It's that time of year when our bodies crave flavourful hydration and we want to consume gallons of cold beverages. However, instead of guzzling the bottled beverages available in the market this summer (which are packed with sugar and artificial flavours in most cases), try making some classic Indian chillers and street drinks. Here are some recipes to try out at home:
1. Aam Panna
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Serves: 6
One of the pleasures of living in a tropical country like India is the ability to indulge in mango-based summer drinks, the most popular of which is certainly the flavour-packed aam panna. Fresh kairi (raw mango) panna, a nostalgic drink with appealing sweet-sour-spicy flavours, is especially popular in North Western India.
• 1 raw mango
• 2 cups water
• 3 tbsp mint leaves
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ tsp cardamom powder
• ½ tsp cumin powder
• ½ tsp pepper powder
• ¾ tsp salt
• Ice cubes, as required
Step 1: Put one raw mango and two cups water in a pressure cooker. Cover and pressure cook for minutes, or until the mangoes are soft.
Step 2: Allow it cool completely before peeling the mango skin. Also, scrape the mango pulp to ensure that the skin has detached. Transfer the contents to a blender.
Step 3: Add 3 tbsp mint and ¼ cup sugar. Without adding any water, mix until a smooth paste is formed.
Step 4: Next, add ½ tsp cardamom powder, ½ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp pepper powder, and ¾ tsp salt. Mix thoroughly to ensure that everything is well integrated. The aam panna concentration has been prepared.
Step 5: To serve, combine one tbsp of aam panna concentrate with a few ice cubes in a large glass. Mix in ice-cold water well. Garnish it with mint leaves before serving.
Prep Time: 5 mins | Serves: 2
Summer time is synonymous with shikanji (also known as jal jeera in some regions), a lemonade with a flavourful twist thanks to simple spices like roasted cumin, pepper, and black salt. It is extremely popular in north India, where handcarts with massive clay matkas (cups) are frequently seen on the streets selling chilled jal jeera topped with mint leaves and boondi.
• 1 lemon, medium-sized
• 2 glasses water
• 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
• Black salt, as required
• Sugar, as required
• 4-5 mint leaves for garnish
• Ice cubes
Step 1: Cut the lemon into two.
Step 2: In a bowl, take two glasses of water, squeeze the lemon directly into it.
Step 3: Add black salt, sugar, and cumin powder. Stir till you see the sugar dissolving.
Step 4: Once mixed, transfer the shikanji into glasses. Add ice cubes, and garnish with mint leaves before serving.
3. Falsa Sharbat
Prep Time: 10 mins | Serves: 4
Falsa sherbet is a nutritious summertime refresher that's nothing short of fantastic. Falsa (Grewia Asiatica) is a blueberry-sized fruit with a pleasantly acidic flavour that can help with digestion and dehydration. The tangy treat is also a low glycemic index fruit, so diabetics can enjoy it as well.
• 250 gms falsa
• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ tsp black salt
• ¾ roasted cumin powder
• Mint leaves for garnish
• 4 glass water
• 1.5 cup crushed ice
Step 1: Thoroughly wash falsa with water
Step 2: In a blender, add the falsa, sugar, two glasses of water, and blend it just enough to make it pulpy.
Step 3: Strain the contents of the blender into a bowl, so as to collect the juice
Step 4: Add two glasses of water, black salt, pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, and chopped mint leaves. Mix it well and place it in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
Step 5: In a glass, add some crushed ice, and pour the juice into it. Garnish with mint leaves before serving.
4. Bel Sharbat
Prep Time: 25 mins | Serves: 2
Bel (wood apple), a seasonal summer fruit rich in nutrients, is supposed to treat everything from heatstroke and upset stomach to dehydration and diabetes. Soak the pulp in water after breaking through the woody outer shell, then add jaggery and lemon juice to make a simple yet effective chiller.
• 3 wood apples, small to medium-sized
• 3.5 cups water, chilled
• 12 tbsp jaggery, or as per taste
• 1/3 tsp cardamom powder
• ½ tsp roasted cumin powder
• 2 pinches black salt
Step 1: Take the wood apples and roll them around with a rolling pin (belan). The outside hard shell will begin to fracture. When you crack open the hard shell, you'll find a brown pulp inside. Scoop out the soft pulp using a spoon.
Step 2: In a mixing dish, place the scooped soft pulp and add one cup water. Allow this mixture to soak for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Mash the pulp thoroughly with a veggie masher. Then filter the mashed mixture in sections using a sieve. Also, when straining, add around ½ to ¾ cup water. Stir the mixture with a spoon to ensure that it is well strained.
Step 4: After straining the mixture, add 12 tbsp jaggery. Sugar can also be added. Both the jaggery and the water can be adjusted to suit your needs.
Step 5: Add two pinches black salt, roasted cumin powder, and cardamom powder. Mix thoroughly.
Step 6: Bel sharbat should be served in tall glasses. By adding more or less water, you can manage the consistency of the drink.
5. Chandan Sharbat
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Serves: 1
Sandalwood is well-known for its calming effects. However, few people are aware that chandan sharbat is an excellent summer chiller. This drink, infused with kewra extract and rose (or mogra petals), not only boasts distinct flavours, but also has a gorgeous colour and strong aroma.
• 1 kg sugar
• 3 ltr water
• 10 gms chandan powder, tied in a potli
• 2 tbsp milk
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
Step 1: Allow the sugar to dissolve in the water without bringing it to a boil. Once dissolved, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Add milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until there are deposits on the sides, which you should skim off.
Step 3: Cook till there is consistency in the mixture, then add the lemon juice.
Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat and quickly add the chandan package to the syrup. Leave it overnight for the taste and smell to develop.
Step 5: Strain the sharbat and preserve it in bottles. Serve chilled.