Baishakh has arrived and along with it, it brings the kaal baishakhi jhor, the panta bhaat fever and also fruits whose juices are downright mouth-watering in this sweltering heat.
Here are a few drinks that will definitely cool you in this heat.
Lassi (sweet, salted or flavoured)
One of the most consumed and loved drinks in Bangladesh, on a hot day, a glass of sweet lassi with some ice can make all troubles go away.
1 cup yoghurt
½ cup water
½ cup ice cubes
3-5 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt
A dollop of plain yoghurt for garnishing (optional)
Blend all the ingredients at high speed till frothy. Add the dollop of plain yoghurt. It's ready to be served.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup of plain yoghurt
1 cup chilled milk
2 tsp lemon juice
½-1 tsp salt
½ cup ice cubes
A dollop of plain yoghurt for garnishing
Blend till frothy and add the dollop of plain yoghurt. Spicy, salted lassi is ready. The most usual flavours for lassi are mango and orange.
The most tempting thing about going to a wedding is the food, kachchi biryani. But honestly, what would kachchi biryani be without a glassful of borhani next to it?
½ kg plain yoghurt (white and sour)
½ tsp mint leaf (pudina leaf) paste
½ tsp coriander leaf (dhania leaf) paste
½ tsp green chilli paste
¾ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¾ tsp white mustard seed powder
½ tsp black pepper powder
¾ tsp white pepper powder
3 tsp sugar
½ tsp 'chat' salt (not normal white salt, it's called beet lobon)
½ tsp normal salt to taste
If the yoghurt is very thick, then add 1 glass, if not then ½ glass of water and beat until it becomes smooth. Strain the mint leaf paste, chilli paste, coriander paste together with some water (3 teaspoons) and add in yoghurt. Add the rest of the ingredients into the yoghurt and mix well. Serve cold.
Wood apple sherbet
Bel (wood apple) is one of the most admired fruits in Bangladesh and beler shorbot, one of the most loved summer coolers.
1 kg whole bel fruit (wood apple)
3 litres water
Black salt (kalo morich) to taste.
1 tsp black pepper powder
Break the bel fruit and remove the pulp. Discard the hard outer covering or shell.
Soak the pulp in water. Break the pulp with hands. Soak for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.
Strain it in a steel strainer crushing the pulp well against the strainer. Add salt, sugar and black pepper powder. Mix well and serve chilled. Remember not to make it too diluted. It should be gelatinous and somewhat chewy. Some people don't add sugar to it if the fruit is very sweet but then again, it's optional and according to your taste.
Green mango sherbet
Aam (mango) is known as the king of all fruits. Long before the mango is fully ripe it becomes quite the mouth-watering need of all Bangladeshis. Kacha aam is something people wait all year for. It is best when it is turned into a delicious beverage.
5 raw mangoes (kacha aam)
½ cup sugar
4 cups sugar
Beet lobon and crushed ice if desired.
Peel the mangoes and grate them. After grated, squeeze and extract the juice.
Add water and sugar with the mangoes and blend them together. Add a little bit of beet lobon if you want. Blend properly. Serve with crushed ice.
Tetuler shorbot (tamarind juice) is quite a delicacy here especially to anyone who has their palate addicted to anything sour. Tetuler shorbot will make your day!
2 cups tetul (tamarind)
2 cups sugar
4 glasses water
Salt to taste
Crushed ice (if desired)
Soak the tamarind in a little bit of water. After the tamarind gets a little soggy, squeeze and extract the seeds. The tamarind and water will make a thick brown broth. Add the water, sugar and salt and blend together until they mix properly. Add the crushed ice afterwards if desired.
If you prefer it unsweetened, add the amount of salt you need and no sugar.
Tokmar shorbot, like many other fruit drinks is a summer delight. It cuts the heat and makes you feel cool and fresh.
3 tsp tokma
1½ tsp of lemon juice
1½ tsp of rosewater
Sugar according to taste
Clean the tokma with a cloth. Soak them in a ¾ cup of water for thirty minutes. Fill a jug with two glasses of cold water and add the sugar, lemon juice, soaked tokma and rosewater to it and mix.
Tokmar shorbot is usually served with a sidekick like lemon juice. Just to experiment try orange or pineapple or whichever tangy juice you'd like!
Everybody knows how to make lemonade but, how to make lemonade so that it tastes right every time? Here's a sure-fire method.
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice. Add the juice and the sugar water to 3 to 4 cups of cold water, depending on the desired strength. Refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it. Serve with ice and sliced lemons.
Star fruit sherbet
Kamranga is quite an exotic fruit. Known also as star fruit or carambola, karmranga ranges from sour to sweet.
1 star fruit
1-1 ½ cups water
½ cup limejuice
1 cup sugar
Remove any green bits off the star fruit and roughly chop. Add star fruit, limejuice and water into blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar if wanted and blend to mix. Strain unwanted pulp. Add some ice if wanted.
The limejuice gives the juice an extra kick!
Akher rosh (sugarcane juice) is another one of those extremely enjoyable drinks and provides many health benefits.
Obviously, many people think extracting juice from sugarcane can't be done without the big machine we see on the sides of the road. But you can easily extract juice from raw sugar cane.
Buy it in bundles from a specialty shop or food service provider. Cut it into 12 inch pieces and mash it. Strain through a sieve with very little water.
Mattha or spiced buttermilk is a cool and savoury drink, an end product of making butter. The liquid left over when yogurt is churned to take the butter out is called buttermilk. Adding some more ingredients makes it what we call mattha.
1 cup yogurt
1½ cups water
Salt to taste
½ tsp cumin seeds
Thinly sliced pieces of ginger (optional)
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Whisk yoghurt, water and salt together. Cover and chill. Heat a pan. Add cumin seeds and roast till they become aromatic. Pound with a rolling pin or pestle. Add to buttermilk along with ginger and chopped herbs. Allow flavours to blend for about five minutes and serve.
By Naziba Basher
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed