A Bread & A Drink

Jamun is a seasonal fruit that is available exclusively in South Asia and that too for a very short period of time.

The fruit has many other names… Jambul, Jamboola, Portuguese Plum to name a few. The fruit resembles a large berry and the color is a deep purple/black from the outside and the pulp is relatively a lighter shade of purple. It has a big pit and it turns your tongue purple if you eat too many at once :)

I turned this fruit into a drink….however this same process can be done with any other fruit – plums, strawberries, blueberries, apricots etc.

I used to really like this salty plum soda at a Vietnamese restaurant in Sarasota (Florida) and after making the Jamun concentrate I thought of replicating the plum soda drink with it.

After you have the concentrate you lightly mash a few pieces of the fruit in the serving  glass and add some salt, add the fruit concentrate and top it up with soda.

Making the concentrate is pretty easy – and once you have it you can store it in a jar or a bottle with a lid up-to a week in the fridge. That way all you have to do is put it together in a glass before serving.

The process of making the concentrate is super simple as well, with very few and inexpensive ingredients. You just simmer the fruit with water and sugar over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. cool it. strain it. done.

You could enhance the flavor of the concentrate by adding some herbs to it while the fruit is boiling…for example strawberries will pair really well with mint. Just boil the fruit in a herb infused simple syrup instead of cooking the fruit with plain sugar and water.

You can really get creative with the combinations and even turn it into a cocktail eventually…. the possibilities are endless! I also feel that a drink like this is such a good substitute to all the sodas and canned drinks available in the stores because its free of any preservatives and chemicals. You can even skip the soda and add plain water to the drink! Give it a try this summer…I am sure you will love it!

I am a bread lover –  I think a lot of people are….and here is a bread recipe that will blow your mind up – I promise! It has beer and rosemary as few of its ingredients!

This recipe is based on Chef Jon’s recipe of No Knead Beer Bread, I just added a few ingredients of my own…but the basic recipe is the same.

The bread is super easy to make, there aren’t many steps involved either…it just needs a good amount of time for rising though. So if you plan on serving it with or before dinner – you might want to get started in the morning.

It is so worth the time because the result is this beautiful looking and awesome tasting bread. You will definitely impress your friends and family members with this recipe. When I made it, I got a “you made this at home?” from Bankim..it was so cool!!

So I highly encourage you to try both these recipes this summer and share your experience here at veggie zest!

Whether you made it with a different ingredient, or added something new to the recipe or made it exactly the same…I would love to hear everything!!

Sweet & Salty Jamun Soda

Serving about 8 to 10 glasses

cooking time 30 minutes

Things You Will Need:

For the fruit concentrate

500 grams of Jamun, or any other fruit – roughly cut into big chunks

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups water

Wash the fruit thoroughly before you cut it. In a large saucepan add fruit, sugar, water and cook it uncovered over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Give it a light stir every 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it cool as is – till it comes to room temperature. Strain thorough a colander. Don’t press the fruit too much while straining or else you will land up with a pulp-ish liquid. Put the liquid back onto the stovetop and cook for another 5 minutes…at this point feel free to taste the liquid to check if its sweet enough or too sweet..if you feel the need to add more sugar, go ahead and do so or if its too sweet you can add a little water and boil for 5 minutes. Although, its supposed to be sweet..its a concentrate.

To Assemble the Drink

In a tall glass, take a few pieces of the fruit and slightly muddle to release the fresh juice. Add 1/2  tsp of salt, add ice and fill half of the glass with the fruit concentrate and top it with some plain soda. Give it a quick stir and serve immediately.

Beer Bread with Rosemary

Things You Will Need:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting

1 cup wheat flour

2 cups beer, room temperature

2 tbs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

2 tsp dry yeast

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup warm water

In a large bowl add 1/2 cup A.P flour, yeast and water and mix well with a help of a whisk. Cover with a towel and leave in a warm spot for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the mixture will become bubbly, now whisk  in the beer and mix lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with the help of a wooden spoon or spatula till everything comes together to form dough and starts leaving the sides. It doesn’t have to be a perfect looking dough, just as long as all the ingredients are mixed well. Cover with a warm towel (optional) or regular towel is fine too. Keep in a warm spot for 2 hours.

After 2 hours the dough would have doubled in size. Take the dough (it would be sticky) out on a floured surface and knead very light for just 2 minutes to form a loaf shape. This way you will deflate the dough. Transfer the loaf on to a baking tray (oiled and floured) and sprinkle some flour onto the surface of the loaf, you can even sprinkle some rosemary instead. Let the loaf rest for 40 minutes covered with a towel.

Preheat the oven at 425 F and place a container filled with water at the bottom of the oven…a loaf pan works pretty well. Bake the loaf for 30 to 40 minutes. Once the bread is cooked, transfer to a rack and let it cool completely before cutting into slices.