Do you know what India has in common with Hawaii, Guatemala, Panama and South Korea? Tropical heat and the simplest way to cool down! Ice desserts! Featuring crushed or shaved ice in textures ranging from granular, crunchy to fluffy smoothness, they are consumed doused with multi-hued syrups. Often sold cheaply by street vendors these icy treats relieve scorching summers with the bounty of tropical fresh fruits and vibrantly flavoured syrups. From the flavoured crushed ice Slurpeeor slushie to softer snow cones; from icy granitas to smooth sorbets, from shaved ice on a stick to a mound of ice grains in a cup; the variety is limited only by the imagination. Most of these can be easily re-created at home with some preparation.
Crucial to such frozen treats is prepping the ice as desired. If opting for chunkier crushed ice, freeze drinking water in a large metal bowl. Once frozen solid, upturn and smash into pieces. Place these broken pieces in a blender, add the flavouring syrup of your choice, blend to either a coarse or smooth texture, pour in a glass and serve. We recommend the Mojito Mint, Passion fruit and Lavender syrups from the extensive Monin range.
While a slushie is flavoured after being frozen, the Italian granita is the opposite. Valued for its intense flavour and icy texture, granitas are simply a mixture of puréed fruit and sugar syrup, sometimes infused with herbs, that is frozen. Once frozen, a fork is raked across the surface creating the icy flakes typical of this treat. A refreshing dessert, a granita is a wonderful way to cleanse the palate after a heavy meal or present a light and fresh dessert. Traditionally coffee flavoured, you can experiment with flavours like watermelon-basil, muskmelon, lime-mint and more.
Capture the spirit of Mumbai’s beaches with the popular gola; finely crushed ice moulded onto a stick, placed in a glass and liberally drenched with delicious syrups like raw mango, kalakhatta, rose, orange and more. To re-create a similar texture for the ice, freeze water in a rectangular container. Once solid, grate quickly into a bowl. Or break into little chunks, place in a zip lock bag, cover with a cloth and pound away with a rolling pin. Once shaved, plug onto a skewer or lolly stick. Generously coat with Druk’s Mango or Pineapple squash or Mishrambhu’s Thandai or Litchi syrups for an innovative twist.
Malaysia’s AisKacangis a popular dessert starring a mountain of shaved ice garnished with sweet and savoury toppings. Although ice and sweetened red beans made up the original AisKacang, modern-day varieties feature a choice of jellies, fruit syrups, seeds, nuts, beans, and purées. Try making it at home as a treat for your loved ones this summer. In a bowl, place a mound of shaved ice and pour condensed milk and rose syrup. Top with cubes of jelly, peanuts, and cooked sweet corn. Top with ice cream and fresh jackfruit.
Put all these ideas together and host a fun, frozen party. Lay out a huge bucket of crushed ice (on ice!) with an assortment of fresh fruit, flavourings, condensed milk and more for an innovative celebration!