Monday, May 18, 2009


There is a certain someone at home who maintains that he needs something sweet with every meal.
How easy it is to confuse wants with needs.

These two from my quiver satisfy such needs.

Sudharas is quite simply a simple syrup perked up by lemon juice.
Other (optional) additions are keshar, elaichi, and almonds.
Sometimes a banana is added. She adds peaches to hers!

It used to be that sudharas was not often made from scratch. The paak (sugar syrup) leftover after the gulab-jaam or jilebi that floated in it was long gone was turned into sudharas.
Since I don't usually have either on hand I made sudharas from scratch. Here is how:

½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2-3 (or more) tbsp lemon juice
(optional) pinch of saffron, soaked in a bit of water
(optional) pinch of elaichi

Combine the water and sugar and bring it to a boil.
Take off the heat and add the lemon juice.
Taste and add more lemon juice if required.
Add the optional ingredients.
Enjoy with poli/ puris.

Oat-Wheat Sheera

Sheera is an absolute family favourite and no matter how much I experiment with it, we still love it.
My latest version calls for cracked wheat (dalia), oats, and bananas. I was sure I was pushing the envelope a bit, but was I surprised! Even this one was polished off with great gusto. Or as we say it in Marathi, chatta-matta (literally polished off).

½ cup cracked wheat (dalia)
½ cup oats (not the fast cooking oats)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 tbsp (or more) sugar
1 pinch cardamon powder
1 ½ cup milk,

Warm the milk and set aside.
Grind the cracked wheat till the coarse grains break up. A coffee grinder works best here.
Grind the oats till you get a fine powder.
Over medium heat, dry roast the wheat and oats.
When the mixture starts browning add the sugar and give it a good stir.
Gradually add the milk; keep stirring.
Cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes; periodically giving the mixture a good stir to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Taste a bit to make sure it has cooked through.
Add the bananas and the cardamom and mix well.
Adjust the sweetness levels according to your taste.

Both these sweets go to Srivalli's Mithai Mela. Happy Blog-Birthday, Valli.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Meyer Lemon Curd

When a friend gives you several dozen freshly picked Meyer lemons, you make lemon curd.
Just the mention of lemon curd conjures visions of lemon tarts, scones, and all things Enid Blyton.

(The picture was taken using my cellphone as my camera is on the blink.)
The butter and eggs in the traditional lemon curd recipes always got in the way of me making it. I went hunting for a vegan version and found this. As is my wont, I made several changes.
Here is the recipe with my changes.

(Vegan) Meyer Lemon Curd
1 cup lemon juice
½ cup water
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
a pinch of salt
zest of 2 lemons ( used 1 lemon and 1 orange just for the colour variation)
2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter

In a saucepan combine the corn starch and water.
Stir till there are no lumps.
Add the salt, lemon juice, and sugar.
Taste the mixture to get the sour-sweet balance that you are looking for.
Mix well.
Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil, keep stirring.
In a couple of minutes it will start to thicken and eventually turn clear.
Remove from heat and add the Earth Balance.
Cool completely and store in the fridge.

Verdict: It was easier than I thought it would be.
The result was definitely inversely proportional to the effort.
Next time I might skip the Earth Balance as I don't think it added anything taste-wise.
I was concerned that the colour of this vegan version may not be as yellow as the traditionally made curd, but I was pleasantly surprised.

In addition to the usual ways lemon curd is used, it makes an excellent accompaniment to poli/ roti or in a sandwich.
Lemon curd-peanut butter sandwich anyone?
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