Ambrosia

This medley of fruits in a sugar syrup with dry fruits, honey and nuts is a dish that our family makes every year for a festival called Dussehra. It’s a celebration that lasts for about nine days and is celebrated by Hindus all over India.

I love the richness of this dish which is so satisfying and yet so light and refreshing. The aroma of the ghee and cardamom is delicious. It’s also vegan and could be served as dessert with a dollop of coconut cream.

It’s very simple to make. Once the sugar syrup is done you just have to add all the fruits and nuts, honey, ghee and cardamom. For those of you who want to cut down on sugar, you could add less of it.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes SERVES: 6

Ingredients

½ cup jaggery

½ cup water

1 apple

2 bananas

2 oranges, segmented

2 guavas, cut into cubes

1 cup grapes, cut into two

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp ghee

1 tsp cardamom powder

½ cup dates, chopped roughly

½ cup cashewnuts

½ cup raisins

Instructions

Combine the jaggery and water and cook over a moderate heat until the jaggery melts. Strain into another pan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Add all the ingredients except the apple and bananas. Core and cut the apple into small cubes. Add to the sugar syrup immediately. Slice the bananas into the sugar syrup and mix well. Refrigerate and serve with a dollop of coconut cream.

Guava Spread

It’s the season for guavas and the tree in my garden was laden with the luscious fruit. I usually make Guava Jelly but this time I decided to make a spread instead. The result was just heavenly.

It requires some patience, but the effort is well worth it. Children love this spread and you can also add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon powder. You have to be careful to remove it when it starts leaving the sides of the pan. It’s also better to use a heavy bottomed pan as it takes some time to cook and you don’t want the mixture to burn.

It’s great as a sandwich with fresh wholemeal bread or with toast.

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PREP: 1 hour COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh ripened guavas
  • 1 kg granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp citric acid
  • 100 gms butter
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Wash the fruit and trim off any blemishes/bruises on the surface. Chop the fruit into 1/2” cubes and add enough water to cover the fruit. Cook until the fruit is soft (about 10-15 minutes). Cool and pass the mixture through a strainer so that the seeds remain behind. Transfer the fruit pulp to a large pan.

Add the sugar, citric acid, butter and salt to the fruit pulp and cook over medium heat until the butter and sugar dissolve. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture stirring constantly until it leaves the sides of the pan. Transfer the guava spread to dry, sterilized bottles. Store in a cool and dry place.