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Beat the Heat – A few coolers to make your days cooler!

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Hot, hot, hot - the only feeling we all have during this sweltering summer! As we reach the end of the season, it is essential to continue to hydrate ourselves – of course, water can get boring at some point. It’s always a good idea to have some refreshing summer coolers on hand for a twist in taste! Whether a quick get-together, a full-fledged cookout or just you sitting in your home – here are a few fruity summer beverages to quench your thirst this summer!

Aam Panna
There is so much we can do with mangoes! But did you know? A raw mango (apart from the perfectly salted and chilly-ed Kairis) can also make for a perfect base for a beat-the-heat cooler! Here’s how:

All you need is:

  • 500 grams of raw mango
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of black salt or chaat masala
  • 2 teaspoons of jeera powder
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves (chop these up for a better flavour and ease of consuming)
  • 4 cups of water

Method:

  • Rinse the mangoes nicely in water. Peel the skin of the mangoes.
  • Pressure cook the mangoes over medium heat for 2 – 3 whistle along with water. Let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker. You can do the same in an instant pot as well. Cook mangoes in pressure cook mode for 5 – 6 minutes.
  • Open the lid and transfer the boiled mango pulp along with water in a bowl. Squeeze the mangoes to collect the pulp. Remove the stone, if any, in the mangoes. Allow the mango pulp to cool.
  • Blend together the mango pulp, sugar, salt, spices, and mint until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar and spices accordingly.
  • You can store the aam panna concentrate in the fridge in a clean bottle for a month.
  • To serve, add 1/4 cup aam panna concentrate in each glass. Add ice-cubes and fill the glass with chilled water. Stir to combine nicely.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve aam panna chilled. 

Jaljeera
A popular thirst quencher in India – Jaljeera is made from fresh coriander, mint, and cumin powder. A tangy boost to your mornings or a lazy afternoon! Here’s how:

All you need is:

  • 4 teaspoons of Dry Mint Powder
  • 4 teaspoons of Roasted Cumin Powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons of citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of hing powder
  • 2 teaspoons of black salt
  • 2 teaspoons of normal salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of dry mango powder

Method:
Mix all the ingredients well in a blender (until it makes a smooth paste) and store in a clean glass container. To make Jaljeera, mix 1 tsp of the paste in one glass of chilled water. Add some ice cubes and lemon juice and serve immediately.
Note – This mixture does not sustain a long period – it is advisable to make the jaljeera and refrigerating for 3-4 hours before serving it.

Buttermilk
Whether it is in the north or the south of our country, buttermilk is a staple requirement for all our afternoon thirst-needs! With yoghurt, water and some spices – this is a quick fix with digestive properties, ready to refresh your days! Here’s how:

All you need is:

  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2-inch ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black salt also known as kala namak
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chat masala
  • Cilantro or mint for garnish

Method:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender.
  • Blend till combined.
  • Pour into serving glasses, garnish with fresh cilantro or mint and serve.

Watermelon Mint Cooler
Easy, delicious, refreshing and the perfect fix for a hot afternoon. Make this in the evening as a pre-dinner refresher too! Here’s how:

All you need is:

  • 2 cups watermelon cubes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • ¼ tsp black salt/ salt
  • 6-7 Ice cubes
  • Soda/sprite ( if you want to make watermelon spritzer)
  • Mint leaves and a lemon wedge for garnish

Method:
Blend the watermelon pieces with mint leaves and sugar in a blender or food processor. Strain if necessary although I skip this. Add lemon juice and black salt. Serve chilled with ice. Garnish with mint or lime wedges.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Bored with the usual coffee? Make a south-east Asian variant – luscious on your taste buds! Here’s how:

All you need is:

  • 3/4th cup freshly brewed espresso
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice cubes

How to:

  • Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the freshly brewed coffee in the glass.
  • Pour 2 tbsp condensed milk on top and mix gently.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes:
Increase the amount of condensed milk if you like your coffee lighter.

For Hot:
You can also drink this coffee hot. Mix brewed coffee and condensed milk in a mug. Then let the mug sit in a warm water bath until the coffee is hot.

Cucumber Refresher

The phrase cool as a cucumber is the perfect way to describe ourselves during this summer phase. Here’s how to actually make a refreshing cooler out of this simple salad ingredient:

All you need is:

  • 1 cucumber peeled and cut in small cubes to make about 2 cups
  • 8 mint leaves, about
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 tbsp lime juice adjust to taste
  • 3 tbsp sugar adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • ice cubes to serve

Method:

  • In a blender, puree the cucumber, mint, salt, pepper and sugar. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Use the spoon to press the solids to take out all the juice. There will be about 1-1/4 cups of cucumber juice.
  • Add the lime juice and water mix it well.
  • Fill the glasses with ice cubes and pour the cucumber drink. Cucumber cooler is ready to be served. Enjoy!

 

So, get started today, and nourish your days with these refreshing beverages – I will be happy to see your recipes and variations too! But we must remember, owing to the current scenario with COVID-19, too much of anything is rarely a good thing – so avoid consumption of too much ice which can cause common cold or sore throat!

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