Time travel with a sip
Gulab aunty revisits summer thirst quenchers we grew up with
Gulab Bhandari, fondly called ‘Gulab aunty’, had no idea how to cook until she met her mother-in-law. “The first item I learnt to make was khakras, which she taught me,” the 66-year-old smiles as she recalls the memory. Back then, she would have probably laughed if you had told her that she would have a retail snack outfit in her name (since ’99) — selling yes, khakras among a range of other favourites like pickles and sharbats for a quick cool-off in the midst of a hot summer day.
With some recipes over a hundred years old, we call on some Gulab aunty’s ancestral wisdom to see us through the dog days ahead. And she does not disappoint, whipping out pointers like ginger can treat nausea and reduce muscle pain and soreness and advising us sternly to always keep the following in our kitchen: pudina, saunf, lemon, mishri and methi. If Hindi is not your cup of tea, that translates to mint leaves, aniseed, lemon, sugar and fenugreek. “Crush methi seeds in a mixie and store them in a jar. Take a teaspoon daily and consume it with a glass of buttermilk. It will be beneficial,” she offers, for those looking at multitasking with cooling and digestive ease at the same time.
So if you know you’re going to return home and guzzle that aerated salvation in your fridge like a sailor on whiskey, perhaps give some of these homemade refreshers a shot. From the size of each recipe, you can be assured that the preparation time won’t be long.
Nimbu Pudina Pani
Take a lemon, squeeze out the juice, add some black salt, little sugar, mix it all in drinking water. Take some chopped pudina leaves and sprinkle it over the water and have it chilled or with crushed ice.
Tip: Pudina leaves should not be crushed, or they will become bitter. Just chop and sprinkle.
Boil kairi (raw mangoes), crush in mixie (with water). Add few strands of kesar (saffron), kala namak (black pepper), elaichi (cardamom), sugar. Blend.
Tip: A little bit of chaat masala with this drink, gives it a happy kick.
2 tbsp Lemon Ginger syrup. Prepare tea decoction and cool it. Add it to lemon ginger with a little jeera powder, salt to taste and fresh cut mint leaves. Serve chilled.
Tip: Syrups with natural ingredients are fun infusion tools.