Monday, 25 May 2015

MANGORITA POPSICLES AND A MEXICAN LOVE STORY


It was a beautiful day, when the sun was bright yet there was a crisp chill in the air. I had wandered the whole day drinking in the sights and smells of the South Eastern part of gorgeous Mexico City. Mr. S had been busy exploring the Iron-Ore mines, prospecting new business partners all day and I was on my own. Everything around me was so enigmatic that I did not mind being alone. As the sun was bidding adieu to the day, I was completely exhausted and very hungry. My tired feet refused to budge, my eyes were frantically looking around for a place where I could slouch down, rest my weary back and refuel my tummy.

I came across this brightly painted board reading La Paleta and without a thought I started waking in the direction of the paleteria. It was very crowded full of tourists, like me and was buzzing with their chatter. I immediately started looking around for a place to sit and found a far corner with a tiny table and two chairs. As if I had seen water in a desert, I walked briskly and plopped myself down on the chair not caring that it was quite hard and not at all comfortable. 

Now this place specialized in handmade Mexican Ice treats or Paletas. I was thinking what to order when a pretty smiling face peered at me and said what would you like to order Miss. Oh I thought, bring me anything girl, as my mind and tummy were not akin each other, one was hungry and the other too tired to care. She said in heavy accented English how about a Mangorita Paleta and I nodded instantly.  To this day I cannot forget the explosion of flavours and layers of taste of that Paleta. The first bite from the top was the creamiest sweetest mango that I ever had and as I ventured down to the second layer a sharp salty tangy taste from the lime, followed by the crunch of the sweet basil seeds lapped up my tongue and before the final bit which was utterly refreshing orange, a row of sweet tangy cranberries evaded my senses.


I finished the first one in a jiffy and ordered for one more and then another. I don't know what had come over me, that I finished a fourth one and still wanted more. Hey, wait a minute, was there something in the Paleta which was making me oblivious of the counts of Paletas I was devouring. I called the girl who had been serving me and asked her if this was margarita with mango in it. She said although the paleta did mimic margarita in terms of flavours it was alcohol free. 

Okay I told her and paying the bill got up to leave and return back to my hotel. As I was exiting , I saw the girl who was serving me also leave. Probably her duty was over and she was heading home. She smiled and again asked if she could do anything for me. I said no thank you, just waiting for a taxi. "Where are you staying ", she asked. At the St. Regis Hotel. "Oh it's down the road,"she said. "Why don't you walk with me", she asked. I till this day haven't been able to decipher how I agreed to walk back to my hotel with Rosa María on that evening, in-spite of knowing her only for a few minutes and also being tired till my bones. Perhaps I was meant to hear from her the heart rendering love story of the Legend of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl.

I had till that moment known Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl as two highest volcanic mountains in that hemisphere, the former active and the later dormant, whose spellbinding beauty had captivated me earlier that day.

This is what Rosa María told me that evening as we walked back in the eerie silence, broken occasionally by a passing car or a zooming biker. Thousands of years ago when the Aztec Empire was at the pinnacle of its glory and dominated the entire Valley of Mexico, the Aztec king levied hefty taxes on all the towns. Fed up of the tyrannical ways of the Aztec king, the chief of a neighbouring town called  Tlaxcaltecas decided that he and his people had suffered enough miseries under the Aztec King and would now fight for their freedom from the Aztecs. 

This chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Iztaccíhuatl, fairer than the moon whose beauty was the talk of lands far and beyond the seven seas . Iztaccíhuatl was deeply in love with the strongest and bravest warrior of her father, the chief 's army, a man called Popocatepetl. Their love was so pure and so deep that before leaving for the war when Popocatepetl asked the chief his daughter's hand in marriage, even the chief could not refuse and promised Popocatepetl that if he won the battle against the Aztecs and returned victorious his beautiful daughter, princess Iztaccíhuatl would be given to him in holy matrimony. The brave warrior agreed and happily departed for the war, with a promise in his heart that he would come back victorious and consummate his love for the princess through marriage. 

A few days after the war broke out, an evil man who too loved the princess and wanted to marry her came to her with the false news of the death of Popocatepetl, with the hope that if the princess believed that Popocatepetl was dead then she might agree to marry him. But alas the princess was crushed by the news of her beloved's demise and overwhelmed by sadness her heart broke and she died.

When Popocatepetl returned victorious and headed straight to the chief to remind him of his promise, he was faced with the terrible news of the death of princess Iztaccíhuatl. Devastated by the news he became mad with anger and roamed the streets crying out for his beloved to return, till the realisation dawned upon him that his beloved would now never return. He then collected himself and decided that he would not let her love for him go in vain and would do something to honour her love and make her immortal, so that in ages thereafter nobody would forget her. So he ordered his men to build a great tomb for her under the sun by piling up ten mountains. He then carried her limp body in his arms and with care delicately laid her on the peak of the mountain.

Thereafter he knelt beside the body of his beloved with a smoking torch in his hand to watch over her as she lay in her eternal sleep. He remained there sitting facing her, while months turned to years and years to decades. Snow covered the lovers, ultimately forming  two mountains that would remain joined till the end of time. It's common folklore in Mexico City even to this day that whenever Popocatepetl cries for his beloved princess, his heart that still preserves the power of his undying love for her shakes up the entire mountain range and the torch which he held in his hand fires up making the volcano to erupt.

