I love anything with lemon in it, especially desserts. Aren’t lemon-y desserts just perfect for hot summer days, too? The scent of lemon instantly perks me up, makes me smile, even when I’m sweating buckets. Well, the Hung Curd Lemon Mousse that I’m going to tell you about today is exactly one such dessert – perfect for the summer months, fresh and lemony, something that will make you smile instantly. And, hey, it’s easy-peasy to make – no standing around in the kitchen for hours on end!
This is a relatively healthy dessert too, with no cream or condensed milk used. I have used home-made hung curd here, and organic honey to sweeten it. Once you have the hung curd ready, fixing up this mousse is a matter of minutes!
Here’s how I made the Hung Curd Lemon Mousse.
Ingredients (serves 4):
12-14 digestive biscuits
About 3/4 cup fresh hung curd
3-4 tablespoons honey, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest, or that from 2 lemons
5-6 unsalted cashewnuts
5-6 unsalted almonds
A few fresh mint leaves for garnishing (optional)
Toast the almonds and cashewnuts in a pan, on medium heat, till they get crisp. Ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate, and allow them to cool down completely.
When the toasted almonds and cashewnuts are cool enough to handle, chop them into slivers. Keep aside.
Break up the digestive biscuits roughly and add them to a mixer jar. Pulse a couple of times, till you get a powder. Keep aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the hung curd, honey, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well, ensuring that everything is thoroughly incorporated together. Keep aside.
You will need 4 small glasses to serve the dessert. Add some of the biscuit powder to the bottom of these 4 glasses. Spoon in some of the hung curd mixture on top of this. Add some almond and cashewnut slivers over this. Again, add a layer each of biscuit powder, hung curd mixture, and almond and cashewnut slivers. Repeat this till the glasses are almost 3/4 full.
Garnish the glasses with a little more biscuit powder, almond and cashewnut slivers, and mint leaves. Cover, and keep in refrigerator for about 2 hours. Serve chilled.
1. Raw cane sugar can be used to make this lemon mousse, instead of honey. You can also use ordinary refined sugar instead.
2. Lemon zest is nothing but the skin of fresh lemons, grated finely. You can use a zester or an ordinary grater to do this. While grating, make sure that you grate only the yellow skin of the lemon, avoiding any of the white layer underneath – the latter might cause your dessert to turn bitter.
3. You can use any brand of digestive biscuits of your choice, to make this Hung Curd Lemon Mousse. I prefer using Marie Biscuits.
4. You can even use walnuts, pecans, pine nuts or any other nuts of your choice, in making this mousse.
5. To make hung curd, simply take fresh curd in a cotton cloth, bunch it up and place it in a colander. Place the colander over a vessel and keep it undisturbed, in a cool and dry place, for about 2 hours. By this time, all the water will drain out of the curd and you will get a thick, smooth, creamy residue – this is what is hung curd, which can be used in making various dishes. For best results, use very fresh curd that isn’t sour.
6. If you aren’t planning on making the dessert right away after the hung curd is ready, store it in the refrigerator till you are. This will help stop sourness from getting into the prepared hung curd.
This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Recipes using curd’.
‘Cherrapunji is the wettest place on earth. It gets the highest amount of rainfall in the world,‘ I remember reading time and time again in my geography textbooks at school. Like many, that was my first introduction to Cherrapunji, via school books.
Well, the mantle of ‘wettest place on earth’ has now been passed to the neighbouring village of Mawsynram. Still, I am so thrilled to have had a chance to actually visit Cherrapunji aka Sohra, this place straight out of my school books, on our holiday to North-East India! And, guess what? We happened to visit Cherrapunji right in the midst of the monsoon, when it was at its wettest, wild, gorgeous best!
Cherrapunjee from my eyes
We didn’t have any preconceived notions about Cherrapunji when we visited, and went with an open mind. The place charmed the socks right off us. We were thrilled to meet the sleepy, laid-back, small town that Cherrapunjee is, literally in the midst of the clouds. This land of many waterfalls and lush, lush greenery is still off-the-beaten track for many tourists.
