Monsoon Craziness – Warm Spiced Drink Sbiten and L’Exclusif Snack Box
I love cooking because it gives me a chance to go crazy. Not that I am a drab person otherwise; those who know me are well aware of my innate craziness. It is just that cooking gives me an opportunity to express that craziness in a way that’s more constructive.
And so this happened last week – I was gifted a beautiful box of L’Exclusif snacks by Godrej Nature’s Basket and FBAI (Food Bloggers Association, India). The box came with some seriously flavourful snacks.
The Thai Sweet Chili Ringleez had a distinct zesty-sweet-spiciness to it. The Jalapeno Scorcher flavoured peanuts were the kind of snacks that one doesn’t get tired of munching continuously. There were Coated Almonds and Dark ChocoChip Cookies and this – Real Alphonso Conserve.
You guys know that I like mangoes; they are my favourite fruit of all. I like eating them raw and I like eating them cooked. The best part about mangoes is that each geography that they grow in gives them an exclusive taste and therefore mangoes growing in one region taste different from mangoes growing in another region. So when I was in Chicago, my favourite kind of mango was Champagne and now in Bangalore, my favourite kind is Banganapalli. And then of course there are the Alphonso or Hapus mangoes which have aroma and flavour of a whole different kind. I am addicted to them, so much so, it is not unusual to find a crate full of those at my house when the season is right.
Mango season is over and so finding the Real Alphonso Conserve in my #MonsoonMunching #FBAIReviewBox was a delightful surprise. Gulping a spoonful of the conserve really felt like gulping a spoonful of alphonso mango pulp. And then eureka! I knew exactly how I wanted to use this preserve.
There is this traditional Russian tea which is often made with blackberry jam. I planned to make the warm tea with my jar of L’Exclusif mango conserve.
Warm Spiced Drink Sbiten Recipe
What You Will Need
(Serving size 8-10)
1 cinnamon stick (Or else 1 tbsp cinnamon powder. Cinnamon stick is a better choice than cinnamon powder because straining the drink becomes a little difficult when using powder. However, I had cinnamon powder in my pantry and so I decided to use that.)
2 tsp cloves whole
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
1 sprig of fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried mint powder)
1 tsp whole cardamom (just open the pods while using)
2/3 cup L’Exclusif Real Alphonso Conserve (the traditional way is to use blackberry jam)
1/8 cup honey
5 cups water
How to Go About It
Remember the kadha that our mothers prepare when we are having sore throat? Sbiten is almost like that or like a spiced herbal tea. It is a drink made of melange of spices but with the added flavour of jam.
Preparing Sbiten is absolutely non-complicated. Just add all the ingredients, except water, in a deep pan and give them a mix.
Add water to the pan and give that a mix. Put the pan over the gas stove over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Let the liquid come to a boil.
After that, turn down the heat to medium and let the drink simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Turn the gas off and let it cool just a little bit.
Strain Sbiten and enjoy.
Feel free to add in a teaspoon of honey to your cup in case you find the sweetness insufficient.
How I Enjoy My Sbiten?
Sbiten is traditionally drunk warm and as is. I like it having this way. And also, I like to store some Sbiten in my refrigerator. Once it chills, I often add it to cold milk and enjoy it like a cold tea.
How did L’Exclusif Alphonso Conserve Fair with my Sbiten?
The alphonso conserve has quite rich flavour. Even after I boiled it with some strong herbs for making Sbiten, the flavour of mangoes was noticeable and gave the drink an exotic taste.
But What About My Craziness?
My craziness was not in preparing a Sbiten with a twist. My craziness was in believing that I needed Sbiten more than any other drink in my life right now. It was in making a big batch of it. My craziness was in knowing that the batch I had made is big enough to last me a fortnight and still going ahead and making it. Even more craziness was in drinking Sbiten every day since and still not getting tired of it. Crazy, right? Well that’s exactly me.
Have a look at more mango recipes from YellowMellowLife here –