• Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TANGY & HEALTHY

Seasonal fruit drink

By Asma Aziz

Cool drinks made with fresh summer fruits are an ideal way to beat the heat we are facing. Seasonal fruits also have a variety of health benefits, and some of these drinks can be made ahead of time and frozen for convenience. I am sharing some of my favourite preparations.
Traditional 'bel' (wood apple) sharbat
Health benefits

Bel (wood apple) is said to have many medicinal properties. It is often recommended as a laxative, to improve digestion, and as a remedy to cleanse the digestive system. It is also commonly said to be very good for anyone suffering from diabetes, kidney problems, and a number of other ailments.
Bel should be consumed in moderation though, because excessive consumption can cause discomfort in the stomach.
Preparing bel puree
To puree bel, begin by cracking the skin open and scooping out the pulp. Fill a large bowl with water (1 cup of water for 1 cup of pulp), place the pulp in it, cover, and put aside for half an hour. Mash the softened pulp by hand so that the seeds and fibres get separated. Pass this through a large strainer, rubbing down continuously until the seeds and fibres are removed from the liquid.
 

Storing bel puree
An uncracked bel can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also freeze the puree, either in an ice tray or in Ziploc bags. If using Ziploc bags, freeze puree in larger plastic containers, then chop up the large frozen blocks with a hard knife on a cutting board before placing in the Ziploc bags.
Ingredients:
2 cups bel puree    
1 to 1 ½ cups water        
Sugar according to taste
Method:
Dissolve the sugar in 1 cup of water. Mix in the bel puree, adding more water if needed to reach the ideal (slightly thick) consistency. Serve chilled.
Bel sharbat with milk/yoghurt
Ingredients:
2 cups bel puree        
1 cups water            
½ cup milk or yoghurt (beaten)    
Sugar according to taste
Method:
Dissolve the sugar in the water. Mix in the bel puree. Mix in the milk or beaten yogurt, adjusting quantity till it reaches the ideal (slightly thick) consistency. Serve chilled.
Savoury bel sharbat
Ingredients:
2 cups bel puree
1 to 1 ½ cups water            
A pinch of black salt (beet lobon)    
Method:

Mix together the bel puree and water, adjusting quantities till it reaches the ideal (slightly thick) consistency. Mix in the black salt. Serve chilled.
Green mango sharbat
Ingredients:
1 cup green mango (finely chopped)        
2 tbsp mint leaves (chopped)            
2 green chilli (chopped)            
1½ cups water                    
¼ tsp black salt (beet lobon)
¼ tsp cumin powder (dry roasted)        
4 tsp sugar                    
Method:
Put chopped mango, mint leaves, green chilli and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer. Add sugar, black salt and roasted cumin powder. You can adjust the amount of sugar and spices according to your taste.
Serve chilled or with ice, garnished with a little of the roasted cumin powder.
Charred mango sharbat
Ingredients:
2 green mango            
3 tsp sugar                
2 cups water                
¼ tsp black salt (beet lobon)        
¼ tsp cumin powder (dry roasted)                    
Method:
Wash the green mangoes and pat dry. Take a fork and poke it a few times. Char the mangoes on a griddle (tawa) or directly over a flame, till cooked through. Let it cool. Peel the skin and take out all the pulp.
Blend the pulp, sugar and water for about a minute. Add black salt and roasted cumin powder. You can adjust the amount of sugar and spices according to your taste. Blend again for about a minute.
Serve chilled or with ice, garnished with a little of the roasted cumin powder.
Watermelon sharbat
Ingredients:
2 to 3 cups watermelon (seeds removed, chopped)    
4 or 5 mint leaves                 
Black salt (beet lobon) to taste
Lemon juice (optional) few drops
Method:
Blend together the watermelon and mint leaves. Pass through a fine strainer (the unstrained pulp can be used in other preparation such as salads). Add the black salt (and lemon juice if desired) and stir well. Serve chilled.
Cucumber limeade
Ingredients:
½ kg English cucumber    
1½ cup water            
¼ cup sugar            
Lime juice (from one lime)
¼  tsp salt            
1 cup ice cubes    
Method:
Peel and remove seeds from the cucumber, then chop coarsely. Blend the chopped cucumber with water, sugar, lime juice, salt, and ice cubes, until smooth. Serve over ice, garnished with thin cucumber slices.

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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