California is going through a heat wave, and it is, to say the least, unbearable! The weather has been absolutely nuts in the past few days. Talk about extreme high temperatures reaching 100 + F, high humidity and a night of extreme thunder and lightning, and rain! Who has heard of rain in August in California?! The showers were nice, but followed by extreme humidity. I felt like I was on a tropical island for a second! The weather was very balmy, and not what anyone was expecting! Talk about 2020 being THE year! The night there was extreme thunder and lightning, it was seriously a circus in our house. Firstly Rishan wakes up at 4am, screaming that he is seeing some light flashes, and loud sounds, and comes into our room. Then after a couple minutes, we saw the lightning flash, and looked out of the window, and the ground was wet! We finally managed to put him to sleep. We have put up balloons for Anishka’s 11th birthday! (YAYA to my first born turning 11! 🙂 ). So at 5am we heard a loud bang, and our alarm went off LOUD! The kids started screaming, I started screaming, and Raj went down and saw that one of the balloons had popped, which made the loud sound! Talk about being a SCARE! Our hearts were beating so FAST! Finally we again put both of them to bed. Then at 6am, Marc my boy cat decides to come into the room, and wants to cuddle next to me because he was frightened of the loud thunder. Every time the thunder would come, he would run away from the room, then come back, ask me to pet him, and the cycle repeated for 20 minutes. By then I was exhausted, I had to finally close the door so that no one would come in! Man, what a night it was! The thunder and lightning went on till 11am – believe it or not! Absolutely CRAZY! Sigh.
So we have been eating a LOT of ice creams, sorbets, cold beverages, anything to keep us hydrated and cold! I would so love to take an ice bath in this weather in the backyard! So the kids asked for a watermelon granita. Granita is basically shaved ice! I grew up in Bombay, eating a LOT of shaved ice. The vendors in Bombay are called golla walla. Golla means round actually, but it translates to making round ice balls, around a stick with the shaved ice. The shaved ice machines, grind the ice. The vendor then puts the syrup, which is full of color and sugar into a tall glass. He then pours some of that syrup onto the shaved ice ball on a stick, put that stick into the glass and gives it to you. You slurp on the syrup that is stuck in the crevices of the ice on the stick. Then you put the stick back into the glass, suck up more of that syrup and repeat the process! It is a satisfying process to say the least. The mouth stains with the color in the syrup. It is totally unhealthy but so satisfying! Does that makes sense?! LOL . Gollas are a welcome relief in the summers, or throughout the Bombay weather I would say! They have all kinds of flavors including watermelon, kala khatta(made with java plums), orange, lemon, aam panna, you name it. It is a pretty sight I have to say! THE BEST part about the golla is adding chaat masala on all the gollas!
*WHAT IS CHAAT MASALA?*
Chaat masala is a blend of whole spices, that are first toasted to bring out their best flavor profiles, and then ground together to form a spice blend, that is unlike no other. Chaat masala consists of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, rock salt, black peppercorns, hing or asafoetida, dried mango powder. This is the base. There are versions of chaat masala, and you can easily find it at your Indian grocery store, or online as well. This spice blend is mainly used for sprinkling on salads, fruit salads, chaat (Bombay street food), or in this case, even gollas! Or shaved Ice!
So I combined my Indian heritage, with this fancy name called granita, to make a Watermelon and Chaat Masala Granita! The recipe is really very easy to make and follow. You simply blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender, and then freeze it for 2 hours in a rectangular baking dish. Once it is slightly frozen, you scrap it with a fork to form ice granules. Put it back into the freezer for another hour and repeat the scrapping process again to make the ice granules. This process is repeated one more time and then you can enjoy the granita. The recipe itself is very easy, it just takes patience and time to scrap the granita, to a consistency that you want and be able to enjoy it!!
My kids were so excited and could not wait to try the granita. It is sweet, sour, salty, tangy and sooooooo refreshing and good in this wretched weather! I could not stop eating it, nor could my family! It was done in two days, that too because I told them to pace themselves! The extra sprinkling of chaat masala on the top does wonders. It took me back to my days in Bombay, eating the chaat masala, color and sugar laden syrups, that stained your lips and tongue, but oh so good! Granita is ofcourse a healthier version and much better for you and cooling and a HUGE HIT IN OUR HOUSE!
MAKE IT SOON! You will not regret it!
If you do make this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post! I would so appreciate it!