The Indian Summer is at its peak with all the right ingredients including merciless sun, scorching winds which sap the energy out of the body. Soaring temperatures diminish the want to eat and one longs for some chilled refreshing drink. In the days when fizzy, carbonated drinks full of empty calories, artificial sweeteners, colours and synthetic flavors beckon you from every food mall, roadside shops and eateries our home is heaven for traditional nutritious summer coolers. Natural home-made drinks which not just keep the body cool but are also healthy.
Summer in our country is ferocious and most of the body fluid is lost in sweat. It is an age-old tradition to offer water with something sweet ( at our home peda or petha) to anyone who comes from outside. It helps to keep the person hydrated and the sugar gives instant energy.
All the summer coolants are region and season specific and can be divided into two categories – Dairy and fruit based. Some fruit based summer drinks are hibiscus and Rhododendron drinks. We have the most common Nimboo pani( shikanjee) , lassi( sweet and salted)( thick creamy whipped curd /, taken plain or with dash of sweet concentrate or blended with mango) , buttermilk, fruit smoothies, fruits crushes, kokam (fruit of a tropical evergreen tree (Garcinia indica) ) sherbet, thandai, sherbets made from local seasonal fruits like bael, phalsa, raw mango ( aam panna). Tender coconut water and fresh fruit juices are also popular. Jal zeera is another summer favorite. All these drinks are rehydrant and prevent heat strokes and other summer maladies. Sattu drink ( sweet and salty) are again making a place for themselves. Then there are very popular mixes of sugar and natural essences like rose, kevda, khas, and other sherbets made by infusing herbs and natural essences. These are a little high on sugar but still a popular choice. Most of them have medicinal properties and good for summer.
The plan is to help the body stock up on essential vitamins and minerals.
Let us take two very healthy traditional summer refresher today.
Sattu ka ghol ( Sattu drink)
Sattu is a special unique drink with a good source of natural fibre and carbohydrates and is made with scientific formula. Originally sattu was made from roasted powered chick peas but with time it has evolved and we can get many variants and mixes of pulses,legumes and cereals like barley, maize, wheat, rice, horse gram, oat etc in form of sattu. Sattu was originally known as Sat-Anaaj(seven cereals, millets and pulses). All across the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarpradesh , and Orissa Sattu is eaten daily in various forms. Sattu drinks can be sweet or salty according to the taste. Jaggery is used instead of refined sugar to make it more healthy.
One can buy sattu from a good store ( I buy from Navdhanya) or make it at home too. It has iinnumerable health benefits and has digestible dietary constituents of vital importance. It has high protein value and beneficial for diabetic patients.
Rich in Iron, calcium and magnesium Sattu is good for digestion, weight management, low blood pressure etc.
Here is how we make Sattu drink (one glass)
Chana Sattu – 1 Tablespoon
Barley Sattu – 1 Tablespoon
Salt – as per taste
Roasted cumin seed powder – a pinch
One can add, grated raw mango, coriander , mint, etc. as per taste. One can also make with sweet with jaggery.
In a glass add both sattus , salt, cumin powder and other ingredients. Add chilled water. Mix well. Your healthy summer drink is ready to be savored.
The other favorite of mine is Bael sherbat .
Bael or wood apple is also known as Elephant apple, stone fruit and Bengal Quince. It gets its name of wood apple due to the hard cover. It is native to India and the tree is considered sacred for Hindus . Bael fruit is used in traditional medicine. It is also found in Srilanka and Thailand.
Bael fruit is a storehouse of good health and nutrition. Packed with protein, phosphorus, Vitamin C and B complex and tannin it strengthens the heart and mind, cures acidity, increases body resistance and improve the memory. It also cures ulcers and gastric disorders, treats acidity, burning sensation in the stomach and nausea, cleans the stomach of impurities and cures weak eyes. It is also a good cardiac tonic and energy booster. A good source of beta-carotene, Bael also cure liver problems. It also contain thiamine and riboflavin. Once a week intake of Bael fruit cures Amoebiasis .
To make a healthy Bael ( Wood apple ) sherbet we need :
Ripe Bael Fruit : 1
Water to soak the pulp
Sugar - if required / according to taste.
Break open a medium size wood apple .
Scrape the pulp out and soak it in water overnight.
Next morning when the pup is soft , mash it gently with hands and strain through a strainer to obtain the clear liquid .
For a glassful of health , dilute the liquid according to taste. I like it a bit thick. Add ice cubes, garnish with fresh mint and enjoy .
So make your own revitalising, nutritious and healthy summer thirst-quenchers from local herbs, fruits , essences, etc and stay refreshed and healthy this summer. They are not just a great protection against heat but also guard against a host of summer-related ailments.