While I have traveled extensively across Rajasthan, known for its mystic beauty, colors, heat and festivals, one aspect that is quite a deciding factor to my travel plans, across Rajasthan, is the food. Undoubtedly! On my latest visit to the land of the kings, dal-baati-choorma struck a chord with me. A local made that for me, on my request, almost every day.

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The choorma is something that took my attention instantly. And why not?  Dal-Baati is incomplete without the quintessential choorma. The tri-combination is ethereal.  For the un-initiated , it is an Indian meal by itself served across the zone and is nothing but simple asafoetida smoked lentil served over a ‘rustic-oven’ baked wheat flour and ghee dumpling and a rich crumble. The same ‘oven-baked’ dumpling is crumbled, sweetened and embellished with nuts to create the magic called ‘choorma’. I call it magical for a reason. It can be eaten all by itself, as a topper like so, mixed with ghee and reconverted into laddos or use it in western recipes as crumble, too. I have come across many recipes that even add semolina to create a coarse textured choorma. However, I feel the wheat flour crumbles well into a streusel.

On heading back to Mumbai, we had a small evening celebration for which we had planned to poach a few fruits and serve them with the humble vanilla ice cream. The menu even called for dal-baati-choorma to flash my newest travel-pick. Though the poached fruits and ice cream was an instant hit, I rustled up another quick dessert using red wine poached pears, raspberry choorma and wine syrup for the mad tasters. And to my luck it turned out even better and quite a stellar.

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Here, I am sharing with you the magic called ‘Raspberry choorma’ which can double up as a dessert topper and an Indian version of ‘Streusel’

Raspberry Choorma

Preparation Time: 15 mins.

Cooking Time: 20 mins.

Ingredients

250 grams  whole wheat flour

6 nos whole almonds, cut into slivers

1/4 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder

40 grams powdered sugar

100 ml melted ghee

50 grams fresh raspberries.

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Method

Combine the wheat flour and ghee in a bowl and mix well. Add approx. 25 ml of water and knead well to make a stiff dough.

Divide the dough into lemon sized balls.

Make thumb indentations in the centre (for the dough to cook through evenly)

Heat the ghee in a kadhai and deep-fry the dough portions on a very slow flame until they are golden brown in colour. These will take a long time to fry as the insides need to be cooked well.

Drain on absorbent paper and allow them to cool.

Alternately , you can also bake these at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

Cool these at room temperature.

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In a blender, crush these into a fine powder along with fresh raspberries.

Add the almonds, cardamom powder and powdered sugar and mix well.

Store in an air-tight container.

Serve along with red wine poached pears.

P.S: For poaching pears:

Peel 5-6 pears, retaining the stock

In a heavy bottomed pan, empty 750 ml of a good quality red wine (I usually use Nine Hills Cabernet Sauvignon) , Add 150 grams grain sugar, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Leave the pears to poach for 25-30 minutes on a medium high flame.This can be covered for hasting the process.Trophy_with_9H_CS_bottle

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Once the pears are cooked through, pick with a slotted spoon and reserve. The poaching liquor needs to be boiled and reduced to a syrupy consistency.

The pears can be stored in the syrup for retaining the moisture.

This with the raspberry choorma is a sure-shot steal.

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