June 2003 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
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Volume 2, Number 6

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

Yummy and Exotic Summer Concoctions

compiled by Sucheta Shetty with Maria Barron
 

An all-American milkshake of blended ice cream and milk may be a sweet summer treat. But for the ultimate in delicious, refreshing dairy drinks, look to the experts in India, where most of the country is tropical, and where summer comes several weeks before this month’s solstice. Combining either cream or curd (plain yogurt) with fruit, nuts, rose petals and Indian spices, the frothy milkshakes of India are fresh and nutritious drinks to enjoy in the season’s heat. For those not fond of dairy, try the Jaljeera, Rose-Flavoured Nimbu Pani, Kokum Sarbat and Panha for exotic twists on fruit juice.

Sweet Lassi

Lassi is traditionally a churned concoction, so it’s smooth and thick and served cold, made in earthen pots that keep the contents cool. You can make Lassi with a mixer or blender set for whipping.

    2 cups curd (plain, unsweetened yogurt)
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    ½ cup water
    ½ cup crushed ice

Put all ingredients into the jar. Using special whipper switch, run mixer at speed 1 for 40 to 50 seconds. Curd from richer milk needs less time to form a good, thick froth. Serve in chilled glasses.

Salty Lassi

This Salty Lassi is spiced with cumin and is a great refreshing drink in the summer.

    1 tsp. cumin seeds
    1 cup plain yogurt
    1 cup chilled milk
    2 tsp. lemon juice
    ½ to 1 tsp. salt
    ½ cup ice cubes
    A dollop of plain yogurt for garnishing

Dry roast the cumin seeds (on medium-high heat in a shallow frying pan without any oil) for a few minutes, until you start getting a wonderful aroma. Don’t overdo the dry roasting or the cumin will be bitter. Cool and grind to a coarse consistency. In a blender blend all the ingredients. Top it off with a dollop of yogurt. Serve chilled. Makes 4 servings.

Mango Lassi

    3 pounds ripe mangoes, peeled
    1 cup plain yogurt
    ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
    2 cups ice cubes

Cut the flesh away from each mango pit, transfer to a blender. Blend until pureed; mixture should yield about 3½ cups. Add yogurt and lime juice to the processor, and process until combined. Working in batches if necessary, add 2 cups ice; blend until combined. Serve cold. Makes 8 servings.

Pineapple Lassi

    1 cup ripe, fresh pineapple (peeled and diced)
    ½ cup plain yogurt
    ½ cup water or coconut milk
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in the jug of an electric blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately.

Thandai

A cold drink prepared for celebrations of Holi.

    1.75 oz. (¼ cup) almonds, blanched
    1.75 oz. (¼ cup) pistachios, blanched
    1.75 oz. (¼ cup) poppy seeds - soak in water for 1 hour
    1.75 oz. (¼ cup) cashews, blanched
    1.75 oz. (¼ cup) melon seeds, blanched
    ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
    8-10 black pepper corns
    20-25 rose petals
    6 ¹/3 cups milk
    1¾ cup sugar
    ¹/8 tsp. whole saffron
    8-10 green cardamoms

Heat sugar and milk. Add saffron when sugar dissolves in milk. Turn off the flame. Combine almonds, pistachios, soaked poppy seeds, cashews, melon seeds, rose petals and a little milk to make a paste. Combine cinnamon, cardamom and pepper and grind to a powder. Add this powder to the paste. Mix the paste with a little milk, then add it all to the remaining milk. Serve cold.

Falooda

    1 quart boiled milk
    Prepared falooda (corn flour vermicelli)
    4 Tbsp. falooda seeds, also called sabja seeds (from an Indian spice store)
    4 oz. (²/3 cup) blanched chopped almonds and pistachios
    1 cup heavy cream or ice cream
    Rose syrup

Soak the sabja seeds in a little water and set aside for an hour. To prepare the falooda, dissolve 4 oz. corn flour (²/3 cup) in ½ cup water. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly for 15 minutes. The mixture will turn thick and bluish in colour and then turn thinner and translucent. Remove from the heat. Have a basin of ice-cold water ready. Put the corn flour paste into a vermicelli machine or sevanazhi and turn out the long threads over the basin of cold water. Repeat till all the paste has been used up. The falooda will set into soft vermicelli strings. Leave in ice-cold water till required

To prepare 6 glasses of falooda, pour a large tot of rose syrup in the bottom of each large glass, add a helping of falooda and 2 tsp. sabja seeds. Add a cupful of slightly sweetened and crushed ice. Top with milk and cream/ice cream. Use ice cream instead of cream when preparing falooda for children.

Note: Instead of a vermicelli machine, you can use a plain sieve to make the vermicelli. Just strain the corn flour mixture through the sieve into a bowl of ice cold water. Add ice cubes to keep the water cold till you are ready to use the vermicelli.

Jaljeera

Yummmmmmm. A slightly spicy, cool drink to beat the heat.

    2 Tbsp. cumin seeds (dry-roasted lightly and powdered)
    1 Tbsp. amchur powder (dry mango powder, available in an Indian spice store)
    2 Tbsp. mint leaves paste
    ½ tsp. black salt
    2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    Salt to taste

Dry roast the cumin seeds (on medium-high heat in a shallow frying pan without any oil) for a few minutes, until you can smell the spice. Don’t overcook it or the cumin will be bitter. Cool and grind to a powder. Take mint paste, amchur powder, black salt, white salt, lemon juice and mix well. Add cumin seed powder. Add cold water. Garnish with chopped fresh mint leaves. Makes 4 servings.

Rose-Flavoured Nimbu Pani (Lemonade)

    3 lemons
    1½ Tbsp. sugar
    3 tsp. rosewater

Squeeze the juice out of the lemons and add the sugar to the juice. Stir till the sugar is completely dissolved. Add four glasses of iced water and the rosewater. Pour into serving glasses and serve with crushed ice.

Kokum Sarbat

    4 cups ripe red kokum or amsool
    (a fruit of India like a big plum)
    5 cups sugar
    ¼ tsp. black salt
    ¼ tsp. fresh roasted cumin powder
    1 tsp. salt

A kokum or amsool is a purple fruit with sour juice native to India, sometimes available as dried fruit that can be infused with water. If you can get some in their natural state, start by washing and cleaning the kokums. Mix the halved kokums and sugar in a dry bowl. Place this mixture in a dry glass jar. Let this sit in the sun for 15 days. A red syrup should form. Drain out the kokum-sugar syrup to use. Add the cumin powder, black salt and white salt, and stir well. Adjust sugar if needed. To make Kokum Sarbat: In a glass pour ¼ cup of kokum concentrate. Top it up with ice-cold water. Mix well. Serve chilled.

Panha

Raw mango juice with some sugar and spice.

    1 raw mango
    1½ cups sugar
    ¼ tsp. saffron strands
    ½ tsp. cardamom powder

Peel the mango and throw away the green skin. Chop mango into 1-inch chunks. In a pan, place the mango, sugar and ½ cup of water. Boil till the mango is soft. Cool. Blend in a blender until smooth. Sieve this mixture. Add the cardamom and saffron and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Remove from heat, cool. Check if the mixture is sour enough for you. If not, add a little lemon juice according to your taste. This is a concentrated form of the drink, which may be stored in the freezer for more than a month. To serve the panha, add 1 Tbsp. of the concentrate to a glass of chilled water and mix well.

Indian grocery stores in the United States

Check this link for Indian grocery stores in many U.S. cities:
http://www.cuisinecuisine.com/IndianGroceryStoresinUS.htm