As the hot breezes of summer leave you yearning for the respite of monsoon, check out some of the delicious icy summer treats people eat around the world to beat the heat.
Indian Gola: Fruity syrups poured over shaved ice packed tightly around a stick, the whole lot sprinkled with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime. The super cold, tangy mouthfuls flowing down your throat cool you down and set you right for another couple of hours in the sun.
Japanese Kakigori: Cups of fluffy ice, topped with pretty flavored syrups like Cherry, Sweet Plum, Green Tea, Kakigori is usually eaten with a spoon unlike the hard packed gola that is enjoyed right off the stick. This pretty and delicate looking treat is often sweetened with condensed milk poured over the top.
Italian Granita: Granitas are a little less icy compared to Golas. They are semi frozen, smoother textured and melt on your tongue almost instantly. Flavors like Coffee, Lemon and Almond are traditional along side a multitude of other flavors. This icy summer treat calls out to be experimented with at home.
Indonesian/Malaysian/Singaporean Es Kacang: This fascinating concoction is reminiscent of a Kulfi Falooda in that it is more like a sundae than a simple Gola. Shaved ice in a bowl is topped with red beans, cubes of jelly, nata de coco, peanuts and more, and sweetened with coconut milk or condensed milk. This dish has every texture you can imagine and a new flavor with every mouthful. Crunchy, jellylike, syrupy, even a little savory, this can be addictive.
Bright colors over glistening snow, the crunch and bite of ice and heavenly flavors. Almost every country has its own version of a shaved ice treat, the differences coming from local fruit flavors, spices, toppings and sweeteners. All of them seem equally exciting and inviting on hot summer days.
Here’s a quick recipe for you to whip up at home and enjoy those beautiful flavored ice crystals melting in your mouth.
Mojito Gola Syrup
1 cup Mint leaves
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest and Juice of 3 Limes
For Alcoholic Version:
1/4 cup Rum
Place mint leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain and place the leaves immediately in ice cold water to cool. Squeeze out all the excess liquid from the mint and set aside. Bring 1/2 a cup of water and the sugar to a boil and cook till the sugar is dissolved, this will take about a minute.
Take off the heat and stir in the lime zest and the mint and let the syrup sit for 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Puree and strain the syrup and then stir in the lime juice. If making an alcoholic version, add the rum at this stage too. Cover your syrup and refrigerate.
Note: Any time you want a cool treat, crush some ice in your blender and pour a couple of table spoons of the syrup over the ice for your very own home made gola.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper or jaljira or even a little chili powder over it if you like your Golas a little spicy.