Summer is back with all its vengeance and again it is time to indulge in refreshing, cooling drinks made from seasonal fresh fruits. There is nothing like traditional indigenous coolants like Aam Panna (Raw Mango Drink), Sharbats made from Phalsa, Neebu (Lemon), Bel (wood apple), khus, rose sherbat, sattu drink, Thandai, fruit punches / juices and many others which are either yogurt based or milk based keep the body temperature down and provide the essential nutrients too.
Phalsa (Grewia asiatica) is one of the most popular summer fruits, at least it used to be when I was a girl). These days one doesn’t get it too easily as the berry is easily perishable. I remember the hot summer days when a vendor will pass through the lanes singing a song “kale kale phalse, taravat wale phasle” and we would rush to buy those tangy sweet berries sprinkled with pink salt. Either the berries would be given in conical-shaped leave held together by a toothpick or in a small paper bag. stained by the purple, mauve color of the phalsa.
Grewia asiatica or phalsa is a tropical berry native of India and South Asia. Mainly grown for the fruit the other parts of the shrub like ,bark and leaves, roots too have medicinal benefits. The fruit is full of iron, vitamin A, C, B1,2,3, calcium and dietary fiber. The fruit has loads of health benefits and is as cooling properties that help keep body temperature down. It helps prevent heat strokes. It offers radiation protection and the seeds contain palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids. Chewing the seed along with the flesh helps in air growth too. The peel of the berry has antioxidant properties.
After a week long search for good phalsa I finally managed to buy it at a local fruit cart. The berries were fresh and perfect for a summer salad. I used half of it for the salad and rest to make the gorgeous sharbat which has a tangy sweet flavor and my favorite.
Phalsa Berries (ripe) – 250 gm
Sugar – 100 gms (I use boora cheeni or powdered jaggery) (Quantity of Sugar depends on the sweetness of pulp exact)
Rock Salt (Kaala Namak) – to taste
Fresh mint leaves -a few
Water – As required
Wash the ripe berries, sprinkle a little rock salt and leave them for half an hour.
Take just enough water to cover the berries and soak them overnight. (4-5 hours is also enough).
(I keep it in the refrigerator)
Once soaked mash the berries with finger will the stones are separated.
Remove the stones and give it one stir in the mixer to make the pulp smooth. (The peel of Phalsa has antioxidant properties so I prefer to use it. )
In 3 Cups of water dissolve the sugar/jaggey.
Add Pink/rock salt to the pulp and mix.
Add the pulp to the sugar solution and stir till it blends properly.
( You can add beetroot slices or kokam syrup instead of sugar to make it sugar free yet sweet and tangy)
Add crushed ice or ice cubes and a few tender leaves of mint and serve chilled.
Let me know if you follow my recipe and prepare this healthy thirst quencher.
Keep cool and stay healthy .
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