Trilogy and some food for thought

The past few weeks have been hectic to say the least. Sometimes, I felt I was being stretched like a rubber band and at other times, I felt like a juggler. Too many things happening and all at the same time.
Then thankfully, the rains started in Mumbai. It is a gorgeous time of the year especially if you’re home and warming yourself with a cup of hot chocolate, reading a book as the rain pours outside. But, if you have to step out… Let’s not talk about that now. Okay?
With Amitav Ghosh
On the subject of books, I got to meet one of my favourite authors yesterday. Amitav Ghosh was in the city for the launch of his new book Flood of Fire. This is the last book in the Ibis trilogy. Since I’d won a contest, I’d the chance to interact with him with some other winners. The discussion was enlightening, to say the least. Ghosh spoke about how he writes his first draft on paper with a pencil, we discussed about Kindles and their convenience and how, nothing can take away from the heady aroma of a new book and burying yourself in it. 
Since we are talking about a trilogy here I thought it would only be logical that I share with you a similar recipe. Mango, which is the star of the season now, features prominently in these dishes. They’re all easy to make and guaranteed to be a hit! Try them and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
From left: Deconstructed Mango Rasayana, Vegan Mango Smoothie, Almost Cheesecake
Deconstructed Mango Rasayana: Jaggery & coconut milk pannacotta with mango
When we were younger my grandmother used to make this dessert in the summers called Mango Rasayana. It’s commonly made in Udupi and Mangalore, a very simple and easy dish to put together; it has coconut milk sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with cardamom. A whole lot of chopped mangoes are added to this, chilled and served. Delicious!
I gave a twist to this childhood memory. I made a pannacotta with the coconut milk and jaggery and topped this with fresh mango and voilà! There was a grown up version of a childhood favourite!
200ml of coconut milk
1 tsp of corn flour
1 tsp of gelatine
3 tbsp of jaggery granules
1/4 cup of water
A pinch of cardamom powder
Sprinkle the gelatine over the water, cover and keep it aside to allow it to bloom.
Meanwhile, mix the corn flour, coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom powder. Make sure there are no lumps.
Gently heat this mixture till it bubbles on the sides. Now add the gelatine mixture to this and stir till dissolved.
Remove from the flame. Pour into prepared moulds, allow it to cool down and then chill in the fridge till set.
Just before serving, add the chopped mangoes and serve immediately.
Mango, banana & tender coconut smoothie
Smoothies are the perfect breakfast option when I’m in a hurry. Add some nuts, oats and wheatgrass to that and it becomes a wholesome breakfast.
This one is a vegan option, absolutely no dairy products here! Instead I’ve used tender coconut flesh for that thickness. It’s a great way to incorporate this into your diet.
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
1 cup of tender coconut flesh or malai, chopped
Put all the ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into glasses, chill and serve.
Almost cheesecake: Baked yogurt with granola & mango
Baked yogurt is one of my favourite desserts to make especially if I’m feeding a crowd. It’s so easy-peasy to do and you can top it with anything from chocolate to fresh fruit and it will taste awesome.
You can find the recipe for baked yogurt here. This is the one I always follow.
What I did different was, while serving I layered the bowl with some homemade granola, then the baked yogurt and finally topped with chopped fresh mangoes. The dessert looked and tasted like a mango cheesecake but with some unusual flavours. You can eliminate the granola and serve the baked yogurt with just the fresh fruit if you like too.

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