With temperature and humidity soaring in Bombay I wish I could escape to the hills!! But the chances of that happening are remote since every summer vacation we visit our families stationed at Delhi. Honestly, even going to hills will offer only a temporary respite coz after a few days of fun one has to return to the same heat and then it gets even worse. That reminds of the prickly heat (miliaria) I had on our return from Shimla due to sudden change in temperature. It was really bad and very discomforting.


The temperature begins to rise from mid-March and each passing week brings in sultrier and hotter days. Yet, unlike the Delhi summers, where it gets blistering hot and you would get the feel of being baked in an oven even at 11 in the night, Bombay summers are slightly better. The days may be sweltering hot and very humid but the evenings tend to be pleasant; thanks to the cool sea breeze. However, these days even the evenings are uncomfortably sultry and each time I switch on the air conditioner I bless the fellow who invented it!

Other way to beat the heat is guzzling gallons of water. But aren’t we humans really smart creatures to have discovered some incredible delicious ways to beat the heat – limeade, squash, granitas, sorbets, ice creams and what not! My post is about a typical and conventional way we Indians beat the heat – Aam Panna (pronounced as pun-na) or Raw Mango Cooler, a budget-friendly, healthy and deliciously refreshing drink, which I transformed in to a granita. The idea of granita happened by quite accident. Ok…let me start from the beginning.


If I were to rate a post which was most taxing on my time (apart from the Eggless Coconut Macaroons) it will be hands down this simple raw mango cooler!! Everything about it went wrong from the word ‘go’. Three days back I bought the raw mangoes and planned to make the panna so my post would be ready well in advance but each day something or the other hampered my plans. Yesterday, I finally managed to make it but while I was clicking the pics, I managed to rock the board, tumble the glasses and all the contents spilling around; thankfully the glasses were safe! But there was a lot of mess to clean up. A quick visit to the nearly vegetable grocer and I was at work again.
By the time I finished clicking the pics for the post, it was about time for my daughter to return from school. She looks forward to having lemonade or any sort of cool drink/ cooler when she returns home from school. To quick chill the aam panna, I placed a little amount in a bowl in the freezer. She returned home in a lousy mood and I got busy trying to cheer her up. After about an hour and a half, it suddenly flashed in my mind that I had kept the aam panna in the freezer! It had turned into an icy slush. That was my eureka moment 😉 My daughter was super excited when I told her I was going to make granita with the aam panna. She was satisfied having her lemonade and patiently waited for the granita to be ready. She absolutely loved it.


I made two versions of the Aam Panna – one with cardamom and saffron (I don’t let go any opportunity to use it wherever I possibly can…I just can’t help it!!) which is a moderately sweeter version and the other a more savoury version with roasted cumin and a sprinkle of mint sugar. Feel free to serve the Aam Panna as it is or as a granita; both are equally enjoyable and refreshing J
Mango Purée

3 (260-270 gm) raw mangoes
Update (15th April 2012) : Raw Mangoes here are the green unripe mangoes

Peel the mangoes, wash and chop them.
In a small pot heat a cup of water and add the chopped mangoes
Cook covered for approx. 3-4 minutes or till done (the cooking time will depend on the size of the chopped mango pieces)
Cool and blend the mango to a purée. 
Use as required and store the rest in the refrigerator. It will stay for 2-3 days.
Roasted Cumin flavoured Raw Mango Granita w/ Mint Sugar
(Serves 5-6)

½ litre water
1 tbsp+2 tsp sugar (+/- to taste)
2 tbsp mango puree (+/- to taste)
2 pinch black salt
¼ tsp roasted and crushed cumin
For mint sugar:
1 tsp mint leaves (or more if you want strong flavour)
3 tsp sugar (granulated)

Since the amount of Mint Sugar sprinkle that I needed was small, I used a mortar and pestle to do the job. Working vigorously with your wrist bruise the mint leaves and sugar together till they are well assimilateda job that will take not more than a few seconds. Transfer on an absorbent paper and keep aside.
Heat the water in a pan and add sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and let it boil for a minute.
Sieve the water to remove any impurities from sugar.
Cool and add mango purée. Blend. (If you wish you can sieve this mixture)
Stir in the black salt and cumin.
If you like to have mint as it is, add it finely chopped along with the cumin and salt else reserve it to make the mint sugar.
Pour the contents in a shallow tray. Keep the tray in the freezer and let it sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours or till it is partially set.
Using a spoon, scrape the sides and the top.
Return to the freezer and after an hour, again scrape the mixture. Repeat the process every 45 minutes or an hour, three-four times or till all the content is scraped and the mixture becomes coarse crystal like.
Scoop into the serving bowls or glasses, add a generous sprinkle of mint sugar and serve immediately.
You will love the citrus and earthy flavours of this granita; mint sugar imparts lovely sweet notes of freshness.
Saffron flavoured Raw Mango Granita
(Serves 5-6)


½ litre water
2 tbsp mango puree (+/- to taste)
1/3 cup+1 tbsp sugar (+/- to taste)
A pinch of cardamom powder
A pinch of saffron
The process is similar to the above one:
Heat the water in a pan and add sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and let it boil for a minute.
Sieve the water to remove any impurities from sugar.
Remove half a cup of water and add saffron. Let it seep for 10-15 minutes.
Cool the water and add raw mango purée (not the saffron water) and blend well.
Add cardamom powder and saffron water. Mix well and leave the contents undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture in a shallow tray. Keep the tray in the freezer and let it sit undisturbed for 2-3 hours or till it is partially set.
Using a spoon, scrape the sides and the top.
Return to the freezer and after an hour, again scrape the mixture. Repeat the process every 45 minutes or an hour, three-four times or till all the content is scraped and the panna resembles coarse crystals.
This granita makes a great summer dessert and has very pleasing flavours – the mellow sourness from the raw mangoes paired with the sweetness of the saffron and subtle warm hint of cardamom.


Note: There should be at least two inches space left over the contents in the tray.
Note: You may freeze this mixture over night if you desire. But it requires a lot of effort to scrap it the next day.
Note: If you are freezing it over night, use a fork to scrape the mixture to crystals one hour before serving. Scoop into serving bowls or glasses and serve immediately.
Note: I made two popsicles but before I could click them, my daughter licked them off! Try this idea; the kids love it.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon! 

One year back Green Tomato Chutney

Post linked to Nancy’s April YBR event 
Photo

Post linked to Happy Hour Friday blog hop at Shelley’s blog
In the Land of Spice
IT IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGING TO HEAR FROM FRIENDS AND READERS. I CAN ALSO BE REACHED AT: easyfoodsmith@gmail.com
Share