India has a host of drinks apart from the usual “mango lassi” that are hitherto unfamiliar to the west… Most of these, apart from taste, have properties to help cope with the elements or ailments be a cooling raw mango Panna or khus for the intense blazing summer, the red carrot and kanji drink for cold winter months, hot pepper rasam for coughs and colds, buttermilk for digestion or even the milk with ground almonds and pepper given by brides to their new husbands on wedding nights for additional energy…..the list is endless… Some of them taste better than others but others are amazingly effective even to sceptics like me.. So for example, my dad and grandmother drink a concoction of raw okra soaked in water overnight and it does work miracles for letting blood sugar at bay.
At lunch today we had four very different typical drinks – each had their own taste, look and flavour.. The Shikanji ben is a made from soaking dried plums and then adding sugar, mint and roasted cumin seeds.. The falooda is an Indian milk shake with rose syrup, pistachios, vermicelli and basil seeds, the cold coffee is something most households make in the summer months – coffee made with cold milk, blended with ice , ice cream and sweetened with sugar and chocolate … the Nimbu Soda is nothing but Fresh Lime sweetened with sugar, a hint of salt and topped up with ice and soda.
Try these out the next time you enjoy lunch on an afternoon of sunshine .