Homemade Summer Coolers
It’s that time of the year when our body craves some flavorful hydration and all we want to do is chug down cold drinks by the gallon. Everyone agrees it’s quintessentially summer to sip fruity, refreshing beverages in the sunshine– and boy do we have a whole bunch of drink recipes that fit the bill.
Made from seasonal fruits, herbs and spices, traditional coolers are the perfect way to beat the heat on sizzling summer days. Every region in India has its version, each perfected by years of experience and passing time. Moreover, each of them has a story of its own, a tale of centuries-old culture and cherished memories
So here are 5 delicious drinks that define Indian summer.
What screams summer than a thanda glass of Aam Panna?
The Aam Panna is made with sour and tender raw mangoes. Later mixed with sugar and salt and blended to a smooth paste to which cumin, pepper and an assortment of spices are added to make it spicy and flavourful.
- ½ kg Raw Mango
- 1 cup Fresh Mint
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- 4 tsp Black Salt
- Peel the skin of the mangoes and cut them into cubes, Add the chopped mangoes to a pressure cooker.
- Add enough water to cover them and cook till soft. ( One whistle on high and 2 on low ).
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the mangoes cool down.
- Once the mangoes are cooled down, transfer them to a blender along with mint leaves and blend.
- Add sugar, roasted cumin powder and black salt to the mango pulp and mix well.
- Add 5-6 cups of water and chill the Panna for a few hours
- Pour the Panna, add ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves.
Benefits of the ever refreshing Aam Panna: It Re-hydrates, maintains electrolyte balance and prevents loss of Iron in the body. It is a good source of nutrition A, B1, B2, C. The Aam Panna has high amounts of antioxidants and is an immunity booster.
Bel ka Sherbet
A hot summer afternoon definitely calls for sherbet. Bel, also is known as Bengal Quince, or Wood apple, is a popular summer fruit and Bel sherbet, or bel squash is widely consumed in India as it is refreshing and a great thirst quencher.
- Break the shell of a ripe yellow bel fruit with a wooden rolling pin. It should break open in two halves. Scoop out the pulp using a large spoon
- Soak the pulp in 300 ml water, for two hours
- Now mash the pulp in the water using fingers and strain the mix, by scrubbing the pulp along the strainer. This helps to get the maximum out of it.
- Add some cardamom powder to taste.
- Serve chilled
Bel naturally fights viral and bacterial infections, can reduce inflammation, and is considered a good cure for a number of diseases. It can relieve constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, ulcers, piles, and respiratory problems. That apart, it also helps the body fight against cancer, diabetes, and sexual dysfunctions.
Tender Coconut Water
Tender coconut is a natural rehydrating drink that has no added chemicals or harmful ingredients. It is the best drink to choose any day. It is very effective in keeping you hydrated, especially during summers.
- Pour the coconut water into a blender, add the coconut pulp, and the sugar.
- Keep blending until the coconut has fully blended in with the coconut water.
- Pour the coconut juice into a jar and leave it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. The juice tastes best when served cold.
Coconuts contain compounds that help in digesting. Tender coconut water can be used as an alternative for blood plasma. It hydrates naturally, resolves stomach issues and also restores electrolytes. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and increases blood circulation.
Rose sherbet is made with concentrated syrup of a medley of edible rose flowers and other ingredients. The syrup can be mixed with water, milk or lassi to lend in a deep rosy flavour. The striking flavour and fragrance of this drink have beguiled us season after season.
1 cup red rose petals - tightly packed
3 cups water
4 cups sugar
- In a wide and deep pan, put the rose petals and pour water. Leave overnight.
- Add sugar to the rose petal and water mixture and stir over low heat, till sugar is dissolved.
- When dissolved, increase the heat and let it come to a boil and cook till thickened--one thread consistency. That is take a drop of the mixture and press between your thumb and forefinger, a string like structure should form when you separate the fingers.
- Strain through a muslin cloth and store in a clean, airtight bottle.
- Use this rose syrup concentrate with chilled milk or water and enjoy!
Rose sharbat has been known to reduce stress and anxiety and calm minds; thanks to its cooling properties. The fibre in the rose help keep the bowel movement going smoothly. It's anti-inflammatory properties keep problems like bloating and acidity at bay. It keeps your skin and hair healthy. Its antioxidant properties help reduce ageing spots, wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
If only dealing with India's scorching tropical summers was as easy as slapping on some sunscreen and wearing light cotton clothes. Lets take a moment to talk about one such summer-saviour drink. Thandai! This classic Indian cold drink made with dry fruits, spices and milk, is every bit as mouthwatering, as it is reviving in the sweltering heat.
- 35-40 almonds blanched
- 20 black peppercorns whole
- 4 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoon watermelon seeds
- 15-20 green cardamom pods
- 1 litre whole milk around 4 cups
- 1/2 cup sugar 100 grams, or to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons rose water 30-45 ml
- strands of saffron
- sliced nuts to garnish
- rose petals to garnish
Make Thandai Masala/Paste
- First blanch the almonds. Soak them overnight and peel the skin.
- Transfer the blanched almond to a blender along with peppercorns, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, watermelon seeds and cardamom pods.
- Grind to a smooth paste. add milk if needed.
- Add milk to a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Stir in between and let it come to a slight boil.
- Remove 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk from the pan and transfer to a small bowl. Crush saffron strands between your fingers and add to the hot milk. Let it sit until it gets a nice yellow colour.
- Once the milk comes to boil, lower the heat and add the thandai masala to it. Use a wire whisk to mix it all together.
- Then add the sugar and mix until it dissolved. Turn off the heat.
- Add the saffron milk mixture to the pan and stir. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Now add rose water and stir. Let it sit for another 30 to 60 minutes.
- Strain the thandai using a sieve into a pitcher.
- Transfer the pitcher to a refrigerator and chill, preferably overnight.
- To serve, pour thandai into glasses and garnish with sliced nuts like pistachios, almond, rose petals and saffron strands!
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