Don’t be daunted by that diva de­meanour – Fri­day’s very own chef Sil­vena Rowe is happy to an­swer all your kitchen queries

Friday - - GOOD FOOD -

Q Friends

gave me a large box of dried apri­cots. I love the fruit, but I don’t know what to do with the dried ones, apart from eat­ing them when I feel peck­ish. Any ideas?

A There’s a lot you can do with this sweet dried fruit. It is ex­tremely ver­sa­tile and can be used in ev­ery­thing from sauces to de­li­cious desserts – and it’s easy to work with.

Here are two recipes to get you started. The first is a sauce that you can re­frig­er­ate for a long time and the other

Add some roughly chopped dried apri­cots to biryani and sal­ads for additional flavour

a dessert that is ex­tremely pop­u­lar on the sub­con­ti­nent.

To make the sauce, wash 250g of dried seed­less apri­cots and soak them in 2 cups of wa­ter for 4 hours. Add about 4 tbsp of su­gar and boil on medium heat un­til the mix­ture be­gins to thicken and the apri­cots are com­pletely soft.

Sieve the mix­ture, press­ing down on the apri­cot pulp to ex­tract as much as pos­si­ble. Let it cool to room tem­per­a­ture and then add 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Stir and pour into a clean, dry jar. Seal with an air­tight lid and re­frig­er­ate. Use as an ice-cream top­ping or even with a slice of cake.

To make the dessert, called khubani

ka meetha, soak 2 cups of dried and seed­less apri­cots in warm wa­ter for 2-3 hours. Drain and chop the apri­cots finely.

Heat about 4 tbsp of ghee in a large pan. Add the chopped apri­cots and sauté con­tin­u­ously on medium heat un­til oil be­gins to ap­pear on the sides of the pan. This should take 10-15 min­utes. Now add about ½ cup of su­gar and cook for an­other 5-7 min­utes or un­til the su­gar dis­solves com­pletely. Add 3/4 cup of grated khoya (so­lid­i­fied milk, avail­able in shops sell­ing In­dian sweets.) and a tea­spoon of car­damom pow­der. Stir un­til the khoya be­gins to melt and the mix­ture thick­ens.

Take it off the heat and serve with a dol­lop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Ab­so­lutely de­li­cious.

You can add some roughly chopped dried apri­cots to biryani and sal­ads as well. Their sweet taste and slightly chewy tex­ture can help to add some more flavour to the dish.

Q Please sug­gest a healthy yet de­li­cious salad dress­ing for sum­mer. A Sum­mer fruits such as wa­ter­melon or can­taloupe make a great base for a salad dress­ing as they are sweet, re­fresh­ing and light. Here’s a favourite recipe. Blend to­gether 1/2 cup of can­taloupe purée with 1/2 tsp of roasted and crushed cumin seeds and 3 tbsp of chopped co­rian­der. Sea­son with salt and black pep­per. Pour over the salad and toss well. Serve im­me­di­ately. You must use the dress­ing within a day as it does not have any preser­va­tives.

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