Most tourists who do come here stay for just a day or so. They opt only to visit the Double-Decker Living Root Bridge and, at the most, a couple of tourist destinations. Cherrapunjee, however, is the sort of place you explore at a leisurely place. It is the kind of place where you stay put and do nothing, just sitting in the porch of your hotel with a cup of tea warming your hands, soaking in the prettiness around you. It is the kind of place where you take long walks on the winding streets, on misty mornings. You watch whole mountains being swallowed up by the clouds and mist. You let the clouds and mist envelop you, too, and you disappear into a private, magical space all of your own. Here, you begin to understand why Meghalaya (‘the abode of the clouds’ is called so), and why Rabindranath Tagore was moved to poetry here. You even write some poetry of your own, here. There is a lot to see and do and feel and explore in Cherrapunjee, if you take the time to do it.
We stayed in Cherrapunji for 3 days, and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. We skipped the famous Double-Decker Root Bridge, as we were told it wasn’t a wise thing to attempt with a toddler in tow. We checked out many other spots here, and yet, I have this feeling that we have just barely scratched the surface.
When we visited, it would rain heavily in the early mornings, and everywhere would be filled with mist. At times like these, we would go for a leisurely stroll, just to get ourselves acquainted with the place, gawping at the pretty pastel-coloured houses, the local Ja-Sha (tea & rice) shops, and the many remnants of British culture. We would head for a relaxed breakfast then, the weather beginning to turn very pleasant. A day of exploration would follow. By 5.30 PM or so, it would start getting dark, and we would return to our hotel to rest and recoup. I grew so very fond of these do-nothing sort of days in Cherrapunjee – I would do it all over again in a flash!
Relics from the times of the British Raj
Our cab driver told us fascinating stories of how the British were charmed by Cherrapunjee. ‘The Britishers wanted to make this place their capital,’ he said, adding, ‘but they found life here extremely tough. It was difficult to maintain any sort of records – the rain would wash away the ink on all their official papers. Finally, they gave up, and made Shillong their capital.’
I’m not sure how far this is true, but Cherrapunji does still possess some relics from the time the Britishers spent here. There are some very beautiful ancient churches here, and a few schools that the British set up. Apparently, during the British rule in Meghalaya, many of the local Khasi tribespeople converted to Christianity, which is still the most-favoured religion in the state, Cherrapunjee included.
Neither the husband nor me are enamoured with waterfalls. I mean, we do love the sound of the gushing water – it never fails to soothe and relax us – but apart from that, we aren’t particularly fascinated by them. The waterfalls of Cherrapunji, however, made us fall in love with them! Wahkaba is one such beautiful waterfall we visited here, and absolutely adored. Abundant, powerful, pretty, we stared and stared at this waterfall for a long, long time. Then, the sun came out and made a rainbow in the Wahkaba, magic right before our eyes!
There are quite a few caves and caverns in Cherrapunji, many of them boasting of exotic rock formations and fossils. Mawsmai and Arwah are two of the best-known caves in the area. We decided not to do Mawsmai, as our tour guide suggested against it – it would be a difficult trek with a baby. We went to Arwah instead, and it turned out to be a fascinating experience.
The climb up to Arwah Caves itself is magical. You get to see some amazing, amazing vistas, as you ascend.
You can choose to sit and rest at any of the stops during the climb, and take in the beauty around you. We did the climb real slow, soaking in every moment of it.
Good we did that, too, because when we got to the caves, we found we couldn’t get in too deep while carrying the kid – parts of it are real narrow and you need to double over to enter.
We were so drunk on nature by then that we didn’t mind this one bit. Not exploring the cave meant more time for us to lounge around and breathe in more of that gorgeous, fresh air.
Nohkalikai is another amazingly beautiful waterfall in Cherrapunji. When we visited, the water was abundant and gushing. At this spot, we fell in love with waterfalls all over again.
This brilliant waterfall has a rather gruesome story behind it, associated with a young local lady called Ka Likai (‘Ka‘ is a prefix given to women in general in Khasi). After Ka Likai’s husband died, she remarried, as is customary in this part of the world. Ka Likai had a baby daughter by her first husband, and would spend a lot of time with the little one after she got back home from work. Local legend says this made her new husband so jealous and furious that he killed the baby, and used the meat to cook a meal for his wife. That evening, the wife, hungry after her work, ate the meal. It was only later, when Ka Likai discovered a little finger lying in the house that she realised what had happened. Overcome with grief, she ran off the edge of a nearby cliff and died. Since then, the waterfall emanating from this particular place began to be called the Nohkalikai Falls, after her.
