NECTARINE KESARI / SHEERA
Red and yellow on the outside,soft and succulent on the inside……Nectarines resemble peaches without the beard.They conceal stone sized pit at their center.Nectarines and all stone fruits are in season during Summer months and reach their peak in the months of July & August.They are considered a delicacy among fruits perhaps owing to their luxurious taste combined with juicy softeness and their divine fragrance.They derive their name from the Greek God “Necter” which means sweet.If Ambrosia is the food of Gods then Nectar is considered the drink,hence this fruit is known for its sweet taste & fragrance.Nectarines are highly nutritious with antioxidants,carotenes & flavanoids & are a rich sources of Vitamin A & C.
A trip to the local farmers market inspired me to rekindle memories & recreate forgotten tastes.Summer time as a kid was spent at ancestral home flanked by Dhodda’s (Grandmom’s) love,cousins & large families,amidst which it was a ritual to have the Satyanarayana Puja done during the holidays when all the grandchildren were present to get the blessings of the Divine who protected families.It was customary to have the priest come home to do the pooja,as kids we waited more for the “Sapatha/prasadham/sweet”(specifically done) for this pooja…so all along we would wait for the priest to finish up the pooja & offer the Sapatha,sure enough one mouthful of that sweet, we were at heaven’s door without any prayerful obedience.Growing up many a time I wondered what went into that “sapatha” to make it so divine,pat came the reply from the elders saying its the “bhakthi/thoughts of the divine” that brings the magic into a delicious sweet.Today,I tried recreating the same taste with nectarines instead of bananas & Lo & behold it did taste divine,the truth being as an adult I have come to understand that the divine is within you at all times, you do not have to go searching in a priest’s bowl,everything you prepare with love is a sign of the grace within.Here’s to all for blessed times ahead.
Nectarines- 3 (peeled & pitted)
Sooji – 1 cup
Sugar-3/4 cup( according to taste)
Water- 2 cups
Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp
1.Clean the nectarines under cold water, peel & pit them.Then put the nectarine flesh in the blender & blend into a fine paste without water.Keep aside.
2.Heat ghee(2 tbsp) in a wok than add the raisins & saute them a little, till they swell up.
3.Now add the Sooji to the ghee & slowly stir it till it becomes a light brown color.To this add the blended nectarine paste & keep stirring for a few minutes before adding water & sugar.
4.Keep stirring the mix gently making sure there are no lumps formed,at this stage you can add the remaining 2 tbsp of ghee making sure the preparation does not stick to the sides of the wok.
5.Now when the mixture gently becomes thicker in consistency add the cardamom powder gently & stir it together before transferring it to a greased plate.
6.Serve hot or cold.Can be savored as a dessert or with icecream too.
Note: The pit is besmirched with the presence of amygdalins which converts to cyanide after its eaten, so be careful to avoid the pits while eating this fruit.Ingestion of more than 2 pits has been reported to cause cyanide poisoning,though accidental swallowing of one pit or biting the edge of a pit is considered harmless in most cases.