Tamarind Molasses | Tamarind Syrup

Very occasionally I come across some fresh tamarind in our local Asian shops. Sometimes it is ripe, sweet ripe tamarind, dark and luscious to eat. But more often it is green, unripe tamarind. The green tamarind has the most intense sour taste that you can imagine. It is eaten as a snack in India with salt and chilli – a hard but padded surface next to you is essential, to bang your fist on when the tartness fully hits you 🤣.

I love to capture that tartness, or the essence of it, by making a Tamarind Molasses (aka Tamarind Syrup). While I make this most of all with the green Tamarind pods, the recipe can also be used for ripe pods.

If you wanted to you can even make this from a block of dried Tamarind or some Tamarind Concentrate. See the recipe notes. It won’t be AS good as using pods, but will still be amazing.

Similar Recipes include Pomegranate Molasses and Quince Molasses.

Browse all of our Tamarind dishes. Or browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Nimbu Sherbet | Indian Lemonade or Limeade

Traditionally India has not had a strong culture of alcoholic drinks, except for a few pockets where naturally fermenting products meant some developed a taste for it (and a reputation, no doubt).

Consequently India has such a rich variety of non-alcoholic drinks, a seemingly infinite variety of all types of drinks – hot, cold, juices, milk based, fruit based, yoghurt based, infusions, coffees, chais, with seeds, without seeds, … It is fascinating to those of us who grew up in countries where choices are limited to water, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Perhaps some soft drink and orange juice. Maybe apple juice. But not much beyond that.

Additionally, the weather is hot in India, rivalling our own temperatures of 40C – 45C in Summer, with the additional humidity in India. Right before the monsoon is when the heat is the most unbearable–daily extreme temperatures and 100% humidity. There is no choice but to adapt, and until more recently, electricity was not available everywhere for aircon. So shady houses and verandahs can be common, people stay out of the heat in the mid day, roof tops are used at night for cooler breezes, and refreshing drinks are made in the afternoons.

Also, many drinks contain salt. It makes the drinks very tasty, but there is also a health reason for this – in heat we lose salt from our bodies through our perspiration. So rehydrating drinks in the afternoon provide water, salt and also sugar for energy in the heat. How sensible!

Already we have posted (and made) a range of Indian drinks, especially Lassi (great for Summer mornings!) and Chai (excellent afternoon and evening cold weather cuppas), and a few cold drinks (Summer sipping). Today is definitely a hot weather drink – Nimbu Sherbet, Indian Lemonade (or Limeade).

Similar recipes include Panakam, Jal Jeera, Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, and Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Iced Tea.

Browse all of our Indian Drinks, and all of our Coolers. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Tamarind Summer Cooler

Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.

The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.

It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Molasses, the Ultimate Pineapple Juice and Coconut Cooler, Ginger Cooler, Pandan Cooler, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Summery Watermelon-Lime-Ginger Soda with Spices

Such a Summery drink, gorgeous for sunny days, eating snacks. laughing and giggling while you sit on the lawn under the shade of a large tree or umbrella. Tangy and gingery, it is also cooling and will lift the spirits of anyone.

We even made this in Autumn, with the last of the watermelons for the season, and the weather is sunny and lovely. A last hurrah to Summer and watermelon.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Summer Cooler, Kewra Sherbet, Rose Lassi, and Roasted Green Mango Drink.

Browse all of our Indian drinks and all of our Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Kewra Sherbet | Pandan Cooler

Sherbet in the US has come to mean a sorbet-like iced dish but the origins are from sharbah meaning a drink. Sherbet or Sharbat is a drink made from fruits, flower petals and/or herbs with sugar and lime and diluted with water, milk, coconut milk or evaporated milk. It is generally served over ice. Turkey, India, Afghanistan and other countries in the region all have their versions of sherbet. They are delicious summer coolers.

Kewra, an essence made from the flower of the Pandanus plant (also called Screwpine) has an unusual but pleasant taste. It is used to flavour rice, drinks, and desserts in Northern India and South East Asia. The floral fragrance gives a calming influence and is said to help in mental relaxation. Kewra also combines well with other flower waters such as rose water and orange blossom water, and they can be combined in any recipe that uses one or the other.

You can read more about Kewra and Pandanus here.

Today we flavour a Summer Cooler with Kewra. Such drinks are common in North India, combining the base flavour with water and lemon juice. We use the Kewra Water, but you can use also use Kewra essence. Just add a 1 or 2 drops per glass.

Similar recipes for cooling drinks include Nimbu Sherbet, Tamarind Summer Cooler, Iced Tulsi Tea, Watermelon, Lime, Ginger Soda, Strawberry Frappe, Roasted Green Mango Drink, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Kewra Sherbet | Pandan Cooler”