Sad as the story behind Nohkalikai Falls is, the place is quite the tourist attraction now. The atmosphere at the site resembles a small village fair, with everything from local handicrafts, woollen garments and toys to forest honey, a variety of pickles, fresh cinnamon bark and bay leaves on sale. I loved this part – I walked around the fair to my heart’s content, took pictures and shopped till we almost dropped!
The Ramakrishna Mission, set up in Cherrapunji in 1924 by Swami Vivekananda, is a big-time tourist attraction here. We found it just like the Mission in other places, nothing extraordinary. I loved the museum within the Mission premises, though, which is full of information and models depicting life in the North-East Indian states and their history.
Photography is not permitted here, and so, I don’t have any pictures of this place to show.
A large park maintained by the government, Eco Park is something of a tourist attraction in Cherrapunji. It isn’t much, to be honest, sort of poorly maintained, but it does offer some amazing views. We enjoyed walking around the park, photographing the breath-taking Missing Falls (named so because the source of the waterfall is untraceable). The kiddo had a grand time having a go at the swings in the children’s play area here!
Seven Sisters Falls
The Nohsngithiang Falls in Cherrapunji is popularly called the Seven Sisters Falls, because it is segmented into seven parts, naturally. Considered one of India’s tallest falls, this is supposed to be quite a beautiful spot. When we visited, however, we found only very thin streams of water cascading into the valley below, a kind of disappointment after the gorgeous falls we had been witness to in Cherrapunji earlier.
So, that’s about all that we managed to do in Cherrapunji. Like I said before, I believe we have only just scratched the surface of all that the place has to offer. Well, next time..
The best way to visit Cherrapunji is to reach Guwahati, either by air or train. Cherrapunji, about 180km from Guwahati, can be reached via state transport buses or private cabs. Alternatively, you could travel to Shillong from Guwahati (via bus or cab), and then travel ahead to Cherrapunji.
Private cabs are the best way to cover all the major tourist destinations in Cherrapunji. It is a great place to walk leisurely around in, but you really need a cab to sight-see. Our entire North-East trip was planned and managed by North East Explorers.
There are a handful of good homestays, guest houses, hotels and resorts in Cherrapunji. Polo Orchid Resort, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resorts, Sohra Plaza, D Cloud Guesthouse are some stay options available here.
Orange Roots, Halari, 7 Sisters Falls View Inn, Cafe Cherrapunjee & Inn and Rain Cafe are some of the popular eateries here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and found it useful! Please do tell me in your comments!
Did you know that the peel of various fruits and vegetables can be used to make delicious dishes? Yes! The peel, in most cases, contains a whole lot of nutrients, and they are best eaten rather than discarded. This Vazhakkai Thol Thogayal or Raw Banana Peel Chutney is one such example of a beautiful dish created from the high-in-fibre peel of the plantain, which would otherwise have gone to waste.
When I recently read about Raw Banana Peel Chutney (‘Aratikkaya Tokka Pachadi‘ in Telugu) on Sakhi Ravoor’s blog, I was reminded of a similar chutney that Amma would make. Amma‘s chutney would be yummylicious but simple, while Sakhi’s version sounded like a jazzed-up version of the same. I decided to recreate Amma’s chutney in my kitchen, adding a few Sakhi touches to it. The result was so very lovely – a delight, which we polished off in no time.
This Raw Banana Peel Chutney is finger-lickingly delicious, bursting with flavour. It pairs wonderfully with idlis, dosas, rotis, parathas and steamed rice alike.
Here is how I made the Raw Banana Peel Chutney.
Ingredients (makes about 1 cup) :
Peel from 2 medium-sized raw bananas
1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 medium-sized tomatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic
A 1-inch piece of ginger
A small piece of tamarind
2 tablespoons chana daal
2 tablespoons urad daal
4-5 dry red chillies, or to taste
1 tablespoon jaggery, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
1 teaspoon mustard
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
2 pinches of asafoetida
1. Cut the raw banana peel into small pieces. Chop tomatoes into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Keep aside.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add the chopped banana peel, and cook on low flame till they turn brown. Add chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger. Cook on low flame till the veggies shrink a little. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow these ingredients to cool down completely.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add the chana daal, urad daal and dry red chillies. Fry on low heat till the daals turn brown, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Add the til in the end and fry for a couple of seconds. Transfer all the fried ingredients to another plate and allow to cool down completely.
4. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for a few minutes, till it gets soft. Remove seeds, strings and impurities, if any, from the tamarind. Allow this to cool down completely. Reserve the water the tamarind was soaked in, too.
