I decided to launch this feature on my blog mostly so I could commune with people who like to eat over well, food, so it’s odd that the first person (technically two people) on it I haven’t even met yet.
Aysha Tanya lives in Kannur, Kerala with her mother Kathijah and together they run The Malabar Tea Room, likely India’s loveliest (and certainly most evocative) food blog, one that transports me straight to their kitchen.
The Malabar Tea Room started out as a project that the duo could work on while Aysha lived away. “Mum is an amazing cook, and a food blog was the perfect way to combine her skills with my love for writing and photography.” They launched three years ago with a post about mayonnaise, and the bank of recipes has grown to include this divine nearly flourless chocolate cake, Keralan fish stew or meen moiley, and gorgeous homemade marshmallows.
It’s the kind of food I love to cook and eat and like me, their “favourite meals are the ones where we don't really start out with a recipe and just go with ‘hmmm I wonder what happens if I mix this with a little bit of this and then throw an egg on top’. (Spoiler: Pretty much anything tastes good if you ‘throw an egg on top’).“
One of my observations about small town cooking is how innovative it often is and how adaptable it makes cooks when ingredients are scarce.(Side note: I’ve been making risotto with ambe mohar, a local Maharashtrian rice variety)
Aysha explains, “One of the really awesome things about cooking in a small town is that you learn to look at recipes as general guidelines rather than strict rules. Improvisation is the name of the game. It’s challenging, but when you find that about half the ingredients in a recipe aren’t available to you, you can either give up, or use your imagination to come up with ingredients that have similar textures or fall under the same flavour profile. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work out, but every now and then it turns out better than we imagined, in which case we blog about it and share it with the world.”
And I’m grateful. Aysha shared with me the wonderful recipe and photos for their green apple sorbet with candied ginger, perfect as we dive headlong into (peak) summer so scroll down for the recipe and head to The Malabar Tea Room to find thoughtfully styled images, expressive writing and beautiful recipes from the talented mother-daughter duo.
GREEN APPLE SORBET WITH CANDIED GINGER
750 g (about 5) green apples, cut and cored
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup water
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup candied ginger, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1 drop green food colouring, optional
- As soon as the apples are cut, mix in the lime juice to prevent browning.
- Add the apples, water, and sugar and bring to a boil in a heavy bottomed pan.
- As it begins to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
- Let the mixture cool, and then blitz it in a juicer and strain through a sieve.
- If using food colouring it, stir it in now.
- Pour the mixture into a container (that has a lid) and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (choose a container that isn't too deep- it will take longer for the sorbet to set and the chances of crystallization will be higher).
- Transfer from the fridge to the freeze and let it set for 3 hours. Remove from the freezer, churn the mixture with a blender, transfer back into container and freeze.
- Repeat this process 3 hours later, and this time, stir in the candied ginger after churning.
- Pour back into container and freeze overnight.