Naturally cooling drinks for the summer.
It is unlikely that you would believe me if I simply said that many drinks consumed at room temperature are actually better for you than chilled. But just take my word for it and try these out. These drinks are actually designed to cool your body from the inside, calm your stomach and help the body combat the heat better, and it is believed, they help reduce the chances of getting a heat stroke.
Freshly squeezed aka home-made lemonade benefits tremendously with a pinch of homemade chaat masala or store bought chaat masala. Well made chaat masala has a couple ‘cooling’ ingredients, such as Sindhav/rock salt, a teeny tiny portion of dried ginger and raw mango powder. Combined with the lemonade, this replenishes your body’s electrolytes as well as keeping you hydrated. Chilled on its own? Even better! Stay away from adding ice-cubes though. It is vegan, for those who care.
A weak serving of Indian styled buttermilk – meaning Greek Yogurt thinned out with water, is a great thirst quencher, and summer cooler. Whisk 1/3 cup yogurt to a smooth paste and add 2/3 cup water to make a light drink. Season with a pinch of salt or rock salt and a dash of freshly roasted cumin powder.
This unusual looking clear magenta liquid is the nectar of the Gods, I tell you. It tastes a cross between a rhubarb and blackberry – tart and sweet, but distinctly its own. Made from plump mangosteen pulp, grandmas everywhere in India will tell you- this drink quite literally sucks the heat out from your body. Ethnic stores sometimes carry a pre-made syrup, that sometimes contain a small bit of ginger or roasted cumin. With or without, it is delicious. Add 2-3 tablespoons to a tall glass of room temperature water, stir in and add more if you so desire. Sip away the heat. It is vegetarian, if you care but not vegan – because, white sugar.
Skip all the fruits for a pure simple and quick remedy for the summer heat. Whisk ½ cup yogurt with sugar to taste until smooth and then add ½ cup water and whisk again. Much like the jeera chaaj, it too, calms the body.
Aam Panna’ – is made from raw mangoes – wherein a raw mango is roasted, or pressure cooked with the skin on, its pulp extracted and added to a pot of sweetened water, cooled, strained and consumed. It isn’t one of my favorite drinks because, well, the processing takes a bit longer than I usually care for.
Blitzing a few slices of watermelon yields a delicious watermelon drink. Watermelon is also cooling to the body, in moderation though. One summer, a watermelon lemonade made one popular party drink! This one (on the right) was sweetened with a splash of honey and some Chaat Masala for bite.
Sabja/Sweet Basil Seeds:
If you have none of these ingredients handy, keep a small bottle of Sabja or sweet basil seeds handy. Although they look like Chia, they are far from it. A teaspoon of sweet basil seeds can merely be added to a tall glass of water. When the seeds become translucent and float, the water is ready to drink. Add a wedge of lemon if you wish. These seeds do not change the taste of water, but do wonders for the body during a harsh summer. So, give it a try but perhaps no more than once a day.
Stay cool this summer, with these easy and healthy drinks that work with your body to help it combat the heat.