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Beat the Heat Series ~ Iced Lemon and Mint Tea

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With the temperatures in Hyderabad already touching 42 celsius, it isn’t my favourite part of the year…. i still have to wait for the mangoes to appear so i can take comfort and manage the heat….but i promised to crib less (!) about the heat this year and explore foods that can cool me down quite literally!!

Its been a busy two weeks, I cant even imagine they went past so soon….Amma sure has a hectic social life, much more than mine! She leaves on saturday. Today was the day to check if all the stuff she amassed bought over this visit can be packed … in the midst of bringing down the suitcases and helping her sort things out, I needed to have a cold drink or I was sure to burst a blood vessel, it was that hot, I kid you not!

I promptly went to the kitchen to see what i could get. I am not the fizzy drinks person, unless its spiked strongly :), we also dont store too many boxed juices, I was out of yogurt so i couldnt make my favourite Lassi, we didnt have any fruit either so fruit juice too wasnt possible. Then i saw the chai…i have quite an assortment of flavours…..all those books and magazines i read with references to hot summer afternoons spent sipping iced tea on the porch came flooding as i stood there with the cabinet door open, looking at the boxes of teas….

lots of crushed ice and mint leaves, a cup of hot water and one tea bag later, i was a happy woman….sipping like i was featured in a magazine!! Try it, it was super refreshing.

Am sending this to Valli’s Thanda Mela head over there for summer treats

Lemon and Mint Iced Tea (makes 2 tall glasses)

1 tea bag lemon flavoured tea

1 cup hot water

2 cups very cold water

few sprigs fresh mint leaves

1 cup ice, crushed

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Immerse the tea bag into the hot water and cover and leave to infuse for about 2 mins. In the meanwhile, crush the ice and add equal amounts to the two glasses. lightly bruise the mint leaves with the back of a spoon or a muddler. divide equally and add to the crushed ice. Remove the tea bag from the hot water, add the sugar and cold water and mix till the sugar has dissolved. add the lemon juice. pour over the crushed ice and mint into the tall glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve.

Mango Lassi – Recipe to beat this blessed heat

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mango lassi

Its so hot in Hyderabad, that i wont even make a joke of it. and the one thing that makes the summer a little bearable is Mangoes. Alas,  this time around, with some unseasonal rains in december last year, the mango crop has been dismal. which automatically translates into a dissappointing supply in the market, and what’s available isnt very good either. the fruit are harvested when still green and then ripened. ofcourse the best way to do this would be to allow the fruit to naturally ripen on the tree, or at least not take the aid of chemicals. reality and market conditions are contrary to this and we have had a plethora of patchy, sour mangoes this far.

I usually wait till the “good ones” start coming into the markets, but it was difficult to exercise patience, especially with the heat reminding us it was summer at its worst / best. Was very unhappy that they were unripe and sour. With the heat being what it is, a chilled yogurt based drink with loads of ice is just right. keeps you hydrated and is a great way to start the day especially if you dont feel like a warm / hot breakfast. K and i usually down a lot of buttermilk and lassi during the hotter parts of the year. one favourite is the rooh afza lassi and ofcourse, who can refuse a mango lassi? its ok to use a less than very ripe fruit in this, the sugar more than makes up for it. i used honey to make it a tad healthier. try it, you will love it.

Mango Lassi (makes 2 beer glasses full)

2 cups natural unsweetened yogurt (i used home made)

2 cups skinned and cubed mango peices

sugar / honey to taste (i used 3 Tablespoons)

1/2 – 1 cup water

2 cups of ice cubes crushed

how to make the lassi: put all the ingredients except the ice cubes in a blender jar and whizz for a few minutes using short pulses till everything is incorporated. this will result in a rather thick  liquid. use a few tablespoons of water to get the desired consistency. it should be a tad thinner than condensed milk. check for sweetness and adjust. divide the crushed ice between two talol glasses, pour over the ice and serve.

