Thursday, April 24, 2014

Refreshing Watermelon-Avocado Salad

Colors! Colors! Everywhere! Spring has sprung at last. Pink and white and purple blossoms have painted a pretty picture all around. New sprouts, twittering birds, a riot of colors are all rejoicing in the glorious warmth of Spring. Walk into the supermarket and it is more than evident that spring has arrived with its assortment of colorful fruits.  Melons and Berries and Mangoes and Papayas add a certain sweet smell to the air. Spring has touched us all with its magic wand of happiness and pulled us out of the gloomy, monotony of listless winter months.
Soon, very soon I will be complaining about the heat. But for now, let me bask in this glorious phenomenon called Spring. And oh, make some fresh and bright dishes that refreshes the soul as well as the palate.


Ingredients:

  • Avocado - 1 ripe, cut into pieces
  • Watermelon - 1 Cup, cubed
  • Chaat Masala - 1/2 tsp (I used Shan)
  • Salt - to taste (I used Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • Lemon Juice - A squeeze or two (use more if you prefer the tanginess)
Cut the avocados and squeeze lemon juice on the pieces immediately so that these do not brown. Add the cubed watermelons, sprinkle the salt and Chaat Masala and toss gently. Serve immediately. The sweet juiciness of  watermelon perfectly complemented the chunky buttery taste of avocado.

I am sending this refreshing salad to Kolkata Food Bloggers'
Beat the Heat Online Event
 http://kolkatafoodbloggers.blogspot.in/2014/04/online-event-beat-heat.html

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Suji Halwa: Semolina Pudding

My son grew quite a sweet-tooth during our few months stay in Kolkata last year. He got hooked to the sweets sold in our neighborhood sweet shop - 'Ghosh Brothers'. His favorites - 'Gulab Jamun', all kinds of Sandesh, Soan Papri, Besan Laddoo and of course - Gujiya (The Bangali Sweet shop kind). One time, when the Bengali Sweets were still a new thing for him and he did not know all the names, he had asked me - "Mamma, can I have some haystacks, please." It took me half a minute to realise that he was referring to 'Soan Papri'. Since sweets are not readily available here (though Brij Mohan  has a pretty good fare) I make him Besan Laddoo (Sweet Gram Flour Balls), Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding), Kalakand (Milk Pudding) from time to time. While these desserts take a little more time to make, there is one dessert which gets done in minutes - Suji Halwa, which happens to be a childhood favorite of mine. At the husband's house, Suji Halwa flavored with green cardamoms, my Ma always made Suji Halwa with fennel seeds. In many household, dry fruits and nuts are also added to Suji Halwa. 
Suji Halwa is also a dessert which is served during Pujas. This crumbly sweet dessert with Luchi is a much loved combination.

Suji Halwa

Ingredients: (This was enough for 4 small servings for my son)
  • Suji (Semolina) - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Ghee - 1 tsp
  • Fennel Seed - 1/4 tsp
  • Milk - 3/4 Cup 
  • Raisins - For garnishing
Suji Halwa

In a pan, heat ghee and temper it with the fennel seeds. Now add the suji and sugar and continuously stir on medium heat till the mixture caramelizes and turns a couple of shades darker. Now add the milk and cook on low till the suji mix absorbs all of it and softens. Serve warm. If you want you can shape these into balls or squares.