wait and see how his view changes some years from now :-).

Anyway, coming to this recipe here. Its a traditional winter recipe from Punjab. Its supposed to be a good cure for cold and cough. I had bookmarked it when I saw it in Suma’s blog Veggie Platter two weeks back. Even though the winter is on its way out, its still cold here and a hot cup of delicious flavored milk is still very much enjoyable. A pinch of cardamom adds so much of flavor, so does the almonds. If you prefer, you can reduce the besan flour a bit and add more crushed almonds to increase the flavor of almonds. I liked the original recipe as such and I didn’t make any changes.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ghee, optional
  • 2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon chopped or crushed almonds
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • a pinch of saffron

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a nonstick pan. Add the besan flour and saute for a minute or two until it starts releasing a nutty aroma and starts turning slightly darker in color.
  2. Add about half cup of milk and mix with a spatula. You are looking for a lump free smooth mixture. Add 1/4 cup more milk, if needed to get the smooth consistency.
  3.  Once you get a lump free and smooth roux like mix, add the rest of the milk, chopped nuts, cardamom, saffron and sugar. Let it come to a boil and reduce it to a simmer.
  4. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes or until the milk has thickened a little bit and the besan flour is cooked through. Take off the heat and serve in a cup.

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