5. Take the cooked raw banana peel, tomatoes, ginger and garlic in a medium-sized mixer jar. Add salt to taste, jaggery, turmeric powder and tamarind along with the water it was soaked in. Pulse a couple of times for 2 seconds each, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer with a spoon and mix the ingredients.
6. Now, add the fried chana daal, urad daal, dried red chillies and til to the mixer. Mix the ingredients. Pulse a couple of times for 2 seconds each, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer and mix the ingredients. Stop when you get a chutney wherein the veggies are well ground and the daals are coarsely crushed. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.
7. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add mustard seeds, and allow to splutter. Lower flame and add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Transfer this tempering to the chutney in the serving bowl. Mix well. The chutney is now ready to be served.
1. Use peel from bananas that are raw, green and firm, with not a hint of ripeness. This will give you the perfect-tasting Raw Banana Peel Chutney.
2. Adjust the quantity of salt, jaggery, dry red chillies and tamarind as per your personal taste preferences.
3. Finely chopped coriander can be mixed in too, after the Raw Banana Peel Chutney is ready.
4. Grind the raw banana peel, tomatoes, ginger and garlic first, along with salt, tamarind, turmeric and jaggery first. When almost done, add the roasted til, chana daal, uraddaal and dry red chillies. This will ensure that the chutney retains a slight crunch from the daals.
5. We use only the peel of the raw bananas to make this chutney. The raw bananas can be used to make some other dish.
Did you like this recipe for Raw Banana Peel Chutney? I hope you will try this out, and that you will love it as much aswe did!
Kerala’s connection with the Gulf is legendary. Almost every family in Kerala has someone living in the Gulf countries or someone very eager to go there. When we recently visited Wayanad,Kerala, we were not surprised to come across small bakeries called ‘Dubai Bakery’, ‘UAE Bakery’ and the likes. It was in one of these little bake shops that we sampled Sharjah Shake for the first time ever.
For the uninitiated, Sharjah Shake is a milkshake that you will find in most bakeries in Kerala. A concoction made of milk, coffee powder, sometimes chocolate, peanuts, bananas, vanilla ice cream and Boost, Horlicks or Bournvita, it tastes absolutely delicious. This might sound like a weird combination, but don’t let that deter you from trying this out – like I said, this milkshake is finger-lickingly delish!
The origins of the Sharjah Shake are hazy. Some say this concoction was dreamt up by a Malayali in memory of the beautiful time he spent in Sharjah. Some say it is a tribute to the Gulf, the unending love Keralites share for the place. Well, whatever the case may be, I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to taste this beauty in Wayanad and to learn to make it right there!
Here’s how to make Sharjah Shake, the way I learnt standing in a tiny Wayanadan bakery.
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 medium-sized Robusta banana, chopped
2 heaped tablespoons Boost
3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons salted peanuts, skin removed
1 small cup of vanilla ice cream or to taste
About 1-1/2 cups chilled milk
1. Add all ingredients in mixer.
2. Blend till smooth.
3. Pour into serving glasses. Sprinkle some cocoa powder or instant coffee powder on top (optional). Serve immediately.
1. You can add in a few cashewnuts for a thicker milkshake as well as for added flavour.
2. Increase or decrease the quantity of the ingredients used, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
3. You can use Horlicks or Bournvita in making this milkshake, instead of Boost. Each one of these will add a variation to the taste.
4. Make sure the milk has been boiled and chilled in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, before using it in making the milkshake.
5. In Kerala, small local varieties of bananas are used to make the Sharjah Shake. Since I did not have access to them, I used a Robusta banana instead.
This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Recipes using coffee’.
It was my birthday, over a month back, and the husband and I decided to head out for a quiet lunch together, with the bub. He told me to choose the restaurant where I’d like to eat, and I chose Maia – Eat|Bake|Mom in Bellandur, a place that had been on my hit list ever since it opened up some time last year. We ended up having a lovely, relaxed lunch at Maia’s, and falling in love with the beautiful place that it is.
Concept of Maia – Eat|Bake|Mom
A relatively new entrant in the food scene in Bangalore, Maia is an eatery with a difference. I have been in love with the concept of Maia, ever since I heard of it – a space dedicated to moms, a menu featuring recipes contributed by moms from across the world, no-nonsense food prepared without any preservatives or harmful additives, food that isn’t cooked in a jiffy (restaurant-style) but the way it is at homes, food you wouldn’t hesitate to feed your child, including breads baked in-house.
