“It is true that many Indian desserts can be rich and sweet but we do have Indian granitas in the form of a gola. These are little cups of shaved ice, flavoured with your choice of sweet syrups. Shikanji is not a typical flavour- it is the name of a popular lemon drink that is sweet, lightly tangy and gently flavoured with a little roasted cumin powder, black salt and mint leaves. It is really refreshing and moreish. The reason salt was added was to replenish that lost in long, hard days in the sun and the cumin helps cool the body as does the mint. If you don’t want to add black salt (which has a sulphurous smell, but not taste), you can add a little pink salt or no salt at all. It is really subtle and delicious served as a granita and perfect at any time on a hot day. To make it that little bit more special, serve with the simple lemon crème, for a fantastic end to an Indian meal.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories
- 500 ml (2 cups) filtered water
- 135 g sugar, or to taste
- 85-90 ml lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 4 large sprigs of mint, washed and torn
- large pinch black salt
- large pinch roasted cumin powder
- zest of ½ lemon
- pomegranate seeds and mint sprigs, to serve (optional)
Lemon crème fraiche
- 100 g light crème fraiche
- 3 tsp caster sugar, or to taste
- zest of ½ lemon
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 45 minutes
Freezing time 4 hours
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, then stir in the lemon juice, black salt, cumin, mint and half the lemon zest and stand for 45 minutes or until cool. Remove the mint and pour into a shallow rectangular freezer-proof container, cover and freeze for 45 minutes or until crystals are starting to form around the edges. Scrape the mixture with a fork to fluff up the frozen mixture, then repeat the freezing and scraping process several times until completely frozen and fluffy. Remember to pay attention to the sides of the container.
When ready to serve, combine all the lemon crème fraiche ingredients together. Remove the granita from the freezer and scrape again to fluff the crystals up. Spoon into little glass bowls or glasses, top with a dollop of lemon crème fraiche, scatter with a few pomegranate seeds and a sprigs of mint and serve immediately.