As I look back, summer is typically the time when I fill the pages of the blog with drinks and beverages that aren’t spiked with crazy amounts of sugar. There was pomegranate soda that had no added sugar, while cucumber cooler and peach Agua Fresca have subtle amounts, just to keep you refreshed. I usually don’t crave salty drinks, but my parents and ‘A’ have been nudging me to make ‘chaas’, with a twist. For my mom, who grew up in Amritsar, summer was synonymous with ‘chaas’ that accompanied lunch and was made afresh, every day by their cook. Life in Mumbai, is bereft of such luxuries of extravagant menus for every meal, but we make the best of what we’ve got, right?
The idea to add beetroot was my dad’s, who has been eating beetroot regularly since his bout of ill-health last year. While it is absolutely lovely, and makes this chaas ‘pop’ with colour and flavour, if you are someone who can’t stand them for some reason, you can skip them! But don’t skip the tempering or ‘tadka’ that I’ve added to this ‘chaas’, it adds the final punch of flavours!
We start with boiling a beetroot until it is tender and a knife pierces through it easily. Drain the water and let beetroot cool. Right, while that’s happening we’re going to whisk the yogurt and water together. This will give us the ‘buttermilk’ we need for this salty ‘lassi’ or ‘chaas’. Tempering, or adding the ‘tadka’ is my favourite bit of this recipe. I love that curry leaves, chillies, ginger and mustard seeds have the power to transform the flavour of this chaas!
Just stir in the tempered spices and add salt… you’re nearly ready to gulp this down, just wait to chill it in the refrigerator first!
1 ½ cups / 365g- Yogurt
3 cups- Water
½ tbsp- Oil
1 tsp- Mustard seeds
15- Curry leaves
2 to 3- Green chillies, chopped
1 tsp- Finely chopped ginger
Salt to taste
* Boil the beetroot until it’s tender and can easily be pierced with a knife. Drain the water and let the beetroot cool.
* In a large bowl or jug, whisk together the yogurt and water.
* Peel the cooled beetroot and roughly chop into 8 pieces. Add it to the jar of a blender and a tablespoon of water and puree it until it is smooth. Whisk it into the ‘chaas’.
* In a small pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves, chopped green chillies and ginger. Heat only for about 30 seconds or so, until the spices become aromatic. Take it off the heat and stir into the beetroot chaas. Add salt to taste, and serve chilled. Stir before serving.