Traditional Summer Coolers

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Rohini Diniz 

Jaljiraor Jaljeera: This is a popular beverage that is consumed in Northern India. It is served as a welcome drink in summers but is also consumed as an appetizer before a meal. Jaljeera is another variation of nimbu pani flavoured with roasted cumin, ginger, black pepper, mint, black salt and red chilli powder. To add more tang to the beverage tamarind or dry mango powder (amchur) can also be used. The ingredients used in the preparation of jaljeera have cooling properties and numerous health benefits. Since the beverage does not contain sugar, it is low in calories.

Phalse ka Sharbat: Phalsa is a blackish-purple berry that is available only from April to June in North India. Phalsa shrubs grow mainly in the Himalayan regions. However, it is now commercially cultivated in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

According to Ayurveda, the fruit reduces thirst and burning sensation, and cures heart and blood disorders. Phalsa berries look somewhat like blueberries but have a taste similar to cranberries, grapes and jamun.

The sweetness of the fruit is counterbalanced by the sour acidic flavour. Phalsa berries are good sources of vitamin C and potassium, and possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, thus keeping multiple infections at bay. Phalse ka sharbat has cooling properties that help prevent dehydration and keep the stomach calm on hot summer days.

Bael ka sharbat: The bael tree is native to India and is one of the sacred trees for Hindus. Bael fruit is a round, yellowish or green-coloured fruit with a hard peel and soft pulp inside. The ripe fruit is a good source of natural sugars, beta-carotene, riboflavin and vitamin C. It has a high content of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and is beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure. Bael sharbat is a great energizer and possesses a lot of medicinal value. It helps cool down the body, soothes the stomach, prevents heat exhaustion during summer, cures ulcers, treats acidity, nausea and also cures amoebiasis.

Sattu sharbat: This is a cooling summer beverage from Bihar. Sattu sharbat is a filling and satisfying beverage that is rich in protein, fibre, B-complex vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. This drink keeps one energetic on hot summer days and helps prevent dehydration, heat stroke and constipation. Sattu powder made from roasted black chana is the main ingredient used to make this beverage, which can be either sweet or spicy. In the sweet version, the powder is dissolved in water and sweetened with sugar or jaggery. The spicy beverage is prepared by adding roasted jeera, fresh coriander leaves, green chillies and black salt instead of sugar.

Imli ka amlana: This is a lesser known beverage from the Marwar region of Rajasthan that is prepared using chilled tamarind water flavoured with jeera, mint, black salt, chillies, cardamom and ginger. Imli ka amlana is a great summer cooler and digestive, especially in the hot desert climate.

To be continued…

(Writer is a consultant nutritionist with 22 years of experience, practicing at Panaji and can be contacted on [email protected])