Category Archives: Drink

Sweet and Sour Summer Drink with Green Mangoes

On a hot summer day, there is nothing  quite as refreshing as an ice-cold beverage that hits both sweet and sour notes. There is the basic lemonade and its variants, of course.   In the land of perpetual heat and sun that is coastal Maharashtra, in addition to the lemonade, or nimboo pani, there is punhe’.

Punhe’ is a special summer time treat  made with unripe green mangoes available only in March and April.   Green mangoes are also used as a souring agent like tamarind or lime.  I drank punhe’ in copious amounts in my futile attempts to keep cool in the heat of May.  Recipe below the fold:

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Punhe’ Read the rest of this entry

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An Ode to the Bounty of Summer-Hapoos Mangoes

Its been just two weeks since I came back from India.  However, the arrival of summer-like temperatures  is making me nostalgic about my trip. Before the monsoon arrives in early June, Bombay  is enveloped by punishing heat and  oppressive humidity.  The hardy souls who venture where angels fear to tread are rewarded by the seasonal bounty of ripe Hapoos mangoes.   In my biased opinion, they are the  best tasting mangoes in the world.

When ripe, they are a bright reddish orange.  When you bite into it, the mango has a velvety texture that melts in your mouth but it’s the heady sweet bouquet of ripening mangoes that draws you in, in the first place.

When I was in India I ate a Hapoos mango almost everyday, sometimes twice in a single day. I ate it by itself, in yogurt, juiced (aamras), with clotted cream, in an ice-cream and in kulfi.  If you have never tasted Hapoos, you should put it on your bucket list.  The Hapoos season is brief, late April until the arrival of the monsoon. There is no real substitute for the Hapoos but  Ataulfo mangoes are somewhat similar.

To welcome summer, I am going to post recipes using mangoes in the next few days.  I am starting with a recipe for mango lassi. If you have any specific requests email me or leave it in the comments below.

A Green mango on a tree, in my friend’s garden in Lonavla.

Mango Lassi

Ingredients

2 cups frozen or fresh ripe mangoes (I use the frozen mangoes from Trader Joe)

2 cups nonfat or 2% yogurt

2 tbsp sugar (more if you want the lassi to be sweeter)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

If using frozen mangoes, thaw them.  I usually add the sugar and the salt when I am thawing the mangoes.  If you have never diced a fresh mango, there are step by step instructions here. Use a blender to blend everything together.  Serve chilled. You can add some fresh mint or basil  for  a variation.  You can also leave out the grated nutmeg and cardamom if you don’t have them at hand.

Michelada with Rock Salt Rocks

My take on the Mexican cocktail with beer.  Easy and a delicious way to spice up not so hot beer.   For one serving you will need,

Ingredients

1. 8 oz. Beer

2.  4 oz. Coke

3.  1/4 teaspoon rock salt *

4.  1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

5.    1/4 teaspoon Sriracha

6.   1/4 lime preferably key lime

The beer and the Coke should be chilled. Mix all the ingredients, enjoy.  Add ice if you want.

Variations:  I have replaced the Coke with Coke Zero,  if I do that  I also add about a tea spoon of sugar to the mix.  Root beer is not traditional but works as well.  I have tried this drink with Corona, Dos Equis and Sol but any lager should work.

*I usually get my rock salt from the International Grocery store in my neighborhood. It comes in chunks which you will need to grind.  You can go low tech with a mortar and pestle or high tech with a coffee grinder.  Rock salt is great in a spicy lemonade or on chunks of fruit such as pineapple.  This rock salt comes from India and is  of a dark pinkish hue.

ETA:  Now that I think of it Sol worked better than Dos Equis.  Moral of the story, milder the beer the better Michelada will taste.

Watermelon Cooler

This is the perfect drink for hot summer afternoons.

Watermelon_cooler

Ingredients

3 cups watermelon cut into bite sized or slightly larger chunks

6 tsp sugar

1 tsp rock salt or kosher salt

1 Key lime or 1/2 a regular lime

Cut the watermelon into chunks, add to a pitcher, then add the sugar, salt and the juice of the lime. Keep in the fridge overnight. The macerated watermelon will release its juices.  Ready to serve after twenty four hours.  Top with some crushed ice, if you like.  You can also spike it with vodka if you want. If you do that I suggest using a blender to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.

Recipe notes :  You can decrease or increase the amount of sugar as per your taste and the sweetness of the watermelon.