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Celebrate Holi With These Cooling Quenchers

India and festivals could very well be synonyms. Our varied cultures and festivals keep us yoked to our roots and give us an excellent excuse to celebrate life in many colours. Speaking of colours, a whole year has gone by and Holi, our festival of colours, is just around the corner again; our reason to wipe off any distinction between rich and poor, old and young or friend and foe. This day like any other festival in this spectacular country is not only about puja, pranaam, sandhya or aarti, but also about feasting. Our special occasions and days finally come down to us being enslaved by our taste buds; the whole point of being alive, right? So, without further ado, let’s dive into the special quenchers we have curated for you to make your Holi party more colourful.

Thandai

This cooling drink finds its roots in Banaras, a city famous for its milk-based treats. Thandai is the traditional treat during the colour play in UP, Punjab and Rajasthan during Holi. This extremely flavourful drink is infused with fragrant spices like cardamom, peppercorns and fennel. It is doused with almonds and garnished with pistachios. Rose petals, poppy seeds and saffron heighten not only the flavour of this star of Holi celebrations but also the moods of the party.

Ingredients:

2 cups Milk

2 cups Full-fat milk

1/4 cup sugar

For Thandai Masala:

10-12 Almonds

10-12 Cashews

10-12 Pistachios

1 tbsp Melon seeds

1 tsp Fennel seeds

1 tsp Poppy seeds

1 tsp Black peppercorn

1-1/2 tsp Cardamom powder

1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder

For Garnish:

Rose petals

Saffron strands

Preparation:

  1. Mix all Thandai masala ingredients together except a couple of pistachios (leave them for garnishing.)
  2. Pound or grind them together and keep aside.
  3. Add saffron to a little warm milk and keep aside.
  4. Heat all the milk and add sugar.
  5. Once the milk is boiled, add the Thandai masala and bring to a boil.
  6. After the Thandai is boiled, turn off the heat and let it sit for an hour.
  7. Strain the Thandai and add the saffron milk kept aside.
  8. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  9. Serve chilled, garnished with rose petals, saffron strands and slivers of pistachios.

Aam Panna

We Indians can endure the hot sweaty summers as long as our stash of mangoes is in our basket! Aam Panna, also known as Kairi ka Panna is an absolute favourite mango drink in Maharashtra. The raw mango-based beverage is tasty as well as healthy with a cooling property, much needed during the intense hot months. It’s sweet and sour notes are not only a treat to our palate, but also elevates our immunity to common ailments. This easy-to-make quencher has very few ingredients like raw mangoes, fresh mint, sugar, salt and roasted cumin powder. Serve it at your Holi party and see your friends coming for more.

Ingredients:

2 medium green mangoes

2 tsp roasted cumin powder

1/2 cup sugar/jaggery

a handful of mint leaves

black salt to taste

water as required

Preparation:

  1. Boil the mangoes till they become soft. You can also pressure cook them for 3-4 whistles.
  2. Allow it to cool and then remove the skin and take out the pulp from the mangoes.
  3. Let them cool before blending.
  4. Mix all the ingredients and blend. The panna will be thick.
  5. Add enough water as per the consistency you require.
  6. While serving, add crushed ice cubes to panna and garnish with mint leaves and some whole roasted cumin seeds.

Shikanji

Also called the traditional lemonade – Shikanji is a drink that originated in the northern states of India but is much loved in any Indian household. The ease of preparation and a tiny list of ingredients make it a go-to beverage in the unforgiving heat of the summer months. Though the base ingredient in Shikanji is limes and lemons, it is not the same as our dear old Nimbu Paani. The difference of taste is hidden in the addition of roasted cumin and the use of black salt in this beauty. Bring in Holi and the heat that follows with this cool queen of drinks.

Ingredients:

3 medium limes

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

a handful of mint leaves

a pinch of black salt

a pinch of salt

2 cups water/soda

Preparation:

  1. Squeeze out the lime juice and set it aside.
  2. In a jar, add sugar, black salt, salt, black pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder, lime juice and water/soda.
  3. Slightly crush the mint leaves and add it to the jar, stir it well.
  4. Once done, pour it into glasses, add ice cubes and serve it chilled.

Solkadhi

A probiotic drink with potent health benefits, Solkadhi comes from the Konkan and Goan regions of the country. This refreshment offers cooling properties of Kokum along with favourable health advantages of coconut milk. It is a digestive superhero of drinks. The inviting pink colour of this drink is soothing to the eye as well as the body parched in summer. The heat of garlic and green chillies teases the palate that almost flirts with the cooling kokum.

Ingredients:

8-9 pieces dried kokum

2 cups grated coconut

5-6 garlic cloves

1 green chilli

Coriander leaves and some green chilli sliced for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Soak Kokum in 1/2 cup cold water and leave it for 2-3 hours.
  2. Blend coconut, garlic and green chilli together with one cup of water.
  3. Strain the coconut mixture through a sieve and return the pulp to the blender again with another cup of water.
  4. Strain again and extract more coconut milk.
  5. Take out the pulp from the kokum (discard the kokum itself) and add it to the coconut milk mixture.
  6. Chill the Solkadhi till ready to serve.
  7. Garnish with chopped green chilli and coriander leaves

Bael/Bel Sharbat

A simple potion of health and nourishment, Bael Sharbat, has much more to offer than only soothing relief from the pangs of summer. Bael, also called Bengal quince, Stone apple or Wood apple, is a powerhouse of nutrients and a healing summer fruit. Apart from the pleasant sweet and sour taste, its antimicrobial and antiviral properties serve a punch of health. Bael fruit blended with cumin seeds, mint and black salt gives a pleasant peachy aroma. Give this a go this Holi to beat the heat.

Ingredients:

Bael fruit, (Wood apple)

2 tbsp jaggery/sugar

Black Salt (Kala Namak) to taste

1 tsp cumin powder

lemon juice

a handful of mint leaves

Water, chilled

Preparation:

  1. Break the shell of bael fruit on a hard surface and scoop out the flesh.
  2. Add some water to the pulp and mash it to separate the flesh from the seeds.
  3. Strain the liquid and repeat again to extract as much flesh as you can.
  4. To this pulp, add the sugar/jaggery, lemon juice, cumin seeds and black salt.
  5. Add cold water and serve chilled.
  6. Garnish with crushed mint leaves.

Hope these quenchers help you keep the heat down and the spirits up! We wish you and your family a very happy Holi!

Article by Payal Kurian

 

1 comment on “Celebrate Holi With These Cooling Quenchers

  1. Thanks, for such a wonderful article and amazing recipes. Looking forward to more!

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