Baking Escapades #17 – Spice it up!! Whole Wheat Ginger Cookies and Masala Tea Recipe

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The Monsoon is my favourite time of the year…..i forget about the wetness and the slush and the inconveniences people face…..i love to curl up on a chair, feet nicely tucked under me and sip on a cup of hot spicy tea…..sweet and strong and flavoured with ginger…..i love the smell of the earth after the rains wash it….

This year we almost didn’t have the rains….there was talk of the rains having failed and all that… affects the entire ecosystem…..reservoirs dry up which badly affects water and electricity supply….i was saddened that I wont have my favourite season……and then it came upon us…..later than usual….but in full gusto… has been raining pretty incessantly for the last couple of weeks…..just the perfect time for some ginger spiced cookies and ginger chai…..

I made these cookies from sunitha’s blog…..infact Deeba mentioned them and I was interested..i tried them and we loved them….just the right chewiness…..spiced and very mildly sweet….what’s more…they’re made of whole wheat flour…..these cookies have become rather regular at home….its just that the rains have made them all the more special…..

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Rooh Afza Lassi Recipe

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There are lassis and then there is rooh afza lassi…growing up in hyderabad, this was our must have on summer afternoons on our way back from summer camps….back then they (the summer camps i mean) were’nt as hi-fi as they are now….but I reckon now is all style and no substance… of the things us kids would be looking forward to every afternoon was to stop the cycle rickshaw under the shady tree of the Irani café where the rickshaw man would stop, and go in to place the order….for kids aged about 6-7, we could barely contain our glee when a tray would appear with the scarlet stained glasses….with a tall spoon (amithabh bachchan spoon it was called), crushed ice on the top and we’d swirl it around to see the blobs of scarlet disappear into a more uniform pink………..a thick layer of cream on top beneath the layer of ice….this tall glass is the thing childhood dreams were made of….of course before coke and Pepsi choke them out of business that is……

Rooh afza is a typically desi drink which is supposed to do everything from improve your complexion to regulate your digestion….i just love the flavour of the thick sugary syrup, with a hint of rose and khus khus……it can be added to lime juice and desserts, but I just love it with lassi…..

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WBB#22 – May Mango Madness – the Roundup is finally here!

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The good doctor quizzed me on my interest in hosting WBB for may sometime in April….nothing in the chat transcript told her how much at sea I was and that I was terrified….then we both forgot about it…..or so I thought….april came and went and at the beginning of may, came april’s round up……mid afternoon bolt from the blue sms from my namesake asked me where my announcement was…..have you ever broken into a cold sweat?? I did….i know you must be thinking I am crazy….but food blogging did this to me….convinced that I was better off making anonymous comments on blogs and wondering why the hell I agreed to this……I posted the announcement…..choosing (unimaginatively because they were assaulting my senses at that time) Mangoes…..and waited with bated breath!!

In the meanwhile I went about harassing all my blogger friends, via email and chat….and made quite a job of it!! the last four weeks have been hectic…for anyone who’s been reading my blog…..K’s part of the family has been here and we were travelling…. Not to mention that the laptop decided to go kaput and then the broadband at home went on vacation….when everything settled into a not so dramatic mode……I didn’t have the time in life to do anything about the roundup…..and I have tried today to remedy it!!

breakfast being the first to go at the sacrificial altar of time…..that too with mangoes to be incorporated into it…..most of the people I know, including yours truly do nothing more than gobble them up as they are….thats the thing with mangoes…they seduce you with their flesh and leave you so impatient that you just want to grab them………

i was delighted with the entries for mango madness…..raw and ripe, they tickled the palette and made for some interesting breakfast treats……here they are….many many thanks to all those who sent in their creations……please let me know if any entry sent hasn’t been posted here…….cheers!! and what a delightful madness it has been!!

So here it is…….i’ve tried to categorise as best as i could……….

Sowmya of Creative Saga, discovers alphonsos with a vengeance……after being pretty neutral about the fruit for years…..she whips up this tangy mango delight… mango pulp, orange juice and whipped cream….that’s what i call an explosive start to the day!!!

