Happy Independence Day India!…Yes, India celebrates her 68th Independence Day today, August 15, 2014. And since no celebrations are complete without some sweet treats, here is my treat of the day — a tricolor sorbet. For everyone wondering what our Independence Day has got to do with tricolor, here’s the deal. In India, the term ‘Tricolor’ refers to the Indian flag, which is made up of three colors — saffron on top, white in the middle with the Ashoka Chakra ( Wheel of Law ) in the center, and green on the bottom. Saffron indicates strength and courage, white indicates peace and truth, while green shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land. And it was on this day in the year 1947 that the first Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, hoisted for the first time, the Tricolor Flag of independent India.
August 15 is a national holiday in India and all proud Indians celebrate by hoisting the Tricolor, attending and taking part in the various parades, pageants and roadshows. Let me also take this moment to remember and salute all the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their nation.
Now a bit about this sorbet. The base flavor of this sorbet is coconut. Food colors lend this sorbet the beautiful vibrant green and saffron hues. The green portion is further flavored by the addition of aromatic cardamom seeds and the saffron part, of course by saffron. I’ve added a bit of coconut extract to the white portion which is entirely optional. It is light, sweet and refreshing, and a breeze to prepare. It uses both grated coconut and coconut milk and also a squeeze of lime juice. Coconut, cardamom, and saffron, it couldn’t be more Indian than this, could it?
Cardamom & Saffron Coconut Sorbet
Recipe adapted from 1000 Recipes by Rafi Fernandez, altered.
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup grated unsweetened coconut
a squeeze of lime juice
1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)
Cardamom seeds from 4 pods, finely powdered
a pinch of saffron
2 tbsp. warm milk
Green and Orange food color
Mix saffron in the warm milk and keep aside.
Place the sugar in a heavy pan and add 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins to make a syrup.
Stir the coconut milk into the sugar syrup, along with most of the coconut and the lime juice. Pour the mixture into a bowl or freezer container and freeze for 2 hours.
Take the sorbet out of the freezer and blend it in a food processor until it is smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture into three bowls. Stir in the cardamom powder and the green color into one and mix well. Stir in the coconut extract into the next bowl and mix well. Stir in the saffron milk and orange color into the third bowl. Return to the freezer and leave until frozen. ( I froze them in cling wrap-lined mini loaf pans. Once frozen, I took them out and placed them inside another loaf pan, side by side along the length of the pan and placed it back in the freezer.
You could serve these as individual flavors or combine all the three frozen flavors together to form the tricolor sorbet.