Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Minty Cool Iced Tea


Summer’s officially here. And, as if I still had doubts despite the weather, Baby P shows me  her paper countdown  chain every day after school. As of now, our wait will be over in just another 2 days. Because that is when schools officially close down for summer vacation. These last weeks of school has been busy with all the field days and Sports Days and Graduations. Pretty tiring, in my opinion. Everyday the girls have been coming back red-faced from school hankering for something cold to drink.  After I had done the inexhaustible amounts of juice, lemonade, buttermilk, Aam ka panna, I gave up.

"What “something cool” do you want every day?”,  I asked Anya and Baby P.
I don’t know. Just something good”…was Baby P
You could buy iced tea. I like that.”…was Anya.
You are a kid; you can’t have iced tea. It has caffeine in it”….said I; to no-one in particular, glaring at them both.
Sure I can. We have it at school at all the parties”. Anya told me.
And daddy lets me have it when he buys it from Wawa. So I can have it too”, informed Baby P.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kheer: The slow cooker version.

Kheer, or rice pudding, has got to be the easiest dessert to make in the world…and one of the most frustrating.

I remember my naani making it on a wood-burning chulha. She set the embers down to real low and placed her milk on it first thing in the morning.  She went about her daily business after that, never forgetting to come back and give the milk a good stir every so often. The milk simmered, and thickened until lunch time. This is when she put the rice and other goodies in. More simmering….Just after lunch, all four of us grandkids could take it no more. It was sheer torture…the aromatizing smells coming out of the pot; and our grandma guarding it like Cinderella’s stepmom. Late in the afternoon, the handi was transferred into a wide-mouthed paraat filled with chilled water from the well. And there it cooled until grandma deemed it ready enough to eat; which was always, frustratingly, after dinner.

My mom, in the expensive city trying to conserve Natural gas used for cooking, started using a pressure cooker. She’d cook the rice a smidgen with water; then transfer cooked rice with milk, sugar and everything else into a heavy bottomed cast iron kadai. Her simmering was limited to maybe an hour or so, but since she couldn’t get the flame low enough, she was constantly watching her pot. Her kheer was good; but naani’s was better.  My mom always blamed it on the low quality milk she got in the city.