Summer accounts for hot waves of fire crossing your body, the involuntary sweating and the strong urge to have that cool cola or pick that tempting ice cream from the corner store.
We grew up consuming these products on a regular basis, making us believe these were our only ways of fighting the heat. I often would hear names of different sherbets my nani used to enjoy and how they were refreshing to her rather than a glass of chill soda. But just like every other problem, we have our own Indianized solutions. Having said that, here are a few homegrown beverages that might give us a fresh take on cooling ourselves this summer:
Starting off with the classic, chaas, also known as plain buttermilk, is widely popular amongst various cultures throughout the country. Curd or dahi, one of the key ingredients in its recipe, has been known for its dietary benefits and needless to say if you grew up in a Gujarati or Rajasthani household, you know the quintessential role it plays in your every meal.
2 cups fresh curd (dahi)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) powder
1/2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
1/2 tsp black salt (sanchal)
2 tsp finely chopped coriander (dhania)
Directions: Take curd in a bowl and whisk it well. Add cumin seed powder for a more refined taste. Then add ginger-green chilli paste, and black salt and mix everything well. Add cold water and stir it well. Mix well and your chilled chaas is ready to be served. You can also garnish it with coriander if you wish to.
II. Aam Panna
Aam panna or kairi panna is a vegan, gluten-free unripe (green) mango drink. It is one of the primary summer delicacies of Western India. Enjoyed on a hot summer afternoon, it is the classic combination of sweet and sour and is meant to indulge your taste buds through its flavours. Blended with a mix of herbs and spices along with raw mango, it’s surely a drink you don’t want to miss out on this summer.
400 grams medium-sized unripe green mangoes
1/2 cup water – for pressure cooking
1/4 cup sugar or jaggery powder
1/5 tsp ardamom powder
1/5 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/5 teaspoon black pepper powder or crushed black pepper
1/3 tsp black salt – you can also add regular white salt, pink salt or edible rock salt instead
Directions: Procure green or yellow raw mangoes and pressure cook them over medium heat for 2 – 3 whistles along with water. Remove the stone, if any, in the mangoes. Let the mango pulp to cool. Blend the mango pulp with sugar, salt, spices, and mint using a hand blender until it appears smooth. Do not discard the water! You can use this water to make the panna as it has both flavor and nutrients. Make sure to use a fine strainer so that the small pulp particles can be collected in the strainer and only the water is strained. Serve it with some ice and feel a cool summer breeze sweeping over your body. This recipe is for 2 servings.
III. Babri Beoul
Much like its name, this drink originates from the mainland of Jammu & Kashmir. Made from just a few ingredients such as milk, sugar and coconut, its origins lie deeply rooted in the Mughal empire. Basil seeds, the key ingredient, were allegedly brought to India by Babur and introduced to the area's people. Also known as kan sherbet, it’s one of the jewels you definitely want to try this summer.
Boiled milk 250 ml
1/2 tsp geen cardamom (elaichi) powder
8 to 10 saffron (kesar) strands
chopped & sliced almonds and pistachios 2 spoons
3 spoons of Babri Beoul/basil Seeds
1 cup water
2 tbsps grated dry coconut
Honey 2 tsp less or more to your taste
Directions: Soak basil seeds in 1 cup of water for 3 - 4 hrs. Then, boil milk and add cardamom powder to it. Allow the milk cool down. Add in the soaked basil seeds to the cooled milk. Next, add honey and mix well. FInally, add grated dried coconut and mix well. Sprinkle saffron strands and sliced nuts on top and refrigerate the glasses for 5 to 6 hours. Serve chilled.
IV. Nungu Sherbet
Made from ice apple, this is one of the lesser-known drinks quite popular in southern parts of India. Known for its tender yet subtle flavours, it’s definitely a refreshing drink to beat the harsh heat of the summer. Targola, taal, or nungu it is known by different names. The ice apple with its juicy flavours tends to be the perfect fruit for this summer. Nungu is known as Tale Hannu in Kannada, Tari in Hindi, Taati Munjalu in Telugu, Pana Nangu in Malayalam and Palmyra fruit (sometimes Ice-Apple) in English.
Nungu – 8
Barley – handful
Lemon – 1
Sugar – 150 gms
Mango Ginger Juice – 2 tsp (crush litle mango and ginger to make the juice)
Nannari Essence – 1 tsp
Direcions: Peel the nungu and chop it into small pieces. Boil the barley and strain the water into a bowl. Add mango ginger juice, lemon juice, 150 gms sugar, nannari essence and the nungu pieces. Mix well. Serve at room temperature or chilled. This recipe is ideal for 2 people.
V. Falsa Sherbet
With a distinct flavour and colour, falsa sherbet is meant to quench your thirst and fight the heat while being appetizing and healthy at the same time. Made from black currents, commonly found in South Asian forests, this sherbet goes beyond borders when it comes to its popularity. Due to the low glycemic value of the fruit, this drink is quite suitable for diabetic patients as well.
250 gms Falsa
2 tbsp Sugar
8-10 Mint leaves
6-7 Ice cubes
Directions: Blend the washed falsa along with sugar, lemon juice & mint leaves in a blender. Strain it. Add ice cubes, mint leaves & sliced lemon in a glass. Pour falsa into it and serve chilled.
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