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I believe this to be my greatest discovery this summer. While I cannot honestly fathom how I did without this heavenly mango drink for so many years, I have a good mind to catch up on what I’ve been missing and I strongly urge you to do the same if you have not already done so. Mango mastani is a thick blend of fresh mango puree, chilled milk and vanilla ice cream topped with nuts, tutti fruit and candied cherries. I do not think that the term ‘milkshake’ really does it any justice to the mango mastani, which originates from Pune, Maharashtra in honor of the beautiful queen Mastani, wife of Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I. The love story of these ill-fated lovers has been over the years retold through novels, Tv series and movies, the most famous being Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani, released in 2015. The recipe for this refreshing royal beverage, from Cook with Manali, has been tweaked to include mango sorbet as I was running short of vanilla ice cream and it serves to enhance the mango flavor, which can only be a good thing here.

MANGO MASTANI

Ingredients:

2 large ripe mangoes

1 cup whole milk, chilled

1/2 cup whipping cream

5-6 ice cubes, crushed or whole

2 tablespoons sugar, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

2 tablespoons tutti frutti

2 glazed cherries

Few mango pieces

Method:

  • Peel the mangoes and remove all the pulp. Blend all the ingredients till smooth.

  • Pour into serving glasses, fill the glasses 3/4th leaving some space for ice cream.

  • Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream to each glass. Garnish with the chopped nuts.

  • Top with tutti frutti, mango and cherries. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Mango Mastani

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Salad meals have becomes the latest trend among health conscious foodies and bloggers. The average working man or woman has virtually no time to sit and plan a basic balanced meal. Even lunch time has become a dash to grab a sandwich and a bottle of mineral water between two meetings. As we give in to our hectic schedules, our daily meals become increasingly pre-packed or takeaway stuff, which we devour mindlessly as we put convenience ahead of health benefits. This delicious rice noodle salad can help balance out the junk food with its colorful jumble of prawns, nuts, and crunchy veggies. Taken from the blotchy pages of my well-used salad book, Larousse Salades Repas, this cold Asian salad can be served in verrines as fancy hors d’oeuvres or packed in a mason jar for office lunch.

COLD RICE NOODLE SALAD

Ingredients:

350g thick rice noodles

1 small pineapple, peeled

150g bean sprouts

250g large prawns

1 small English cucumber

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small bunch mint leaves

60g salted cashew nuts

1 small red chili, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

Method:

  • Prepare the dressing by crushing chili, garlic and sugar in a mortar. Transfer to small bowl.

  • Stir in lime juice and fish sauce and keep the dressing in the fridge until ready to assemble.

  • Cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions. Drain them well and place in serving bowl.

  • Cut the pineapple into small cubes and slice cucumber thinly. Shell and devein the prawns.

  • Sautee them in one tablespoon oil until they turn pink and are cooked throughout. Set aside.

  • To assemble salad, combine noodles with pineapple, cucumber, bean sprouts and tomatoes.

  • Add the cooked prawns, drizzle salad with dressing and toss in bowl till it is well combined.

  • Scatter the salted cashew nuts and fresh mint leaves to top before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

This spectacular fruit salad, from Carl’s Bad Cravings, combines all my favorite seasonal fruits together for a refreshing summer treat. Chunks of chilled watermelon, pineapple and mango, dunked in honey and lime mint dressing, are fabulous on their own though you could add blueberries, strawberries, kiwis or pretty much anything sitting in your fruit bowl that does not look too boring. I do not bother with the grilling process as I do not think it is worth heating up a grill to build a simple fruit salad. But if you already set for a BBQ party, you might as well char your pineapple and watermelon slices for a couple of minutes before adding them to this colourful jumble of chopped fruit.

WATERMELON & PINEAPPLE SALAD

Ingredients:

For the Fruit Salad

1/2 watermelon, sliced into 1″ slices

1 pineapple, sliced into 1″ slices

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

1 pint blueberries or strawberries

For the Honey Lime Mint Dressing

1/4 cup pure honey

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon lime zest

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh mint

Method:

  • Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and chill mixture for at least 20 minutes.

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill pineapple for 8-10 minutes or until caramelized.

  • Grill watermelon for 4 minutes until grill marks appear, turning once but do not overcook.

  • You can either refrigerate pineapple and watermelon separately or serve fresh off the grill.

  • When ready to serve, chop watermelon and pineapple. Add to a large bowl with other fruit.

  • Pour desired amount of dressing over fruit salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Watermelon & Pineapple Salad

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