As Rosa Maríe completed her story I could see the gates of the hotel St. Regis appear. I shook her hands and bade goodbye, stood there watching her till my gazes end.  I could now barely see the tall and majestic mountains of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl looming large in the descending dark with a half covered moon in the clouds. I turned and entered the gates of the Hotel St. Regis, relieved to be back, but my heart was still entwined with the legendary Love Story which I had just heard.


Dear friends, now that you have had your share of this enigmatic love saga, you can head over to the refrigerator and get your Mangorita Popsicle which you can make with these wonderful ingredients as given below. And long after the refreshing cool of the Mangorita Popsicle has left your tongue the legend of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl is sure to linger on in your mind.

REFERENCE:

MANGORITA POPSICLE:




YIELDS : 4
TYPE : POPSICLE
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 24 HOURS FREEZING TIME

INGREDIENTS :

1 CUP = 250 ML approximately

1) 2 Large fully ripe Mangoes peeled and cubed
2) 1 CUP Lime juice, freshly squeezed
3) 2 CUPS Orange juice, freshly squeezed
4) 1 TBSP heaped Sweet Basil seeds/alternately you can use Chia seeds
5) 8 Whole Cranberries fresh
6) 1 TBSP Powdered Sugar or Sugar Free.
7) 1/2 TSP Salt

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

Peel and chop the Mangoes into cubes after throughly washing them. Blend the Mango cubes in a food processor into a smooth purée. Keep aside. Soak Sweet Basil seeds in water for 10 minutes. Extract Juice of Lime and Orange and keep aside. Roughly chop the cranberries into small bits and sprinkle the powdered sugar and leave it for at least 15 minutes.


Pour Mango pulp equally into the four cups or Popsicle moulds and  after inserting Popsicle sticks freeze for two hours.


In a bowl mix the soaked Sweet Basil Seeds, Fresh Lime Juice , salt & give it all a nice mix. Now add this mixture and freeze for an hour.

Next place the sweetened cranberry bits on the second layer and put the cups back into the freezer for an hour.


Finally pour the fresh orange juice and freeze the Popsicle overnight.


CHECK LIST :
1) Mangoes, 2) Lime, 3) Orange, 4) Sweet Basil Seeds, 5) Cranberries, 6) Powdered a Sugar/Sugar Free, 7) Salt

NOTE:
  • Add sugar to the Mango pulp and Orange juice if they are not very sweet. I have not added sugar here in my recipe as my fruits were very sweet.
  • You can freeze the orange juice partially if it's of thin constituency until it forms ice granules, then break them and pour the thickened granulated Orange juice into your cups. If the juice is runny it might seep in and collect at the end of the cup.
  • I called this one popsicle and not paleta because although I did use ripe mango pulp for the first layer from the top, I have used lime and orange juices in the 2nd and the third layer whereas the Paleta I had in Mexico city used fruit pulp instead of juice
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MANGORITA POPSICLE:

YIELDS : 4
TYPE : POPSICLE
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 24 HOURS FREEZING TIME

INGREDIENTS :

1 CUP = 250 ML approximately

1) 2 Large fully ripe Mangoes peeled and cubed
2) 1 CUP Lime juice, freshly squeezed
3) 2 CUPS Orange juice, freshly squeezed
4) 1 TBSP heaped Sweet Basil seeds/alternately you can use Chia seeds
5) 8 Whole Cranberries fresh
6) 1 TBSP Powdered Sugar or Sugar Free.
7) 1/2 TSP Salt

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

Peel and chop the Mangoes into cubes after throughly washing them. Blend the Mango cubes in a food processor into a smooth purée. Keep aside. Soak Sweet Basil seeds in water for 10 minutes. Extract Juice of Lime and Orange and keep aside. Roughly chop the cranberries into small bits and sprinkle the powdered sugar and leave it for at least 15 minutes.

Pour Mango pulp equally into the four cups or Popsicle moulds and  after inserting Popsicle sticks freeze for two hours.

In a bowl mix the soaked Sweet Basil Seeds, Fresh Lime Juice , salt & give it all a nice mix. Now add this mixture and freeze for an hour.

Next place the sweetened cranberry bits on the second layer and put the cups back into the freezer for an hour.

Finally pour the fresh orange juice and freeze the Popsicle overnight.


CHECK LIST :
1) Mangoes, 2) Lime, 3) Orange, 4) Sweet Basil Seeds, 5) Cranberries, 6) Powdered Sugar/Sugar Free, 7) Salt

NOTE:
  • Add sugar to the Mango pulp and Orange juice if they are not very sweet. I have not added sugar here in my recipe as my fruits were very sweet.
  • You can freeze the orange juice partially if it's of thin constituency until it forms ice granules, then break them and pour the thickened granulated Orange juice into your cups. If the juice is runny it might seep in and collect at the end of the cup.
  • I called this one popsicle and not paleta because although I did use ripe mango pulp for the first layer from the top, I have used lime and orange juices in the 2nd and the third layer whereas the Paleta I had in Mexico city used fruit pulp instead of juice
  • You can use chia seeds instead of sweet basil seeds.
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