What a powerhouse herb Tulsi is, everyone should have a plant or at least dried leaves in their pantry. We have a few recipes featuring it, and today, another one. An iced tea for the hottest of weathers. We have 40C days in Summer, sometimes hotter, so our minds will be on cooling drinks for afternoons under the grapevines.
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.
Hot days means lassi to me, the Indian thick yoghurt drink that is incredibly cooling. Served in long glasses and sipped in the late afternoons with a snack or a biscuit or three, it makes one feel on top of things, no matter how busy you are.
This lassi is a simple recipe and is flavoured with rosewater. It is blended with ice cubes to make it sufficiently cold for immediate serving. Garnish with rose buds if you have them (they can be bought in Afghan or Middle Eastern shops), or a sprig of mint.
India knows how to deal with heat. They have it nailed. Their heat-beating weaponry includes: An infinite number of cooling drinks. Yoghurt dishes galore. Icecreams and cooling desserts. Fruits such as watermelon, musk melon, cucumbers, mangoes, coconuts, limes, fresh kokum. Sugar Cane Juice. Limca. Sweet Lime Soda. Coconut Water.
I saw a recipe for a Punjabi drink made from a roasted green mango and I was hooked. It is Mango Season here and we have an array of different types of sweet, sour, and sweet-sour mangoes. They are all easy to find in our Asian and S.E. Asian shops. This drink is slightly sour and slightly sweet, with a hint of cardamom (or cumin), Indian black salt (which is pink in colour) and black pepper. We make it from roasted green mango, but it can be made from boiled or steamed green mango. The taste is different, though. Roasting gives the drink a slightly smoky flavour.
You can get black salt from any Indian grocery. There isn’t any real substitute, but use sea salt or chaat masala if you can’t find black salt. Adjust the quantities accordingly.
Use any left over roasted mango (or roast 2 of them) to make Mango Rice.
Ginger is so very healthy for you, it is a commonly known fact. You can add ginger to your herbal teas and chai’s, your soups, smoothies, yoghurt drinks, salads, salsas, and so much more. Here we use it as a main ingredient in a cooling Summer Drink – an iced herbal infusion/tea.
We have other Summer coolers that you will enjoy. Watermelon Juice with Mint and Ginger, and Roasted Green Mango Drink. Also try Tulsi Khara, Mint and Lemon Verbena Iced Tea, and Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea. Take the teas, make as normal, cool and serve over ice.
Man, it is hot, and that sound is the sound of records breaking. As I write it is mind numbingly “warm”. Although it is such a slow start to Summer, these first days of heat are some of the hottest recorded. And people say climate change is not real.
So the rhythms of the kitchen change, and first thing in the morning we decide what to pop into the fridge for late-afternoon-on-the-deck cool sipping. There are quite a few recipes around for Apple Green Tea iced drink, and I tissied them up a bit, to suit our tastes and the items on my kitchen bench this morning. I do hope you enjoy it!
You might also like to try Ginger Cooler, Watermelon Juice with Mint and Ginger, Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea (which can be iced) and a Strawberry Frappe. Try Rose Strawberries with Sweetened Yoghurt Cream.
Browse our Juice Collections:
Have a look at our Summer Cooler Suggestions – or browse all of our coolers here. Are you looking for Tea recipes? Try here. Or Juice suggestions? Look here. Or simply explore our Early Summer recipes here.
A Herbal Tea, great any time.
A beautiful refreshing tea, excellent in Spring and Summer, and especially nice in Autumn. Minty, health giving, and relaxing. If you don’t have fresh Tulsi, tea bags are easily bought and some places have dried Tulsi leaves. The other day I saw dried Tulsi leaves at my Indian Grocer’s. Or failing that, using Basil will give you a lovely, relaxing tea.
How hot can Summer days get! Even the days before Summer officially begins can have a real bite. On those days you can reach for the coolness of white wine, of course, and in this house we make a range of lassi drinks, fruit juices and iced cordials.
One thing we love is to reach for the Zucchinis and make a healthy and refreshing juice, guaranteed to combat the heat without putting a wobble in your step.
Who knew that zucchini juice is so good? I discovered it one recent summer when my neighbour kept gifting me huge zucchinis from their organic farm. There are only so many zucchinis a girl can eat! They don’t really dehydrate well, and I had made enough zucchini pickles and preserves to last all winter. So I decided to try juicing them. It was a revelation.
I am here to tell you that zucchini juice is amazing! On its own or mixed with other fruits and vegetables, it is pure refreshment in a glass on a hot morning, afternoon or evening.
Browse our Juice Collections:
A refreshing tea with enormous health benefits.
Turmeric is a very special spice with amazing medicinal properties, and is one that can be added to all sorts of dishes. Here we add it to Ginger and Mandarin to make an exciting tea for relaxing afternoons.
In order to increase turmeric absorption in the body, we add a little bit of fat to the tea, such as a a little of ghee or coconut oil. Alternatively, a little black pepper can be added as it contains piperine which aids the absorption of turmeric’s curcumin.
Be mindful when handling the turmeric as it stains easily – clothes, cutting boards, kitchen tops, fingers.
Relax with a beautiful, health giving, herbal Chai
In many parts of India, tea is a daily preoccupation. But whereas in the West, tea is consumed as-is, with only perhaps some milk and sugar, it is common in India to brew it strongly with a range of spices and herbs. It is always served sweet and very milky.
Masala Chai and Cutting Chai are well known tea drinks, but every Indian family will have their own range of herbs and spices that they include. It is very common to use ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, perhaps mint and Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil). I have heard of curry leaves being added. Lemongrass, vanilla, black pepper, fennel, nutmeg, tej pata (Indian Bay Leaves), ashwagandha leaf, pepper, galangal are other possible additions.
Today’s Chai is Tulsi and Mint with Cinnamon Chai. It was such beautiful winter weather this morning, I drank chai in the garden.
You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes here, and our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here. Explore our Indian Recipes and our Indian Essentials. You might also enjoy our Late Summer recipes.