This May, be a cool cucumber by chilling with Naini Setalvad’s favourite summer drinks
The bright sun, golden haze, and warm air have me overjoyed! It’s time for me to restart my daily swims and gorge on everyone’s favourite fruit—mango. It is also the best time for the various summer pickles. The gourd vegetables are available in plenty and make for delicious stir-fries. Summer is truly a joyous time. Once summer vacation for the kids begins, we adults too get into holiday mode. However, I have only one complaint about this season: the heat kills my appetite. But don’t worry if you too are feeling the same. I have just the cure! Ditch the ice-creams and colas, and have the following cooling drinks instead:
Lemonade: My first choice is this simple concoction which is rich in Vitamin C due to the concentrated amount of lemon in it. The rock salt and roasted cumin seeds powder used work as excellent electrolyte stabilisers. Toss in some mint leaves, and you will get a better cooling effect. It is a no-fuss summer drink and will help you say bye to the heat.
Jaljeera: A favourite in all households across India, jaljeera is a drink that replenishes your body with natural salt and micronutrients which are lost through sweat during the summer. I make this with roasted cumin seed powder, mint leaves, and fennel seed powder to cool me down.
Buttermilk: One of my favourite summer drinks, it’s what I call ‘gujju beer.’ You want to keep having more and more of it. This probiotic cooler, available across the country, is amazing for your digestive system and will make your body sing with joy. Add roasted cumin powder to enhance its digestive power.
Coconut water: Coconut water is undoubtedly counted as a wonder drink. It is essentially purified water which has been stored in a sterile environment for over nine months. It is one of the highest sources of natural electrolytes known to man. Coconut water is a solution for my complaints about the stifling summer heat as it is the next best thing to water and may help counteract any feeling of dizziness. I refer to this as the elixir of life, and I thank God that I live in a country where it is abundantly available. It is also instantaneously refreshing and contains minerals that are excellent for the hair and skin. Sip on this biodegradable drink to your heart’s content.
Cucumber-infused water: Cucumber has many benefits. It contains antioxidants and is very hydrating. Cucumber-infused water can help soothe your skin from the inside out while staying hydrated. It helps your body to flush out toxins and maintain a healthy complexion. In this sweltering heat, I often tell my clients to choose cucumber-infused water over sugar-filled beverages.
Coriander-mint water: My favourite chaat (savoury) to eat during this season is the mouth-watering pani puri. Though I don’t recommend you indulge in fried puris, the coriander-mint water is a must-have. This tonic is enriched with antioxidants, lemon juice, green chilli, and rock salt. Coriander helps relieve indigestion, constipation, and stomach spasms.
Aloe vera: My aloe vera plant is in full bloom during this season. I pick out the fresh leaves every morning to extract the pulp and take a shot of its juice. The electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals rejuvenate me and also relieve constipation. Take a shot in the morning, and you will thank me.
Enjoy your summer with plenty of sunshine, fresh seasonal foods, and these coolers, which will ensure you feel energetic and active.
HOMEMADE JALJEERA RECIPE
For the tamarind (imli) paste
¼ cup hot water
1 tbsp tightly packed tamarind. For a more pronounced sourness, you can add ½ tbsp more
For the jaljeera
½ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
1.5 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
½ tsp whole black pepper
1 pinch asafoetida (hing) (optional)
1 black cardamom, seeds removed and kept (optional)
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
1 tsp chaat masala powder (optional)
Rock salt as required
1.5 cups water
Soak tightly packed tamarind in ¼ cup of hot water for about 20 minutes.
Rinse mint leaves well with water. Drain all the water. Put the mint leaves in a small grinder jar.
Add the soaked tamarind along with its water. Make sure there are no seeds in the tamarind.
Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper, and black cardamom seeds.
Next, add amchur, chaat masala, asafoetida, and black salt as required.
Grind to a smooth chutney. If you want, you can even strain the chutney using a tea strainer.
Take the jaljeera chutney in a bowl and add 1.5 cups of water.
Mix very well. Check the taste of jaljeera and add more salt and dried mango powder if required. You can also add some lemon juice if you want.
Serve chilled with a sprinkle of mint leaves.
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