Strawberry Mint Limeade

I feel like when it comes to get-togethers, the beverage department is often overlooked. I enjoy making different types of drinks for gatherings, and one that I keep coming back to is this delicious Strawberry Mint Limeade. Berries are in abundant and bursting with sweetness this time of year, and combining them with fresh mint and lime juice results in a heavenly refreshing drink that is sure to be loved by everyone!

(Recipe adapted from here)

 

StrawberryMintLimeadePic

Strawberry Mint Limeade

Yield: 6 – 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ pounds strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 20 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

Prepare a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring as needed (does not need to boil). Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine strawberries and mint. Roughly mash with a potato masher (alternately, the berries can be roughly chopped in a food processor). Add remaining 5 cups of water, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (up to overnight). Strain the liquid into a pitcher, discarding the solids. Stir in cooled simple syrup and lime juice.

Serve garnished with additional mint leaves.

Sugar-Laced Sweet Pakistani Vermicelli/ Qawami Seviyaan

I mentioned last week that I was in charge of the desserts for our Eid gathering.  One of the things that I made were these Qawami Seviyaan, which are Pakistani style vermicelli that are cooked in a simple syrup.  My in-laws traditionally only eat Sheer Khurma on the Eid following Ramadan, but my family has a tradition of making and eating Sheer Khurma on both Eids.  This past Eid felt strange without any Seviyaan, or vermicelli, so I quickly whipped up this version on Eid morning.  Qawami is the Urdu word for simple syrup, and Seviyaan is the Urdu word for vermicelli.

This is a very simple recipe that can be prepared and on the table in a matter of 15 minutes.  And it’s fancy name and display is a sure way to impress even the harshest of critics 😉

QawamiSeviyaanPic

Qawami Seviyaan

Yield:  6 – 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 cardamoms
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 200 grams Pakistani style vermicelli, torn up into 2-inch pieces
  • Crushed pistachios or almonds, for garnish

Directions:

Combine water, sugar, cardamoms, and saffron in a saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large cooking vessel, melt butter over medium heat.  Add vermicelli and cook, making sure to stir often, until golden brown, up to 5 minutes.  Add prepared sugar syrup and allow the vermicelli to soak up all of the liquid; Keep an eye on the vermicelli because it doesn’t take long for all of the syrup to be absorbed.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.  Garnish with crushed nuts.

Gulab Jamun

The 15th has passed yet again, and my little lovebug is now 17 months old.  This month I decided to make one of our family favorite desserts- Gulab Jamun.  Gulab Jamun is basically the Pakistani/Indian version of donut holes.  They’re small balls of fried dough that are soaked in a cardamom and saffron infused simple syrup.  This recipe is a no-fail and results in perfectly soaked and soft little balls of heaven 🙂

Gulab Jamun

Yield: 15-20 Pieces

Ingredients:

For Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cardamoms
  • Pinch of saffron

For Dough

  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted), or oil
  • Milk, enough to knead the dough (less than ¼ cup)
  • Oil, to deep fry

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan, and cook at a medium temperature until the sugar dissolves.  Be sure not to overheat, as this will cause the sugar to caramelize.  Continue cooking on low after the sugar has dissolved.

Begin warming the oil in a separate vessel to fry the gulab jamun in.

Prepare the dough by combining all of the ingredients, and kneading with enough milk to form a medium-hard texture.  To check if the texture is right, roll a small amount of dough between your hands for approximately 30 seconds.  The ball should be smooth and firm.  If you notice cracks in the ball, knead more milk into the dough.

Divide the dough into small balls, roughly the size of a ping-pong ball.  Be sure to cover them with a damp cloth.

Fry the gulab jamun a few at a time, making sure to gently agitate them to ensure even browning.  Add the fried gulab jamun to the sugar syrup, and transfer to a serving dish.

Allow the gulab jamun to soak overnight for best results.

Can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Note:  If the dough seems to dry out while rolling into balls, add a splash of milk.