I was unaware of the terminology then, but my aunt and I were devoted foodies, and she spent a great deal of time treating me to all the good eats of that megacity. We would track down the newest bakery in town for its flaky biscuits and try all the "specials" listed on the chalkboard of our local Udipi restaurant, where all the waiters knew us and greeted us with big smiles. We would rifle through our closets for our most posh-looking frocks so we could go to the Taj coffee shop and splurge on pastries.
In the mid-80s, we took a short autorickshaw-ride from my aunt's home to the swanky neighborhood of Juhu to visit a brand new ice cream store called Naturals. The unique selling point of this store was that they would use all-natural fruit pulp to make decadent ice cream; none of the bright pink "strawberry" and bright green "pistachio" flavors here. And that's where I tasted something called Tender Coconut Ice Cream. The subtle and ethereal taste of young silky coconut wrapped in cream. It rocked my little world. Soon, my aunt and I were on such intimate terms with this particular flavor of ice cream that we just called it "TC". I don't even want to stop and think about how much TC we consumed over the ensuing years; I am sure some of it is sitting on my hips to this day. Today, Naturals is an extremely successful brand with a gazillion stores in Bombay and neighboring cities, but remember, Naturals, we were the ones who loved you first even before you were famous!
Well, I don't have access to Naturals or TC any more where I live. On my last trip to India in June '09, Nandita made me almost weep with joy when she pulled out two flavors of Naturals ice cream from her freezer for dessert after the fantastic meal she made for us. She gave me a choice of tender coconut and mango and I admit that I ignored my good upbringing ("never be greedy") and said I would have both.
The point of telling you all this is so you can imagine my surprise and joy when I spotted a recipe for tender coconut ice cream a few weeks ago. Not just any recipe but one that calls for no cooking and can be made in a couple of minutes. Not just any recipe but one that calls for ingredients that are easily available where I live. Not just any recipe but one that was tried and blogged by that genius of a cook named Meera of Enjoy Indian Food.
Mix contents of 4 cans together and freeze, that's all there is to it.
Tender Coconut Ice Cream (Just Like Naturals)!!!
(adapted from Meera's recipe)
1. You need 1 can each of sweetened condensed milk (low-fat OK), evaporated milk (low-fat OK), coconut milk (reduced fat OK use the real thing) and tender coconut/ young coconut meat in syrup, which is sold by Thai companies in Asian/Thai/international grocery stores.
3. Drain and discard all the syrup from the can of tender coconut. Chop the coconut meat into small bits. In the last 5 minutes of churning, add chopped tender coconut to the mixture. Freeze, then serve.
I happened to use an ice cream machine because I've borrowed one from my neighbor for a few days. I think it would be fine to just mix the components and freeze them in a bowl, beating it a few times during the freezing process to break up the ice crystals and aerate the mixture.
Even with all the canned ingredients, this ice cream was divine and very very similar to the TC of my memories. If you have access to fresh thick coconut milk, it would be even more incredible. We shared the ice cream with friends and everyone unanimously loved it. Thanks for a keeper recipe, Meera! You made a girl very very happy.
It is a very rich ice cream as you can imagine but this quantity is enough for 10-12 servings in my estimation. A little certainly goes a long way.
By being able to recreate a favorite store-bought treat in my own kitchen with the help of a fellow blogger's recipe, this post is an entry for Blog Bites: the Copcat edition hosted right here on this blog.
*** *** ***
Here's a short video of Dale talking with Tony and getting treats on demand:
Wherever in the world you live, I hope you have a fantastic week; I will be back in 2-3 days with a sweet refreshing beverage.