Monday, 15 January 2018

Winter Spice Jelly (Khariya ni Jelly)

Khariya ni Jelly - Winter Spice Jelly
Decades ago when I was all of five, my parents and I would leisurely stroll down the streets of South Mumbai, soaking in the clop clop sounds of horses' hooves as tongawallas gave joy rides to families and balloon sellers waited for the kids to alight offering them their brightly hued gas balloons at ten rupees a piece.

Walk further and those intoxicating smells would emanate and hold me captive each time someone entered or exited the Taj Patisserie. This was my final destination, I was only here on a bright Sunday morning for that fluffy piece of pineapple pastry.

Full bellied and chirpy tempered as I exited my happy place,  I would always wonder why tourists from other countries were going completely gaga over the hot weather that we the locals had more than enough of. Upon shooting a quick volley of questions at my father (like five year olds are notorious for)  I discovered that many countries around the world get very little sunlight all through the year,  just like we here in India get very little of the winter season and hence whenever these tourists would find ample sunlight,  it was a time for rejoicing for them, much like we loved taking out our sweaters come December.

But those Decembers were different, it was actually cold in Bombay (now Mumbai), we actually needed to wear pullovers, and fans were actually shut off in our classrooms at school.

What was also different was the simple life we lived and enjoyed thoroughly with our family, neighbors and friends.

This was the time when the same guys who sold Doodh na Puff door to door would occasionally also sell a very rare kind of jelly, one made by vigorously boiling lamb trotters, (it's common knowledge that gelatin is made of animal bones, hence same principle applies here too) this liquid was then favoured with caramelised sugar and a variety of Indian spices.

Winters were the right time to enjoy this treat since the infusion of spices provided resistance and immunity to one's body, the natural gelatin strengthened your bones and the sugar provided much needed energy.

My granny often recreated this unique recipe by using agar agar in place of trotters and you have to try it for yourself to know it's deliciousness.

Read on for the recipe,

Yield: 4 ramekins or shot glasses

You will need:

Star anise - 1 piece
Green cardamom - 2 to 3 whole pieces
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch piece
Black peppercorns - 3 to 4
Clove - 1 piece
Water - 2 cups
Agar Agar (China grass a.k.a Veg gelatine) 1 packet i.e. 8 gms
Sugar - 50 gms (1/4 cup)


Start by soaking the china grass in half a cup of hot water, let it soak for 10 to 15 mins.

In the meantime start to caramalise the sugar in a pan, make sure that the sugar doesnt burn, keep the flame on med-low and add a teaspoon of water to quicken the process. Once the sugar is a deep rich brown, turn off the flame.

Now add in all the whole spices and the remaining water to the sugar,

Boil on a low flame till the sugar water is nicely infused with the aroma of the spices.

Next add in the agar agar along with its soaking water to the sugar water and boil on high for 5 mins.

Then switch off the flame and strain off the water into another clean bowl, discard the undissolved agar agar, but reserve the spices to garnish the set jelly.

Using a ladle pour the liquid into serving glasses.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.


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