Come home to a cool, refreshing, healthy drink on these sweltering summer days. Or welcome your guests with this unusual take on a popular Indian drink.
The video below shows you how to create two versions...
Anandi was my schoolmate, a few years older than me. She also happened to be my neighbor. We hung out together from time to time, especially on weekends. Because Anandi was my senior, she would boss me around, yet she was loving and kind. So I didn't mind being friends with her.
FYI, even if you are just a few months younger, it was a common practice in India back then to defer to your seniors in age, and this was very true in schoolyards and college campuses.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this unspoken rule. Take, for example, my sibling, Hema, who was older than me by several years. My beloved sister treated me as her equal and let me troop along when she went out with her peers.
In some ways, I was her tail as a small kid, following her around. We had a great time going to the movies, and during the intermission, she would buy us savory munchies and her all-time cherished beverage, the world-famous Coca-Cola! Yet, she did not begrudge my favorite drink, Thumbs Up, an Indian version of cola slightly fizzier and sweeter than Coke.
In my child's mind, Thumbs Up was the perfect choice to wash down spicy Indian tidbits like onion samosa, cutlets, and Medu vada. Thinking about it now makes my mouth water.
Now if you are familiar with samosa (fried savory-filled pastry) but are used to eating only potato-filled ones, you may be wondering if there is such a thing as onion samosa. Yes, it is very much sought after by Desi Indians though not common in Indian restaurants in the West. Recently our local Indian supermarket started selling fresh onion samosa; Russill and I are all goo-goo ga-ga over it :)
Now back to our tale, a loud thud startled us from our reverie one lazy summer afternoon while I was visiting Anandi in her back garden at her home. As we looked around, my friend squealed with joy as she spotted a wrinkled, ball-sized purplish object on the ground. She picked it up tenderly, looked at me with warm, piercing brownish black eyes, and said, "Asha, do you know what this is?"
As I shook my head no, Anandi replied with a twinkle, "Well, my little friend, it is called passion fruit and I am going share this treat with you."
After procuring a knife from her mother's kitchen, she sliced the wrinkled thing into two pieces and proudly offered me one half as she devoured the other.
Not having tasted the fruit before, my expectations were low, and I gingerly licked at the outer rim. To my amazement, I was transported to food heaven! Thus started my love affair with this exotic, sweet-scented treasure.
What's more, this fruit jewel is nutrient-rich, containing a decent amount of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and trace minerals like iron, Zinc, copper, and selenium. Notably, it is packed with fiber, especially if eaten with seeds.
The kind I was introduced to in India was the purple variety. They also come in the yellow type, and according to Wikkifarmer, "when it comes to pulp, the purple variety fruits are preferred by consumers due to the higher quality (lower acidity, stronger aroma, and flavor)."
Unfortunately, I have not come across the purple kind here in the United States, so I make do with the yellow ones.
By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Wikkifarmer, they are a wonderful organization that helps "empower farmers through educating them and offering them direct access to the commercial markets to sell their products at fair prices." Wouldn't you say that this is incredible work?
Well, I am a farmer at heart and can't wait to cultivate my piece of ancestral farmland back in India someday soon. In the meantime, I content myself with my small patch of herb and veggie garden here in Austin, Texas. This year, I am growing okra, chilis, thyme, basil, oregano, and cucumbers.
In this vlog (see video below), I am delighted to share an Indian drink called Lassi, made with the goodness of passion fruit, yogurt, and a few other simple ingredients.
Like many parts of the US, Europe, and Asia, we have had an unprecedented summer. As of August 07th, Austin has experienced 31 consecutive 100 F and 11 days of 105 Fahrenheit. And the heat index makes it feel hotter.
Nevertheless, I do not wish to complain, for here in Texas, like many places in the Western world, we are blessed with central air-conditioning; you step out of a cool vehicle into cooler homes, offices, stores, etc.
I would like to share the perfect drink with you to help you cool inside and out:) The delicious Lassi! It is a yogurt-based drink popular in India. Traditionally Indians make and consume this refreshment in three forms; salty, spicy, or sweet.
I remember, as a kid drinking out of clay cups, especially from street vendors or in train stations. The cool thing about it was that the vendor would hand out drinks, including hot teas served in small clay cups, which the consumer would then dispose of the clay containers by trashing them on the wayside or the railway tracks. Think about it is ecologically friendly (no paper or plastic) and hygienic as well! And it is fun to break the earthen cups.
Now let us look at the health benefits of this probiotic drink. We have already seen the nutritional value of the passion fruit. As far as the yogurt is concerned, it is a no-brainer. As long as you are using a kind that is brimming with live cultures and no additives such as flavors or sugars, it is unlikely that you can go wrong with store-bought yogurt. And if you can make it organic, all the better.
You may be aware with yogurt's live and active cultures (namely the good bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) you can enhance your gut health. Moreover, a high-grade organic kind is packed with beneficial calcium, protein, and vitamins. I prefer and recommend the whole milk variety, and you can, of course, use what you deem is best for you.
In the video below, I share my version of the Lassi. I am using a few high-quality ingredients as I like my food and drink to be tasty and infused with health. I also tend to use ingredients that are not fancy, as I want my coaching clients to feel that what I suggest to them is budget friendly as well.
Now back to our vlog; think of Lassi as a yummy smoothie. Since it can be prepared and refrigerated in advance, I suggest you make a few variations sweet, spicy, and salty. This way, depending on their preference, you can satisfy your entire family.
For a spicy, salty, and South Indian variation of this drink, check out The Wholeness Cookbook.
I hope you enjoyed this blog; it is time to view the vlog and get blending.
To your health & delight,
P.S. I have created a brand new program and started working with clients to help them showcase their life's passion. Plan to add it to my site soon; stay tuned.
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