5 Indian summer drinks to stay healthy

Try these traditional Indian summer drinks to stay hydrated and energised through the scorching months.

Indian summers can be harsh and unforgiving. It’s important to stay hydrated and keep the body cool through these months as temperatures soar and often wreak havoc on health. Regional cuisines across the country have, for ages, had various foods and drinks that help to deal with the heat. No matter which part of the country you are from, we’ve all grown up with various options when it comes to summer diets.

One of the most popular part of these diets have always been the Indian summer drinks. Aside from being rich in salts and minerals, they also help regulate body temperatures and have enormous bearing on hydration. Seasonal produce usually plays an important role here, and can have important nutritional benefits. And the best part: all of these can be easily made at home, so long as you have the ingredients handy.

Here’s a look at 5 Indian summer drinks that will keep you healthy through these scorching months.

Chaas

Chaas or buttermilk is popular across the country, with every region having their own version of it. The curd that forms the base of the drink is great for gut health, and the spices used to fortify the drink contribute valuable minerals to the body. Here’s an easy recipe to make chaas at home.

chaas

Ingredients:

  • 375gm curd
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint or coriander leaves
  • ½ teaspoon black salt

Preparation:

Put all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of mint or coriander leaves in the blender and blend until the mixture is frothy.

Refrigerate to keep cool.

Garnish with mint or coriander leaves when serving.


Shikanji

This Indian lemonade is popular for its citrusy and refreshing flavours. Aside from the salt and minerals, the lemon juice packs in lots of vitamin C. Here’s how you can make it at home.

shikanji

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon of rock salt  
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 glasses of water
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves for garnishing

Preparation:

Use a lemon squeezer to juice the lemon into the water.

Add in the cumin powder, rock salt and sugar.

Stir until everything dissolves. Refrigerate to cool.

If you want a bit of fizz, you could add in a bit of soda.

Garnish with mint leaves when serving.


Aam panna

One of India’s most beloved fruits in its unripe form too, mango makes for a delicious addition to any preparation. Aam panna is made in a number of ways, with the most popular versions roasting or boiling the mango. Here’s how you can make it at home.

aam panna

Ingredients:

  • 400gm unripe mangoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 325gm sugar or jaggery (this should be double the amount of mango pulp generated)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons rock salt or black salt
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • Mint leaves for garnishing

Preparation:

Put the mangoes and water in a pressure cooker and cook until two whistles are done.

Strain out the water from the content of the cooker and set aside.

Let the mangoes cool and then scrape out the pulp into a bowl.

Add the sugar or jaggery to the pulp.

Add in the pepper, salt, cumin powder, cardamom and blend well.

The resulting concentrate can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Use the concentrate and blend in chilled water when making aam panna. Use water according to how thick or diluted you would want the aam panna.

Garnish with mint leaves when serving.


Jal jeera

You might have noticed how cumin is an integral part of nearly every summer drink. This is because of its cooling properties as well as its abilities to aid digestion. Sure, there are readymade jaljeera powders available, but nothing beats making it at home with no added preservatives. Here’s how you can make it at home.

jal jeera

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dry mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • Rock salt to taste

Preparation:

Soak the tamarind in the hot water for about 20 minutes.

In a blender, add the mint leaves. Take care to leave out the stems.

Add in the tamarind pulp and water mixture.

Add the cumin, fennel, pepper, along with the dry mango powder, chaat masala, and rock salt.

Blend until smooth. If you don’t want any texture in your drink, put the mixture through a strainer.

Refrigerate the resulting concentrate. Mix into cold water in a ratio that suits your taste.


Lassi

It would be criminal to not include lassi on a list of Indian summer drinks. While it might be popular at any time of year, summer is the ideal season to include curd in your diet. While there are many kinds of lassi that can be made, here, we’ll tell you how to make the simple salted version.

lassi

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of curd
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of roasted cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon rock salt
  • Mint leaves for garnishing

Preparation:

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy.

Add in ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves when serving.

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