I don't think it's only me but across urban India, I see a lot of us wanting to rediscover traditional foods and ingredients. It's as if there is a realisation that in an increasingly synthetic world, we need to reconnect with our roots and in most cases, that starts with our food. Fed up with an incredible amount of noise with regards to fad and celebrity diets, we've turned to the wisdom of our grandmothers.
Turns out this traditional advice, largely based on Ayurveda, is completely in tune with the seasonal calendar for local produce. It stresses balance and moderation and tells us that the answers we seek today were known all along. We just never knew where to look! That the produce of every season is specifically designed to cope with the demands of that season. And just as the produce at the local markets change, so must the cooking techniques and ingredients that accompany it.
I was reminded of this last week when Summer announced its presence unequivocally. I usually rely on a daily dose of coconut water to get through the worst part of the day but when the going gets tough, I know that I need to raise the ante.
Last year, I introduced you to chaas and bael ka sharbat, this year it is aam panna. Panna is raw mango pulp that has been sweetened and flavoured and then topped off with chilled water and mint leaves.
Till date, the panna that I have been served, has been flavoured with cumin powder and black salt. But, this recipe by Tarla Dalal, uses cardamom and saffron and I think I am more partial to this version.
Ayurveda recommends both saffron and cardamom as spices to cool the body during Summer. As does the mint leaf garnish.
Ahem, please do notice how I have flavoured and frozen the ice cubes with mint leaves to top off the drinks. Oh, don't roll your eyes... I can do pretty and creative things too!
I speak from experience when I say that the drink has an instantaneous cooling effect on the body. But, what I enjoyed the most was the saffron. It lent a subtle, sophisticated edge to the drink.
For your next Sunday brunch, I'd definitely recommend it on the drinks menu! It will match up to the Sangria more than beautifully!!
Cin Cin my lovelies! Here's to a kind Summer!!