Maia is an all-vegetarian restaurant, which doesn’t serve alcohol. It is owned and managed by Ms. Sejal Shah, a Gujarati, and her partner, thanks to which you will find several Gujarati dishes on the menu.
Location, decor and ambience
Tucked away in a quiet bylane in the busy Bellandur, Maia wasn’t difficult to find. Google Maps led the way, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Once you enter the gates of Maia, you forget that you are in the midst of the concrete jungle that is Bellandur. With a gurgling waterfall, earthy and rustic decor, glimpses of quirkiness here and there, and lots of greenery all around, this place is surely an oasis of calm. Both the husband and I were totally charmed by the prettiness of Maia.
Maia is quite a large space, with a large number of seats available. There is both indoor and outdoor seating here, and we chose to sit in the open, right beside the waterfall. In hindsight, this turned out to be a wonderful decision. It turned out to be quite an experience eating to the sound of gushing water. All throughout our lunch, the sound of the water washed over us, and we finished our meal thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated. This is a rare occurrence for us, considering that most restaurants blast loud, loud, loud music and are so noisy that you can barely hear your partner over the din, leave alone have a conversation! For this quietude alone, we would love to return to Maia, again and again and again.
When we visited, we were lucky to have the place almost all to ourselves, and this added to the feeling of quietude that Maia already exudes. This is, definitely, the sort of place you should take your loved ones to, a place where you can really talk and bond with each other, over good food.
I hear the eatery is even more beautiful by night, when it is all lit up with fairy lights, a magical world of sorts. I can’t wait to go back to Maia, to check it out at night time!
Food and drinks
We started our meal at Maia with Traditional Farali Patties – a Gujarati delicacy, a snack made with potatoes and a gorgeous sweetish stuffing within, something that is consumed during fasts. How could I not?! I adore farali patties, haven’t been able to figure out how to make them at home myself, and haven’t found them elsewhere in Bangalore. So, these had to be ordered!
The patties were lovely, and one bite into them flooded my mind with thousands of memories from when I used to live in Ahmedabad. They were, in my humble opinion, just a notch less flavourful than the absolutely brilliant ones I remember eating in Ahmedabad. That said, these were still lovely.
Next up, we opted for Burrata & Rucola Pizza, a thin-crust pizza made with Maia’s home-made tomato sauce, burrata cheese and rucola lettuce. The pizza was served with a variety of infused olive oils for us to drizzle over it – roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and chilli – and it was just lovely, too. Super fresh pizza, simple yet beautiful in taste – what’s to not love?!
Then, we went for Pasta Arrabiatta, our eternal favourite in restaurants. It came with a slice of warm, pillowy soft, beautiful bread which, I heard, was baked in-house. The pasta itself was very lovely, perfectly cooked, with an extremely flavourful sauce, generously laced with veggies. We loved this the most!
To end our meal, we chose Maia’s Signature Popcorn Shake, instead of a dessert. Popcorn blended into a milkshake, with salted caramel sauce and ice cream – this is definitely something we haven’t come across anywhere else! This was just lovely too, very well blended, the perfect mix of sweet and saltiness.
It’s a pity we weren’t able to try out more of the interesting dishes on Maia’s menu. I can’t wait to go back here for the same!
The service staff was courteous, warm and friendly.
A couple of the dishes took a bit of time to arrive at our table, but we were fine with that as we weren’t in a hurry. I understand that is also because the food here is prepared fresh, only after the order is received. If I have to wait for fresh, home-style food, hey, that’s perfectly okay!
Our bill came to around INR 700, which I think is pretty reasonable, considering the quality and taste of the food and the ambience at Maia’s.
Both the husband and I adored Maia, and will cherish the beautiful experience of lunching here for a long time to come. This is definitely a place I would highly recommend you to head to, with friends or family or on a date! The menu, albeit all-vegetarian, has a whole lot of Indian and international dishes to choose from. Like I said earlier, I am eager to go back here again, to try out more from the extensive menu, and probably check out the ambience by night.
When we were at Maia’s, we had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Shah, a co-founder, who came across as extremely friendly and passionate. I understand there are plans for an in-house patisserie, cooking studio and cheese-making classes at Maia’s in the pipeline, all of which sounds fascinating to me!