Suman of Heaven’s garden sends in Mango lassi…..our desi smoothie that’s both a thirst quencher and perfect as a filling breakfast drink

another take on Mango Lassi that sings lullabies….this is from Indira of Mahanandi

Pooja of My Creative Ideas makes this breakfast in a glass…mango thick shake with mango and bananas with milk…..she was rankled for a choice….but I think she couldn’t have chosen a more fitting entry!!

Rupa of Random Musings, dear friend and endurer of much nagging thinks that food blogging is not her cup of tea…..yet I wish to tell her that we all thought the same before taking the plunge….for starters, she takes the food detour from her personal blogging just to serve us this fruit yoghurt….

Shoba of Nangil Girl’s Adventures sends in this mango banana smoothie for breakfast……might I add that I loved the glass??

Madhuram of Eggless Cooking blends in two unusual flavours of raspberries and mango to make this breakfast Raspberry Mango smoothie

Jyothsna of Curry Bazar makes this beautiful aamras, with rotis, puris, plain or as a fitting end to a meal, aamras is always a recipe for surefire praise!!

Foodyguru Srimathi of Few Minute Wonders sent in this Mango trifle pudding as her entry……now you are talking breakfast!! I love the idea of indulgence in the morning…..!!

Jan of Food with a pinch of Love sent in this elaichi aamras fruit custard taking fusion to another level…..

Sandeepa of BongMom’s Cookbook recalls how she enjoyed the hot indian summers and dishes up this interesting mix of yoghurt, poha and mango called Chire Doi aam

Meera of Enjoy Indian Food makes this Mango Shikran, she says it was never served at breakfast, but fruit and milk cannot hurt anyone…..and I absolutely agree!!

Jyothsna’s Curry Bazar brings to the breakfast table, amarkhand – mango shrikhand….served with hot puris this makes for a traditionally fabulous breakfast……psst…you can also forget the puris and dig straight into the amarkhand if you like!!

Radhika of Tickling palates sends in a tall glass of Mango Jal jeera, perfect way to beat the heat

Isha of Isha’s Kitchen sends in a blend of two popular flavours in her strawberry mango salad, the addition of cumin and red chilli powder only serves to enhance the flavours of the fruit I am sure!!

This feisty talented baker, wears many hats with much elan…..and she too did get the bugging she didn’t deserve….what can I do…I was plagued with thoughts that no one would send me any entries and I had to turn to (quite literally) to the friends I made off the blogosphere…..deeba of passionate about baking sent in this fruitilicious Mango Fruit Salad to begin the day and get me firmly off her back!!

My other namesake Arundathi of My Food Blog has this interesting breakfast of eggs and Mango Salsa between a tortilla

Asha of Foodie’s Hope baked this lovely Mango –coconut pound cake and serves it up with some great mango sauce!!

Jayashree’s experiments with food whipped up this awesome breakfast on the go, she sends in an eggless microwave bread

Kalai of Samaithu Paarkalam sent in these fabulous Mango Scones…….i’m hurrying over for breakfast lady!!

Mansi of Fun and Food bakes this delectable Mango cake with streusel topping

Shibani or Anyone can cook tells us a familiar Mommy tale of getting her little one to eat…..and comes up with a lovely Mango oats breakfast bars this am sure is a winner with the fussiest of eaters

Uma of the essence of Andhra, sends in this mango pancake…..the unique addition of mango juice to make the batter, and chilli and cumin, gives it a nicely different edge.

Kevin of closet cooking sends in these awesome mango banana pancakes which uses coconut milk and cardamom to make it flavourful.

Priya of Live to cook makes some mango potato griddle cake, otherwise called adai…..she uses an unusual combination of raw mango and potato for this and immediatelty alerted my “must try” list!!

Crepes turned out to be very popular …..Possibly because they pair rather well with mangoes….we had four servings of them…….

