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Raise a glass to summer: Cooling beverages that keep the gut happy (part I)

And how to make them easily at home

Written by Manjari Chandra | New Delhi |
May 1, 2022 5:09:53 pm
summer, summer drinks, healthy drinks for summer, cooling beverages, recipes for summer drinks, cooling recipes, health, hydration, parenting, indian express newsTraditionally, Indians have been preparing hydrating drinks and sherbets for ages. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Water provides everything the body needs to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste. Its the perfect beverage for quenching thirst and rehydrating your system. When it comes from the tap, it costs a fraction of a penny per glass. Water should be the beverage you turn to most of the time. 

As the temperatures soar, we not only lose water but also electrolytes from our body during summers. It is a good idea to include a few cooling beverages besides water to rehydrate and replenish your body. 

Traditionally, Indians have been preparing hydrating drinks and sherbets for ages. With all the scientific research iterating towards the importance of promoting gut health, it is time that we reintroduce home-made beverages and fermented foods back to our palates. Lets explore these cooling and gut healthy beverages one by one and see how we can prepare them at home:

Kaanji

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Kanji is a fermented, probiotic drink that’s friendly for your gut. It’s also refreshing, nutritive and tangy.

 Ingredients: 

  • 2-3 Red/Black carrots, 
  • 1 large beetroot,
  • Mustard seeds powder (1–3 tsp)
  • Water (6-7 cups)

 Recipe:

  • Wash and cut the beetroot and carrots into 2 inch long and about 1/2 inch thick pieces. It is preferred if you keep the outermost layer of the carrot intact as it has natural yeast living there 
  • Put the sliced vegetables in a jar and add mustard powder and salt to it
  • Add water and cover the jar with muslin cloth tied to it 
  • Keep the jar outside in sunlight for 4-5 days to let fermentation complete, stirring with a wooden spoon daily 
  • The Kanji will develop a tangy flavour once it is fermented Strain the drink and keep it in a refrigerator to enjoy later Meanwhile eat the pickle of fermented carrot and beet

Buttermilk (Chaas) 

A refreshment drink made from mixing curd or yogurt with cold water

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of yogurt or plain curd (homemade)
  • Water (2 glasses)
  • A slice of ginger
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves (1 tsp)
  • Cumin powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Black salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Table salt (to taste)
  • Mint leaves (for garnishing) 

Recipe:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend till the ingredients are combined properly
  • Pour the mixture in the glasses, garnish it with fresh mint and serve

Ginger Ale

It is a refreshing anti-inflammatory drink, serving as an elixir for the gut microbiome. 

Ingredients:

  • Ginger (1 inch piece)
  • Jaggery ( ¾ cup)
  • Lemons – 2
  • Mint leaves – few
  • Black salt to taste
  • Roasted cumin powder

Recipe:

  • Grate ginger finely amounting to 2-3 tsp and put it in the pan 
  • Add ¾ cup of jaggery and pour 1 cup of water in the pan 
  • Heat the mixture on medium-high flame for 4-5 minutes till the sugar dissolves and ginger extract begins to blend in the water
  • Switch off the flame, cover the pan, and let it rest for one hour 
  • Filter out the ginger residues using a sieve and collect the ginger syrup in a small container
  • Keep the container refrigerated and use small amounts of syrup whenever you have to drink the ale
  • Now, for making the ale, use 4-5 tsp of ginger syrup and add to it 300 ml of cold soda or carbonated water. Sprinkle half a lemon to it and add some ice cubes to impart further chilling effects to the drink
  • Garnish the drink by tossing in a couple of fresh mint leaves

Watermelon Cooler

Ingredients:

  • Chopped seedless watermelon (about 3 1/4 pounds) — 8 cups 
  • Fresh lime juice (about 6 limes/ 1 cup)
  • Sugar- ½ cup
  • Water-½ cup
  • Dash of black salt

Recipe

  • Place half the watermelon in a blender, blend until smooth 
  • Strain watermelon through a sieve into a pitcher, discard solids
  • Repeat procedure with the remaining watermelon
  • Stir in lime juice, sugar, 1/2 cup water, and dash of black salt 
  • Serve over ice

Next fortnight, stay tuned for some more such healthy, easy-to-make drinks.

Manjari Chandra is a consultant, functional nutrition and nutritional medicine, Manjari Wellness, New Delhi. Her column appears every fortnight

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