A hint of exotic. Diabetic friendly, too.
For as long back as i can remember, plums, or "alu bukhara" have been associated with a visit to my grandparents' home in Delhi, along with many other such exotics (or so they were then, for us living down south) like Naakh (pears), Aaru, (peaches), even Sev (apples), Phaalsas, Chilgozay, Ber, and oh, a zillion other things.
Today, they are all freely available right here in the city where I live. With unfailing regularity, every season the plums appear, right from the push-cart vendors to the gourmet stores.
I can never resist the urge to buy some pure, unadulterated nostalgia whenever I see them.
While the imported plums and nectarines are delicious, it is the tart-sweet juiciness of the local varieties that I truly love, where you have to carefully pick out the darkest, yet firmest, specimens to get the perfect mix of texture with the characteristic sweet-sour taste.
As with pretty much every other fruit, I really think the best way to eat them is just as they are, fresh and natural, uncooked, un-processed.
So this granita, is the closest possible to the natural, not-so-subtle taste of those very plums. The fresh, flaky-ice texture only enhances it. Other ingredients are minimal. And no ice-cream maker required!
So why a recipe at all, then?
Because it's a challenge, and I could use one right about now. Not to mention that winning a KitchenAid chopper would be nice, too. :) A want, more than a need!
This recipe is for my entry into the KitchenAid contest for participants at the Indian Food Bloggers Meet in Bangalore, an event that I'm really looking forward to, with many exciting sessions lined up and the wonderful chance to meet many of the amazing bloggers whom I virtually know and follow online.
So I promptly procured some plums, and, having resisted the urge to eat them all up at once, tried out a few concoctions and combinations that I thought would be novel and interesting. I need to thank my family here, who are always willing guinea pigs for such experiments and generous with their feedback, in some tart instances, theatrical to the extreme.
In the spirit of the usual posts that I feature here, I've tried to keep it healthy.
For sweetening, I used fresh Stevia leaves from my garden (see here for more about this wonderful sugar alternative) so it is suitable for a sugar-free diet.
Recipe source: Own.
Serves: 6 shot glass sized servings.
Type: Appetizer, or Dessert.
Plums/Alu bukhara - 5-6 largish, ripe, juicy ones
Water - 1 cup (200-250 ml)
Fresh Stevia leaves - 12-15 nos (or, to taste) Substitute with stevia powder or extract, but the fresh leaves taste best in my experience. (See here for more)
Black salt - 2 pinches, or to taste.
Himalayan salt - one pinch
Red chilly powder - 2-3 pinches, or to taste. (optional)
Bhuna jeera (Roasted cumin seed) powder - 2-3 pinches (optional) There were as many likers as dislikers for this one. (See here for how to make)
Fresh holy basil/Tulsi - 2-3 tender leaves (optional)
Fresh lemon juice - a squeeze or two (optional; - it will keep the colour brighter, but you might want to increase sweetness if you do). I left this out.
Wash, de-stone and roughly chop the plums. You can see how the smaller variety have a richer colour all the way to the pip.
Add all the other ingredients and blend thoroughly. Adjust seasonings and sweetener to taste, which will be a bit milder after freezing.
Strain at into a metal pan and place in the freezer to set at it's coldest setting.
Once nearly set, take it out and thoroughly beat with a fork to break up the ice crystals into smaller bits.
This process of freeze-till-almost-solid, then beat-with-a-fork, should ideally be repeated at least once or twice, to get the perfect flaky ice crystals.