Mike of Mike’s table sends in these delectable mango nutella crepes…they’re what sinfully fabulous breakfasts are made of, he promises that the flavours and textures will make you crave for more

Sukanya of Hot and Sweet Bowl serves us these fabulous looking Mango Crepes, sinfully flavourful with chopped mango pieces and whipped cream!! Makes me want to crash this breakfast table!!

Priya of Priya’s Kitchen – Spices in Life brings alive this mango madness with her mango crepes

JZ of Tasty Treats sends in her version of this popular breakfast item, crepes…..she serves up some lovely mango crepes

Nandita of Saffron trail, the brain behind Weekend Breakfast Blogging, makes this too easy to believe instant microwave mango jam, that just cuts the process but not the taste or flavour

Alka’s Sindhi Rasoi dishes out the indian answer to the mother of all jams, Mango Murba takes me …back to my childhood when all kinds of jams were made to preserve and use the surplus of fruit we had…..murba was one of the star attractions….

Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen has a way with words…… else can you explain this “Tangy chunks of mango in a thick, creamy mango juice broth surrounding soft and chewy grains of barley, topped with the mild tartness of fresh blackberries — even the most reluctant of porridge eaters will be back for a second bowl of this naturally sweet and colourful breakfast delight” she had me scurrying over to find this beautiful Mango barley porridge with blackberries…….and rarely do I call porridge beautiful!!

Aparna and her Diverse Kitchen took a leaf off none other than Nigella Lawson’s show and made up this Mango Parfait with home made granola….this dear Aparna, deserves to be on a show by itself!! Talk about a goddess dishing out balanced breakfasts!!

Revathi of Here it is sends in this innovative dish she calls Mango Something…..using bell peppers and ripe mangoes….it can be had on its own, or as an accompaniment to roti…..

Sumi… of Sumi’s kitchen is one of those who innovated with a breakfast item to suit the theme…and she came up with a poha upuma with shredded mango

Raji of Talimpu sends in this Raw Mango Upma using rice flour……the picture looks good enough to eat!

Vani of Mysoorean sends in two entries with her Mango Salad and Mango poha both the dishes have a burst of flavours and use raw mango

Srivalli of cooking 4 all seasons dishes up some quick and flavourful rice sevai with raw mango….. she could’nt decide between ripe or raw mangoes and this dish doesn’t disappoint

Roma of Roma’s Space sends us Matris, a fave north indian snack / breakfast using raw mango that was straight from her neighbor’s garden!!

Rupa of Simply Aroma sent in this tantalizing Instant Mango Pickle, a perfect accompaniment for any meal and whats more is totally fuss free!!

she also sent in this yummy chutney

Easy Crafts of Simple Indian Food sent in Maankaai thokku that’s a versatile side dish for idlis, dosas, chapattis and rice too!!

The Jugalbandits from where else….Jugalbandi send in this mango and coconut chutney that accompanied their crazy upma!!

Sia of Monsoon Spice sent in another mango chutney she calls Spicy Mango chutney…she tells a lovely story of a childhood spent in bliss and mangoes contributed in a large dose to this!!

Sireesha of mom’s recipes sends in this mango coconut chutney perfect to accompany dosas, chapattis or even steamed rice with ghee

My namesake of the Singing Chef sent me not one, not two….hold your breath, three terrific entries to boost my confidence of hosting mango madness…..i think she is a true foodie….thanks girl…..check out her Chickpeas Sundal, Kairi Panha and Mango Muffins…..

raaga is also the hostess of this month’s edition of WBB with Express breakfasts being the theme, the deadline is the 30th of june

And Lastly, my own entry…… raw mango and coconut chutney.……

Thanks again Nandita, for sending WBB over to Escapades…….thank you all who sent in your entries (please let me know if i have missed any) and am so sorry for the long delay in posting the roundup!!


Sharjah Milkshake Recipe

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the thing about living in a hostel when you are a student living too far away from your hometown to be able to go back and forth during long weekends is, it exposes you to many things…..some good, some not so….but everything teaches you a lesson that you will never forget for the rest of your life……so the longish weekends I’d have at my disposal, I spent accepting every invitation from friends and classmates to visit their homes……the memories and experiences and some of the pictures that I managed are priceless……it also gave me the fabulous opportunity to partake of many meals lovingly prepared, many conversations and a peek into other people’s lives……..

