Bael Panna | Bel Ka Sharbat


Bel/Bael or stone apple is also known as Elephant apple and Bengal Quince. It gets its name of stone 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 .

Bael is used for making sharbat, chutney and murraba. The fruit is also eaten as medicinal remedy.

To make a healthy Bael  ( Stone apple ) sharbat we need : 

Ingredients :

  • Ripe Fragrant Wood Apple – 1 Medium
  • Sugar/Jaggery powder – To Taste (Depends on the sweetness of bael fruit)
  • Water – About 4 Glasses
  • Fresh Mint Leaves – 10-12
  • Lemon Juice – 1/2 Lemon
  • Lime Quarters – 3-4
  • Rock Salt powder – 1/4 teaspoon per glass
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Ice Cubes

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Method : 

  1. Crack open a ripe Bael fruit and scoop out all the fibrous flesh in a large glass bowl. No need to discard the seeds right now.
  2. Add 2 glasses of water to the pulp so that it submerges completely. Cover with a lid and set aside for 2-3 hours.
  3. Now mash the soaked pulp with hands and once it mixes properly sieve it through a thin mesh to collect maximum amount of juice.
  4. Add a little more water and sieve again. Throw away the seeds and insoluble fiber.
  5. Add Sugar/ jaggery powder as per the sweetness of the fruit concentrate and mix well. Refrigerate till you are ready to use.
  6. To serve panna, fill the glasses with ice cubes and pour the bael juice concentrate over it. Add Rock salt powder and the required amount of water and stir properly.
  7. Garnish with lemon wheels and fresh mint sprigs.
  8. Serve chilled.

You can muddle some fresh mint leaves and add to the fruit concentrate too. A hint of ginger also tastes good at times.

Do make the traditional summer beverages that used to be a part of our daily cuisine. They are not just refreshing but also therapeutic. Keep away from commercial, synthetic drinks.

 

Beat The Heat With Falsa (Phalsa) Sharbat


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.

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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.

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Ingredients:

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

Method : 

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 . 

Related post :

Traditional Indigenous Indian coolants