I love reading cooking articles in the newspapers. So it is a blessing nowadays that most major newspapers around the world are available free for reading on the net. The only problems are that there are so many and it is just impossible to read all of them, and also knowing which days the cooking articles appear for each of the newspapers.
Currently I have narrowed the must-read each week to two from Australia, one from Malaysia which is The Star (used to read New Straits Times religiously too when Betty Saw and Eu Hooi Khaw were writing for the newspaper, but it has rapidly gone downhill with its articles about recipes nowadays so I stopped to bother with it anymore), and one from UK which Gordon Ramsay writes for.
So it was around June this year when a recipe appeared in The Age (Australian newspaper from Melbourne) for a dessert named ‘Lotus Seed and Lychee, in Chilled Coconut Milk with Pandan Granita, Snow Mushroom and Taro’ which was created by Tony Tan, and written for the newspaper by Stephanie Alexander. What really caught my eyes was the recipe for the Pandan Granita! What a fabulous idea, as the recipe is basically a variation of our Malaysian’s Ice Kacang, using a granita as a topping instead of plain crashed ice. It is also more accessible to make without having to own an ice-crasher or a good blender.
I’ve been waiting for winter to end and the weather to hot up so I can have an excuse to make it. Therefore recently with the spring temperature creeping up to 30ºC, I finally got to try it out. I served it with my second attempt of making the cendul (success this time, and the recipe will be on the next entry here in my blog) and tinned Japanese sweetened red beans with a drizzle of coconut milk. And what a refreshing icy dessert it turned out to be, I loved it, the granita with its pandan aroma, the slight lemony taste to it (oh, I changed the original lime juice to lemon juice), and I can just scoop spoonful after spoonful into my mouth without any other accompaniments!
Makes approx. 3 cups
1 cup (220g) white granulated sugar
3 cups (750ml) water
5 pandan leaves, torn lengthways and knotted
2 tablespoons (40ml) lemon juice
1. Put sugar, water and pandan leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. When sugar is completely dissolved, turn off heat and let the syrup steeps until cold. Remove pandan leaves, add lemon juice and pour into a container or cake tin (20cm tin is just ideal for this quantity), making sure the syrup is not more than 3cm deep.
2. Place into freezer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from freezer and use a fork to scrape the frozen syrup into ice flakes, especially around the sides of the tin which has frozen solid, and mix well with the softer centre. Return to freezer and repeat the process every half hour or so for 2 to 3 more times, or until the whole tray of syrup has frozen in icy crystals.
Taste: Slight lemony ice crystals with a dreamy pandan aroma
Consume: Best served icy cold
Storage: Store in airtight container in the freezer, do not compact the granita
Recipe Reference: ‘A dash of prejudice’ by Stephanie Alexander from ‘The Age’ June 17 2008