Jammin’ Juice Lollies

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Who doesn’t love ice lollies? It’s easy to buy one from a supermarket freezer if you’re OK feeding artificial content (refined sugars, colours and flavours) to your kids. I prefer making one of these insanely delicious coolers, filling the lolly moulds with whatever’s left over. Three hours and a thousand are-they-done-yets later, I have happy smiling kids devouring refreshing/hygienic lollies. These especially come in handy during the summer months and are ideal as an after-school treat for kids.

You can try experimenting with other fruit juice combinations; some that work well together include:

  • Orange and mango
  • Orange and carrot
  • Pineapple and coconut
  • Lemon and honey
  • Mint and lime
  • Apple and pomegranate
  • Raspberry, strawberry and blueberry
  • Watermelon and strawberry
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Coolers To Beat The Intense Summer Heat

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It’s that dreaded time of the year again. We are on the verge of summer and we all know what that means; the scorching sun mercilessly beating down upon us. The Pakistani summer is characterized by an exponential increase in the sale of all things cool and refreshing, like ice-cream, kulfi (a frozen milk-based treat with nuts and saffron) and juices. The number of juice-walas (read, roadside juice stalls) propping up all across the country is directly proportional to the ever-soaring temperatures. These juice-walas serve all kinds of tempting (albeit unhygienic) concoctions using popular ingredients like watermelons, lemons and rooh-afza (a Pakistani drink concentrate).

Commuting to work during summers is a chore most people detest, and there’s nothing more enticing than the call of the juice-wala screaming ‘Thanda Thanda Limo Pani. Sirf Panch Rupay, Panch Rupay, Panch Rupay!’ (Cool, cool lemonade for just five rupees). Please do not pay heed to the juice-wala, no matter how thirsty you may be. The contents of the juice are questionable at best and you never know when, if ever, the glass was last washed. Instead, pick up some fresh produce on your way home and make one of these five lip-smacking coolers to satisfy your summer craving.

Watermelon-Strawberry Cooler

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Ingredients:

  • 300 grams watermelon (just the red fleshy part)
  • 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4-5 strawberries (use frozen if fresh are not available)

Kiwi-Lemon Chiller

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Ingredients:

  • 3 kiwis (slightly ripe)
  • 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup water

Pina Colada

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Ingredients:

  • ½ pineapple (use 4-5 slices of canned pineapple if fresh isn’t available)
  • ½ cup of coconut water

Lime-Mint Mojito

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Ingredients:

  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup water

Apple-Pomegranate Cocktail

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Ingredients:

  • 2 apples
  • 1 pomegranate

For all the recipes listed above, use the method listed below:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix well; if you have a juicer/extractor or a hand-blender, those would work too
  2. Use a fine-mesh sieve to remove the pulp from the juice; press on the pulp using a spoon to get all the juice out
  3. Keep the juice in the freezer for at least 1 hour
  4. Add a handful of crushed ice before serving

These drinks are an absolute hit at dinner parties, so why not be the juice-wala your guests desperately need you to be? Remember: with great power (read, recipes), comes great responsibility!

Enjoy!

p.s. Each of the recipes listed above takes a maximum of 5 minutes to prepare and yields approx. 250 to 300 ml sufficient for one large or two small servings, depending on how thirsty you are.

Stuffed Chicken Breast With Pineapple Sauce

SCBWPS (read the title, dude!), a dish served at Salt n’ Pepper (or SNP – one of the popular eateries) in Lahore (Pakistan), brings back a lot of fond memories from my post-grad days. I associate this phenomenal recipe with some of the happiest times in my life. I happened to visit Lahore a few months ago and luckily, SNP was just around the corner from where I was staying. Needless to say, SNP was my first stop after a long and tiring day of travel. As I took my seat in the restaurant, I couldn’t help but reminisce all the good times I had had with my friends. The table where we had sat numerous times, sharing jokes and jibing at each other, was empty, but I could clearly picture all my friends sitting around it as if it were only yesterday.

Try as I might, I couldn’t shake off the nostalgia even after my return to Karachi, so I coaxed my wife into attempting this feat at home; what can I say? A craving’s a craving. So what makes this recipe so special? Well, for starters, the pineapple sauce on top is divine, not to mention the crispy deep-fried chicken breast with stuffed-cheese that just oozes out as soon as you slice it open. I’m not a big fan of the pureed spinach on the side, but the fries and the coleslaw take the dish to an entire new level. Most of all, it’s the surprisingly refreshing sweet-tangy taste that blows your mind, a combination that you never-in-a-million-years thought would work with chicken, but it somehow does.

The Original SCBWPS

This one goes out to all my friends who live in and around Lahore for all the heartache your incessant gloating has caused after you’ve been to SNP for your SCBWPS fix; “Suck it people; I can have SCBWPS whenever I want!”

Apologies for taking some time out to get my gloat on (Oh it’s on, like Donkey Kong), let me dive straight into the recipe; but before I do, I’d just like to mention that I did spice things up a bit by adding some chili components to the chicken. So if you’d like to stick to the original recipe, you can leave the optional ingredients out of the recipe.

Ingredients

For Chicken Breasts

  • 2 chicken breasts complete with wings (do not debone it)
  • 2 tbsp mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp cheddar cheese
  • a pinch of oregano
  • ¼ tsp + ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp mustard sauce
  • ½ tsp MSG (ajinomoto or Chinese salt)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn flour
  • ½ tsp chili flakes or paprika for a milder flavor (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying

For Pineapple Sauce

  • 1 can of diced pineapples (Del Monte works best)
  • ¾ tsp corn flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 8-10 carrot shavings (thinly-sliced squares)
  • 8-10 cucumber shavings (thinly-sliced squares)
  • ½ tbsp corn (optional)
  • 1 stalk of spring onion (finely chopped)
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp honey
Sidelines
  • French fries
  • Coleslaw
  • Pureed spinach seasoned with some salt and pepper

Method

For Chicken Breasts

  1. Clean and wash the chicken breasts; add ¼ tsp black pepper, chili sauce, soy sauce, mustard sauce, some salt and MSG and marinate it for 6-8 hours
  2. Mix the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses with the oregano and set aside
  3. Take each breast and make a small slit along the plastic bone (see drawing – stop judging me, people; I got my point across, didn’t I?)
  4. Carefully stuff in the cheese mixture into the chicken cavity and press it all the way in so that it doesn’t run back out during deep-frying
  5. In another bowl, mix in the all-purpose flour, corn flour, ¼ tsp black pepper, chili flakes (or paprika), and some salt to make the dry batter
  6. Take each stuffed breast and coat it properly with the dry batter
  7. Deep fry the chicken pieces in oil on medium-high heat till they are nicely crisp and golden; using a deep fryer here yields better results; set aside after frying
For Pineapple Sauce
  1. Boil the carrot shavings as well as the corn to tenderize them
  2. Take a saucepan and add in all the liquid content of the pineapple can to it; let it simmer on a low-medium flame
  3. In a bowl, take the corn flour and water and mix it well
  4. Slowly add in the corn flour mixture to the pan, stirring it all the while to avoid lumps
  5. Cook it for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and the whiteness of the corn flour vanishes completely
  6. Add in the black pepper, salt and honey
  7. Add in 8-10 chunks of crushed pineapple to the sauce
  8. Let it cook for 3 minutes and then add in the carrots, corn and thinly-sliced spring onion
  9. Add in the cucumbers last and take it off the flame immediately
  10. In a plate, take one of the chicken breasts, top it off with a generous serving of the pineapple sauce and serve immediately with french fries, coleslaw and spinach puree

Here are the finished results.