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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lemon Chili Popsicles ( A Blast from the Past )

Summers can be quite unforgiving in the interiors of Odisha. The oppressive dry heat coupled with hot gusts of wind can sap up one's energy levels within the first few hours of the day leaving one with that listless and parched feeling. Not very surprisingly, digging into something chilled on such days actually feels like being offered Manna from heaven. One such sweet memory from my growing up years in Rourkela, a tiny steel township in Odisha, is that of  'Popsicles', then fondly referred to as the 'kathi' (meaning stick) ice-cream or ice lollies.

Imagine the plight of a bunch of school kids being held to ransom ( for knowledge, no ulterior motives detected here ) behind the huge wrought iron gates of a convent on the blazing summer days. The interiors of the classrooms being no better than the fiery blast furnaces that the city is known for. We would wait eagerly for the last bell to go off before rushing out to descend on the lone ice-cream vendor stationed outside the gate. That too for the ice lollies which were available in just 1 flavor and about three to four shades. Talk about being uncomplicated. Orange, beetroot red and yellow, three distinct shades which were sadly identical in taste, but were labelled as different flavors by the wily vendor. Now that my memory cells are all jogged up, I remember that there was a white one too. Milk ice-cream to be precise but which was kept always relegated to the last. Only to be picked when the others ran out. While those lollies did a great job of quenching our parched throats, there were some obvious side effects. The dripping liquid stained the hands, tongue and sometimes even one's cheek. But the worst was when it dripped all the way down to strain our pristine white uniforms and socks. No prizes for guessing the fallout. That could take up another blog post or two if I were to put it in candid details. However with the advent of branded ice-cream parlours, the ice lollies became a thing of the past and I conveniently forgot about them. That is till they re-emerged in a brand new avatar. The dazzling display of colors that stared at me from the pages of a leading daily seemed nothing like the ice lollies that we had relished. Food ! Indeed, it has come a long way.

But then I have come a long way too. 1816 kilometers to be precise. No less. Jokes apart, sitting in the cool confines of my Bangalore flat, I admit struggling to get used to this alien sounding name which kind of interferes with those sepia tinted memories of mine. "What's in a name?", Shakespeare may proclaim. " A bunch of memories and maybe some more too", would have been my reply a new months back. But not any more.

Inhibitions are the single largest factor that get in our way to achieving 'food nirvana'. This realization hit home when I tried out octopus and squid for the first time (of course with a lot of trepidation)  and fell in love instantaneously. That led me to create a bucket list of all those wonderful dishes/ingredients that I had been missing for the longest time. And i have been revising it ever since.

So, when I tried my hand at making popsicles, I went all out in my efforts to make it something memorable. And hence the birth of the 'Lemon Chili Popsicles' which also packs the freshness of mint and that subtle flavor of sea salt ( or 'Himalayan pink salt' for the more fastidious folks ). It turned out to be a double delight when my popsicles ran out within 20 mins of making their maiden debut and within another hour, I got a email mentioning 'Sweet and spicy' to be the current #foodventures theme. Now, if you have been following my blog, 'Foodventures' is an exciting venture by my food inspiration Vikas Khanna, and my favorite food and travel writer cum host Vir Sanghvi which promises to change the way we have been looking at food.

For now, check out the recipe for 'Lemon Chili Popsicles'  -


















Preparation Time - 20 mins ( plus 4-5 hours freezing time )

Ingredients -


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • a handful of mint leaves 
  • 3-4 green chilis
  • 2-3 pinch sea salt/ Himalayan salt

Preparation - To get the sugar syrup ready, boil sugar and water in equal quantities for a few minutes. Once it thickens, remove from flame and keep aside to cool down.

Take the green chilis and chop into small rings. De-seed them to minimize their heat. (It is ok if a few seeds are left behind)

Take 1/2 cup lime juice, 2/3 cups sugar syrup, 1 cup water, 6-7 mint leaves, a wee bit of green chili and 2-3 pinch sea salt in a blender jar. Blend for 2 mins.

Strain and pour the liquid into the popsicle molds and top each one with a few mint leaves and chilis .

Pop the molds into the freezer and let it set for 4-5 hours. Overnight is always preferable.


















De-mold by rubbing each one between the palms. Serve immediately.

That was my version of a 'Sweet and Spicy' foodventure. Check out this fabulous video which features the culinary giant, Vikas Khanna,  with his 'Sweet and Spicy' foodventure - 









If you are also passionate about embarking on adventures with food and have something in mind that fits the bill of being 'Sweet and Spicy', share it on #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights HERE. Who knows it might just be your lucky day and you could get a chance to feature in a video with one of the two food visionaries - Vikas Khanna or Vir Sanghvi !

Do not forget to drop a comment or two on the blog. I love to read them all.

9 comments:

  1. I love these popsicles, Sweta :)
    Odisha has the highest temperature this Summer...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :) ...yeah record temp eveywhere..even in Blore

      Delete
  2. Woahhh!! Lemon Chili Popsicles sound great !! I'm gonna try them soon. Thanks for sharing

    - xoxo - Chai - Style.. A Pastiche!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Your recipe increased my love for Popsicles...I will try it this weeekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :). Bet u r going to enjoy them :)

      Delete
  4. never heard of the combination, but definitely would like to try..Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete

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