The first time I visited kerala, was on one such weekend…..i remember it was the easter weekend….and I had my first full scale exposure to the heat, humidity, food, people and festivals of this state…..i was in love!! I can recall almost everything that I did those three days…..the food I ate and the walks on the beaches…..i also first sipped a milkshake in a beer mug!! Sharjah shake …… I don’t know how this drink got this name……I have asked around and checked on the internet….haven’t found any conclusive information….suffice to say that the intriguing name apart, this is one must do – must taste when one is in God’s own country…….apparently the birth of this drink happened in Calicut, circa unknown….and its popularity is spreading all over the state….. the ingredients are simple and available in abundance……made of milk and bananas, and frozen milk that gives it an amazing consistency, it makes for a refreshingly cool

indulgence that good for your bones too……sharjah shake is my entry to Beautiful Bones: an Osteoporosis Food Event, hosted by the lovely Food blogga Susan……the event calls for a calcium rich recipe to be made and posted in the month of may which is the osteoporosis awareness month…….milk is a rich source of calcium and so are bananas… Susan, this is being whipped up specially for you!!

To make the Sharjah Shake to serve two in regular glasses or one in a beer mug!!

(This is my version with lesser sugar)

500 mls frozen milk (I used low fat)

2 ripe bananas (about 1 cup of slices)

1-2 t sugar

A pinch of powdered cardamom seeds

1T bournvita (substitute with boost/ drinking chocolate or any malt / chocolate based drink)

In a blender jar, add all of the above ingredients and blend till everything is well incorporated and liquefied. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Mandvi ~ Land of Beauty and an Indian Thirst Quencher ~ Chaas Recipe


blue skies, crystal clear glistening waters of the Arabian Sea at Mandvi, Gujarat


the coast at mandvi


typical saurashtran meal

Gujarat is the land mf myriad shades….the land of beauty… people and nature….of rich cultural heritage…of arts and crafts….of a community that is knit together….of festivals and colours…and fabulous food….K’s parents migrated to Ahmadabad in 2003, K himself spent 6 years of his childhood growing up in Kutch in a place called gandhidham…that’s where his parents now live….since then we make one trip a year to spend with them ….i can go completely berserk shopping at law garden, rani ka ajeera or lal darwaza at one of the hundreds of shacks/shops selling crafts, arts, clothes and jewelry ….. not be disappointed at 2 a.m if I want to eat cheese sandwiches, or chaat or have an ice gola….… I love the place before this my only connection with Gujarat was that my mother studied there….graduation her career there…she always speaks glowingly of the people and the culture and the way it shaped what she became….so much was her love for the food from Gujarat, that khichdi and kadhi, shaaks of different kinds, shrikhand, aamras, khaari seeng and chunda was what I grew up on…..sadly, I don’t make much of these except for khichdi and kadhi which is on my top five comfort foods list…..

I was obviously very happy to see RCI – Gujarat…. instead of any of the elaborate dish, I planned to post of this fabulously versatile, thirst quenching drink “chaas” which no gujarati meal is without…..infact in households and restaurants alike, your glass of chaas will be refilled if you so much as tilt it half way through…..a super summer cooler….it can be your best friend if you want something light yet nutritious to fill you up…..


these beads are a thoran (wall / door adornment), made of beads and bells, their colours and tinkling bells are a delight as they sway in the breeze….i picked these up on my last trip from an artisan’s co-operative unit

Chaas is made of yoghurt …it is a spiced buttermilk….to be had on its own or to wash down a full meal….chaas can be mildly or strongly spiced, seasoned or not….the avatars it can take on are many….all delightfully satisfying …..this is off to RCI – Gujarat, hosted by Mythili of Vindu this month, and the brain child of Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine…. Read the rest of this entry

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