Bindu Gopal Rao
With its diverse culinary geography, India’s rich history of traditional foods and drinks is unparalleled. As the temperatures peak, try some of these seasonal health drinks.
Ragi Ambli is a healthy drink, popular in Karnataka during summers. Pavithra Raj, a Bengaluru-based dietician, says, “Ragi or finger millet is a rich source of fibre and helps in lowering cholesterol and controls weight. This is good for diabetes and is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals. The phytochemicals present in ragi help slow down digestion and aid in controlling blood sugar levels.”
- Water 1 glass
- Ragi powder 2tbsp
- Butter milk ½ glass
- Salt to taste
Method: Boil water and add ragi powder to it. Cook on a low flame till the ragi powder gets cooked completely. Once the mixture cools down, add buttermilk and salt as required.
Sattu is a staple of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and has many cooling benefits and a high nutritional value. “There are two variants — one made from roasted chana dal and the other from roasted jau (barley). Both contain insoluble fibre that address Vata issues,” says Roopashree Sharma, founder, Atharvanlife.com.
- Roasted sattu powder 250gm
- Jaggery/coconut sugar/palm sugar 50gm
- Jeera powder 2tbsp
- Himalayan salt 2tsp
- Lemon juice ½ tbsp
Method: Blend all ingredients to make the sattu mix powder. In a glass of water; add 2 tbsp of this powder with ½ tbsp lime juice. Stir well and serve.
Popular in South India, Nannari has cooling medicinal properties. The herb sarsaparilla, called Nannari in Tamil or Naruneendi in Malayalam “helps keep the body cool, reduces urinary infections, arthritis and constipation and is a blood purifier. Drink this in morning on an empty stomach,” says Chef Raji, Beyond Dining Co.
- Nannari root powder 100gm
- Water 1 litre
- Jaggery 200gm (optional)
- Lime juice 1tbsp
Method: Boil water and Nannari powder. Leave it overnight. Add to it jaggery and some lime juice. Strain and serve chilled. This powder is available online.
Jigarthanda, a popular drink from Madurai, is known for its cooling properties. Himanshu Rai, chief dietician and nutritionist, Think You, says, “This is helpful in easing different body pains and good to counter acidity.”
- Full fat milk 1 cup
- Condensed milk 1 tbsp
- Nannari syrup (available online) 1tsp
- Badam pisin or almond gum or katira gond 1 tsp
- Ice-cream of any flavour 1 scoop
Method: Soak badam pisin overnight. Next morning, discard water and refrigerate. In a pan, add milk and condensed milk, mix well and keep aside. In a glass, add badam pisin, Nannari syrup, mixed milk and a scoop of ice cream. Blend all ingredients together. Add chopped almonds or cashew nuts. Serve chilled.
Piyush, popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat, is made with shrikhand. “ Rich in probiotics, it helps with digestion, has protein and calcium and keeps the body cool and develops immunity,” says Neha Mathur, founder, WhiskAffair.
- Plain shrikhand (chilled) 2 cups
- Yogurt (chilled) 1 cup
- Milk (chilled) 2 cups
- Cardamom powder 1tsp
- Nutmeg powder ½ tsp
- Saffron (soaked in 2tbsp milk) 10-15 strands
- Almond and pistachio slivers for garnishing
Method: Add all ingredients in a blender and blend. Add sugar if needed. Serve chilled with almond and pistachio slivers.
Palmyra fruit or nongu or tadgola is seasonal and local fruit but is available across the country. The British called it ‘ice apple’ for its cooling and hydrating effects. “A rich source of electrolytes, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins C and B, it is anti-inflammatory and has healing powers to soothe the digestive tract, inflamed skin, acidity and nausea,” says Manasa Rajan, a holistic health coach.
- Tender nongu/palm fruit (chilled) 5
- Liquid palm jaggery 1.5tbsp
- Pulp of passion fruits 2
Method: Peel and scoop out gel-like pulp. Mash with a spoon. Add liquid palm jaggery and passion fruit pulp. Mix and serve with mint leaves.
Imli ka amalana
Imli ka amalana, a popular drink in Rajasthan, is ideal for summers. It aids in digestion and helps in checking bloating. It’s also a natural painkiller for stomachache. Imli or tamarind is also good for skin and boosts immunity, says home chef Swati Mane.
- Imli 50gm
- Jaggery 50gm
- Ginger 2-inch piece
- Cinnamon powder 2tsp
- Cardamom powder 1tsp
- Black pepper 1tsp
- Water 0.5 litre
- Salt to taste
- Mint leaves for garnishing
Method: Soak imli for 30 minutes and boil in hot water. Add all ingredients and boil for 20 minutes more till the jaggery is melted. Cool, strain. Add to water and serve chilled with mint leaves.
Kamalika De, a Mumbai-based food blogger, says, “Khus khus is known for its soothing effects, checks inflammation and boosts immunity. Cucumber contains antioxidants and lemon is a good source of vitamin C.”
- Khus sherbet (available in supermarkets and online) 2tbsp
- Cucumber juice 1tsp sherbet
- Lemon juice 1tsp
- Mint leaves 1 sprig
- Sugar syrup 1 tsp
- Water 1 ½ cup
Method: In a glass add all ingredients to water. Add ice cubes and serve.
Mango is rich in vitamin C and fibre, while yoghurt is rich in calcium and is good for bone health.
- Mangoes (chopped) 2 cups
- Yoghurt 2 cups sherbet
- Sugar 2 tsp (optional)
Method: Blend mangoes and yoghurt in a blender. Add sugar if needed. Garnish with chopped mango and mint leaves.
Pyar Mohabbat Ka Sherbet
It is Old Delhi’s popular summer drink. Godhuli Sengupta, a fitness and nutrition coach, says, “I use falooda-flavoured whey protein as it’s low in calories.”
- Milk 1 cup
- Sugar 1tsp sherbet
- Watermelon cubes ¼ cup
- Watermelon juice ¼ cup
- Rooh Afza sherbet 1 tbsp
Method: Add sugar, Rooh Afza, ice to milk and blend. Add watermelon cubes and juice and mix. Serve chilled.
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