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Indian Summer Drinks

Posted on June 27, 2020 at 1:30 PM by Madhu Gadia

June 26, 2020
Indian Summer Drinks


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The coronavirus related social distancing has changed how we step out of the house these days. We may call it the New Normal, but there is nothing normal about it. I miss the summer cookout, picnics, traveling, and so on, the list goes on. So be it. We need to do our best to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.  

We better make the best of it. Let’s focus on what we have and the fact that its summer. One thing hasn’t changed, in the summer, when it’s bright and sunny and the days are long, it’s hard to focus on work. And its even more challenging since we’re all working from home and often we can set my own hours. Flex-time is nice, sometimes, but can lead to stress as the work piles up. So, I have learned that for me, working regular 9 to 5 hours is the most productive and freeing. I like my evenings and weekends free of office-work, which allows me enough time off to enjoy the summer. I hope YOU have scheduled some socially distanced activities for this summer before it slips away.

Just last week, we met some friends in the backyard, keeping at least 6 feet distance. It was relaxing and uplifting to talk to people.

Step Out and Sweat it Out 

Does the summer heat keep you indoors? We all love the air-conditioner and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but has it made us a little squeamish about outdoor activities. Early morning and late afternoons are a great time to be more active and enjoy the beautiful days. This year, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of the outdoors, as we are spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors. Find what activity and time works for you. I am planning to spend more time walking and biking in nearby parks and maybe even explore some new trails.

Stay Hydrated

With the summer heat and outdoors, make sure you drink enough water to stay cool and hydrated. For most of us, low to moderate intense exercisers; walking, biking for one hour or less, water is the best beverage for hydration. By the way, good old tap water is great. Just fill a bottle and go. Staying hydrated, drinking a few sips every 15-20 minutes, can improve your exercise experience.  

Depending on how long you’re outside and how much you sweat, it may also be important to replenish electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. But be mindful of calorie-laden beverages advertised as energy drinks and fluid/electrolyte replacements as they can be a real calorie-trap. For most of us, a light snack of a few crackers and a fruit with a glass of water can replenish the electrolytes.

If you’re an athlete, exercising intensely for several hours, you need to be extra vigilant about staying hydrated and replenishing electrolytes – that’s a whole another topic.

Indian Summer Drinks

As a child, growing up in India, there were a few drinks that I remember only drinking in the summer. These summer drinks are unique, delicious, and nutritious. As kids, we were just told to drink the beverage because it is very hot outside. Only when I was taking a nutrition class, did it make sense why these drinks were pushed in the summer. Indian summers, with blazing hot winds, can cause heatstroke in a hurry. These drinks cool the body, quench the thirst, and replenish electrolytes.

Mango drinks are super popular in the summer as mangoes are abundant and high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Both raw and ripe mango drinks are prepared. These days, fresh mango is available throughout the year, but the best-tasting mangoes are available from June to August; enjoy them plain, in a salad, or make lassi. Alternatively, you can now buy frozen mango slices or mango nectar throughout the year. Also, check out mango pulp, available in Indian grocery stores. Out of season, these are better tasting alternatives, as they are packaged when the fruit has the best flavor.

Mango Lassi / Mango Yogurt Drink
(make with plain yogurt or soy yogurt)

Green Mango Drink (Panna)

For more unique flavors, you may also want to try these recipes from the cookbooks, Spicy Lemonade (Neembu Pani), Basil-Ginger Tea, Salty Lassi, or Spicy-Sour Drink (Jal Jeera). For more photos and inspirations, check out the Facebook and Instagram.

Happy and Healthy Cooking!

Madhu Gadia


Mango Yogurt Drink - Mango Lassi (Aam Lassi)    

Prep Time: 10 minutes           Cook Time: 5 minutes

Lassi or yogurt drink is one of the most popular drinks served in Indian restaurants. In India, it is primarily served in the summer, as yogurt is considered cooling to the body (Ayurvedic belief). Both plain and mango lassi are popular. Blended yogurt, served over ice, is refreshing and an exceptional respite from the summer heat.

During summer, when mangoes are plentiful and delicious, use fresh mangoes else use frozen mangoes.

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute equivalent
Crushed ice

In a blender jar, add yogurt, water, mango chunks, sugar, or sugar substitute. Blend until mango chunks are well blended. Serve over crushed ice.

Note: 1. If the mango has too many stringy fibers (as some mangoes do), strain the lassi and discard the fibers.

Makes: 2 servings     Serving Size: 1½ cup
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 150; Total Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 32g; Protein: 6g; Fiber: 1g; Sodium: 90 mg

Vegan Lassi

Vegan Mango Yogurt Drink - Mango Lassi (Aam Lassi)  

Prep Time: 5 minutes              Cook Time: 5 minutes

This recipe is a vegan option, using soy-yogurt on the traditional—and popular—yogurt drink known as lassi, which is often served at Indian restaurants. Lime juice adds tartness to the soy -yogurt and helps to bring out the traditional sweet-and-sour taste of lassi.

1 cup plain soy -yogurt
1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute equivalent
2 teaspoons lime or lemon or lime juice
Crushed ice cubes

In a blender jar, add soy-yogurt, water, mango chunks, sugar or sugar substitute, and lemon juice. Blend until well combined and the mixture is the consistency of a smoothie. Serve over ice.

Note: 1. If the mango has too many stringy fibers (as some mangoes do), strain the lassi and discard the fiber.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 226; Total Fat: 3g (Saturated Fat: 0.5); Carbohydrate: 48g; Protein: 5g; Fiber: 2g; Sodium: 48 mg

Recipe from: The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia

Raw Mango Drink (Panna)

Panna is one of those drinks that went out of style with all the bottled soft drinks available in India now. When I was growing up, it was a popular summer drink. I remember being told it would protect us against sunstroke and dehydration. Later, I realized that because mangoes are high in potassium and because the drink contains salt and sugar, Panna replenishes the electrolytes, just as Gatorade does.

2 raw green mangoes (about 1 pound)                           
7 cups cold water, divided
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2–3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup mint leaves
crushed ice

1. Peel and slice the mangos into big large pieces. Discard the pits.

2. In a medium saucepan, boil the mango slices with 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes.

3. In a blender, grind the boiled mangoes with the water. Strain and discard the fibrous pulp, if any. Pour into a serving jug. (If the mango is not fibrous or stringy, you do not need to strain it.)

4. Add salt, sugar, cumin powder, black pepper, and lemon juice. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining 5 cups of water. (You may need to adjust the lemon juice based on the tartness of the mangoes and personal taste preference.)

5. Chiffonade half the mint leaves and add to the drink. Refrigerate to cool completely.

6. Serve over crushed ice, garnish with remaining mint leaves.

Makes: 8 servings  Serving Size:   1 cup
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 82; Total Fat: 0gm; Carbohydrate: 21g; Protein: 0g; Fiber: 1g; Sodium: 582 mg

Recipe from: The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia

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