When in season, plums are delicious just as they are, no baking, freezing, or sugar necessary. However, to get in the summer spirit, we challenge you to a simply sweet plum granita.
By Ila Dubey Dhulipala
For as long back as I can remember, plums, or “alu bukhara” have been associated with a visit to my grandparents’ home in Delhi, along with many other such exotics. Today, they are all freely available right here in the city where I live. With unfailing regularity, every season the plums appear, right from the push-cart vendors to the gourmet stores.
I can never resist the urge to buy some pure, unadulterated nostalgia whenever I see them.
While the imported plums and nectarines are delicious, it is the tart-sweet juiciness of the local varieties that I truly love, where you have to carefully pick out the darkest, yet firmest, specimens to get the perfect mix of texture with the characteristic sweet-sour taste.
As with pretty much every other fruit, I really think the best way to eat them is just as they are, fresh and natural, uncooked, un-processed.
So this granita, is the closest possible to the natural, not-so-subtle taste of those very plums. The fresh, flaky-ice texture only enhances it. Other ingredients are minimal. And no ice-cream maker required!
For sweetening, I used fresh Stevia leaves from my garden (see here for more about this wonderful sugar alternative) so it is suitable for a sugar-free diet.
- Plums/Alu bukhara - 5-6 largish, ripe, juicy ones
- Water - 1 cup (200-250 ml)
- Fresh Stevia leaves - 12-15 nos (or, to taste) Substitute with stevia powder or extract, but the fresh leaves taste best in my experience. (See here for more)
- Black salt - 2 pinches, or to taste.
- Himalayan salt - one pinch
- Red chili powder - 2-3 pinches, or to taste. (optional)
- Bhuna jeera (Roasted cumin seed) powder - 2-3 pinches (optional)
- Fresh holy basil/Tulsi - 2-3 tender leaves (optional)
- Fresh lemon juice - a squeeze or two (optional; - it will keep the colour brighter, but you might want to increase sweetness if you do).
- Wash, de-stone and roughly chop the plums. You can see how the smaller variety have a richer colour all the way to the pip.
- Add all the other ingredients and blend thoroughly. Adjust seasonings and sweetener to taste, which will be a bit milder after freezing.
- Strain at into a metal pan and place in the freezer to set at it's coldest setting.
- Once nearly set, take it out and thoroughly beat with a fork to break up the ice crystals into smaller bits.
- This process of freeze-till-almost-solid, then beat-with-a-fork, should ideally be repeated at least once or twice, to get the perfect flaky ice crystals.
- And that's it. Serve in shot glasses. Tongue tickling too. Garnish used is an edible, medicinal herb from my garden called Jalbrahmi.
I'm passionate about good nutrition and maintaining a conscious kitchen and trying to make organic, healthy, and sustainable choices. With home-cooking foodies on both sides of the family, a definitely-gourmet husband, kids with equally strong and very diverse tastes, there's never a dull day, and no shortage of food for the soul, mind, body and blog.