This year the Indian summer has been beating down harder than ever – temperatures have been soaring into the forties for weeks on end and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep one's head cool in the middle of the heat! Instant coolers are available in the stores, ranging from colas to juices – but the best refreshments to keep the heat at bay are always made at home!
Traditional Indian summer coolers go a long way, so here are the selected few that are delicious and really easy to make at home!
This coastal beverage is ideally served as a digestive at the end of a meal. All along the coast of Konkan, this is mixed with rice and eaten at the end of the meal. I find it also is very filling and refreshing as a mid afternoon pick-me-up!
The simplest way to make sol kadhi would be to take two cups of coconut milk diluted with a cup of water, stir in two pods of crushed garlic, a crushed green chilli, some salt and a pinch of sugar. Mix in some sour kokum extract or some dried kokam, and allow it to rest for at least three hours.
Chaas or what we also called buttermilk is the quintessential beverage served along a traditional Indian meal in almost all parts of the country. Easy to make on a daily basis, and the best thirst quencher after a hot day in the sun!
Take 1 cup of fresh yogurt, and a cup of water, churn together, preferably using a wooden churner to get a nice consistency. A simple and classic chaas would only have a pinch of powdered rock salt in it. You could always jazz it up with cumin powder, crushed chilli and ginger and chopped coriander. Allow to rest for at least an hour before you serve so that all the flavours come together.
Most well known as the traditional way of serving bhang, thandai is most popular during the festival of Holi. Without adding the bhang, though, this drink is as refreshing as any other, and is a great mid morning snack on a hot summers day!
Make a fine powder with a handful of almonds, 2-3 cardamoms, poppy seeds and fennel seeds. Mix this powder with a glass of milk, and whisk well to make sure the milk is well flavoured. Sweeten with sugar and flavour with a little saffron to make every sip stand out!
This drink made from raw mangoes has the sour sweet taste that is reminiscent of an Indian summer. Making this requires you to have a local, fresh supply of sour raw mangoes – which makes this dish a seasonal highlight!
Boil 2-3 raw mangoes or cook them in a pressure cooker so that the pulp is fully cooked. Allow to cool and then seperate the pulp from the skin and seed. Mix in sugar, a pinch of salt, and optionall a couple of strands of saffron, and blend to make a smooth paste. Dilute with water and serve cold.
Written bySurabhi Ganguly
Surabhi, is an engineer turned food professional, who quit a decade-long corporate career to set up her own venture, Slyly Simple Gourmet Kitchen. Surabhi loves travel and exploring new cultures, and wherever she goes, she brings back a food memory that influences her cooking. Her unusual and easy recipes use unique ingredient combinations and strong, distinct flavours.