Sip your way through summer
Make Naini Setalvad’s digestive concoctions your go-to, these sultry months
Oh, how I just love the summers! I thoroughly enjoy this golden-hued season which takes me back to my childhood days. It was the time when my one true love—mango—arrived. I would gobble up bowls of aamras (mango pulp) with hot puris (deep-fried bread). If that wasn’t enough, I and my friends would satisfy our cravings for salt and spice at the local chaat (Indian savouries) vendor. The day would end with a stomach that was full of my favourite foods but slightly queasy. If you too face this issue, do try out my summer digestive coolers that will help maintain your digestive health.
Mint: Refreshing and rejuvenating, a few mint leaves can solve pretty much anything. The active ingredient in mint—menthol—not only is a well-known mouth freshener but also soothes an upset stomach. This reliever of indigestion is antibacterial and can help fight stomach bugs. Take a bunch of fresh leaves and add them to your water. Sip on it throughout the day and you will breeze through summer.
Fennel: One summer drink that is reminiscent of my childhood is fennel-infused water. Soak fennel seeds in water through the night, boil the water, strain it, and devour the concoction. This sweet-tasting drink helps relieve constipation and indigestion. The high potassium can help reduce bloating due to excessive salt consumption.
Lemonade: Is it even summer without a daily glass of cold lemonade? Not only is it refreshing, but lemon is great for relieving acidity. Lemon water also helps reduce nausea. Lemonade is a great way to get back electrolytes that are lost when you have loose motions. Do bear in mind to sweeten your lemonade with natural sweeteners like stevia that won’t upset your stomach further.
Jal-jeera (Cumin water): This zingy drink is a great pick-me-up. With crushed cumin seeds, lemon juice, and rock salt, not only is it a refreshing cooler but a good digestive aid. Cumin seeds are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce flatulence. This comes in handy when you have had a heavy meal.
Gondh water: I recommend gondh water to all my clients who are suffering from constipation. Gondh is the sap that comes out of trees. It is an edible gum that is effective in achieving squeaky clean bowels. Take a teaspoon of gondh, dissolve it in lukewarm water, and enjoy.
Buttermilk: Made from homemade yoghurt, this drink gives you the much-needed probiotic dose. These probiotics help maintain gut health, prevent seasonal stomach infections, and aid recovery from loose motions. I like to add a tempering of cumin seeds and curry leaves to my buttermilk. These too aid in improving digestion.
Coriander-mint: My favourite chaat 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 may help 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 to extract the pulp and take a shot of its juice every morning. The electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals rejuvenate me. This juice also aids in relieving constipation. Take a shot in the morning, and you will thank me.
Pani Puri water
1 cup mint leaves
½ cup coriander
1 tsp jeera
1-2 green chilli
½ lemon juice
Black salt (sanchal) to taste
Salt to taste
• Wash the mint and coriander leaves properly.
• Put all the above ingredients in a blender.
• Blend into a smooth watery pulp.
• Add half a litre of water to the watery pulp.
• Serve cold.
½ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon whole black pepper
1 pinch asafoetida (hing), optional
1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur)
1 teaspoon chaat masala powder, optional
Black salt or rock salt, as required
½ cups water
Few mint leaves for garnish, optional
¼ cup hot water
1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind
• Soak 1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind in ¼ cup hot water for about 20 minutes.
• Rinse ½ cup fresh mint leaves well with water. Drain all the water. Put the mint leaves in a blender.
• Add the soaked tamarind along with its water. Make sure there are no seeds in the tamarind.
• Add ½ teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
• Next, add 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur), 1 teaspoon chaat masala, 1 pinch asafoetida (hing), and black salt as required.
• Grind to a smooth paste.
• Take the jal jeera paste in a bowl and add ½ cups of water.
• Mix very well.
• Garnish with lemon juice and mint leaves.
• Serve cold.
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