It’s my privilege to have inherited some of my grandma’s age-old recipes. The recipes are completely original and quintessentially Indian. I love the way she used to experiment with the ingredients. In her endeavor to provide us with newer refreshments, she created some fantastic thirst-quenchers. As children, they used to appeal to us with the interesting colors, textures and the taste, of course.
GREEN MANGO JUICE (transparent green)
Burn or bake green mangoes with the skin on. When the skin is burnt black on the outside, peel off the skin to extract the pulp. The pulp will get tender and will be beautifully oozing the fresh mango aroma by then. Mix the extract with sugar, salt and pepper and make a fine mixture. Add cold water and dilute it. Serve with lot of ice cubes. You can avoid sugar altogether and prepare a tangy juice.
MANGO MILK SHAKE (yellowish orange)
Extract the pulp of ripe yellow mangoes. Add sugar, milk and a little pinch of saffron and you are done with a wonderful mango milk shake. The magic of this drink can be felt when you are sulking.
ROSE MILK SHAKE (pink)
Crumble dry rose petals (or rose essence and color) and sugar to milk. Serve chilled with crushed ice. This is a wonderful party drink.
MILK SHAKE WITH ASSORTED DRY FRUITS (creamish green)
Grind hand picked almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sugar in a grinder. Add the mix to boiled milk and add a few saffron strands. Serve chilled and enjoy.
LENTIL SOUP & APPETIZER (yellow)
Boil lentils with ginger juliennes, tomatoes, chopped green chilies, chopped onions till cooked well. Dilute the soup with considerable amount of water. Strain the broth and add spices (cardamom, pepper, roasted cumin power, red chili flakes). Serve hot with parsley twigs and a dash of fresh lime juice.
YOGURT LASSI (white)
Whip yogurt, sugar, salt, pepper and fresh lime juice. Add water and serve chilled with ice cubes. Sugar is again optional here. Diabetic people can skip it altogether.
WATERMELON TEA (watermelonish)
Extract the watermelon pulp and run into the blender. Strain the pulp and gather the juice. Mix watermelon juice, black tea, fresh lemon juice (optional: Lemon Iced Tea Mix) in a pitcher. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
PINA COLADA (creamish white)
We get a lot of tender green coconuts here which could be fun and filling to eat. Store the tender coconut water and mix it with pineapple juice and some vanilla essence and sugar (optional). Serve with crushed ice.
The fact that you can always experiment and innovate makes the refreshments all the more interesting. And, for me these are not just recipes but fond memories of the cherished moments I spent with my grandma.