Ever since its inception around 15 years back, my college, CEC, has borne witness to a number of love stories. Some of the stories have been told over the years, especially where teachers, eloping or differences in caste was involved. My favourite story was the one in which one of our teachers was supposed to have eloped with a former student of his. This was especially interesting because he was a very strict person, and his mere presence in an otherwise unruly classroom ensured pin drop silence. I could not imagine how anyone had the guts to fall in love with him; surely his ladylove was exceptionally brave.
But not every story ended happily; infact most of them were not intended to right from the start. There were people who pretended to be "just friends", which meant that while they did everything that people in love usually did, and had eyes, ears and time for no one else, they claimed they were only two great friends who liked to hang out together. I do not know whether they were able to fool anyone with this grand scheme except maybe themselves. Then again, there were people who openly declared their love for each other, but decided that they would end their relationship at the end of the course. The basis for such a decision - differences in religion, social status, family status etc, and the lack of will to stand upto the emotional blackmail that their families would have definitely subjected them to, had they decided to get married.
Whatever the genre of love, couples spent a lot of time in the college canteen, sipping on lime soda or in one of the various juice shops in the locality. Now that I think of it, for a very small town, Chengannur has a surprisingly large number of juice shops, bakeries and restaurants, and the place owes a lot of its booming food business to the love struck couples of CEC. I had often heard rave reviews about Sharjah shake, and finally a couple of friends and I decided to see what the fuss was all about. We went into a juice shop which was crowded with tables and chairs, and the first thing that struck me was that the setting was far from romantic. I could not help but sympathize with the couples who had to whisper sweet nothings in here, swatting away the flies that seemed to be everywhere. The shake did not live upto my expectations either, it was too thick and should have been served with a spoon rather than a straw. I was glad to be able get out of there and did not think I had the stomach for a Sharjah shake ever again. But that was till my brother started experimenting with milk shakes at home. He was a CEC pass out as well, and perhaps became nostalgic when he thought of milk shakes. Hmmm!!! Anyway, he made them rather well, and I had my first taste of delicious Sharjah shake at home, thanks to him.
I decided to give this popular drink a slight twist by adding some thick, creamy coconut milk in addition to plantains and chocolate. And since Sharjah shake does not have anything to with Sharjah, I thought I could atleast give it a Kerala touch with the coconut milk. Here is how I made it.
1. One ripe plantain
2. 300 ml chilled milk
3. ½ cup thick coconut milk
4. 2 tsp cocoa powder
5. 4-5 cashewnuts
6. Sugar, to taste (or honey)
Dissolve the cocoa powder in a few teaspoons of warm milk and let it cool. Blend the remaining ingredients together using a blender. Stir in a little more sugar and the cocoa paste and serve immediately.
You can also replace milk with thin coconut milk.