Although, it might seem that monsoon has finally hit this part of the world and it’s even very tantalizing to think so (taking cue from the downpour in the last couple of days), the truth is, it’s the summer that seems to not want to leave us entirely. Well, that’s what I felt when I returned home the other day, tired and completely drained, each vein in my body craving for a refreshing drink and that is the moment, I tell you, (the moment when I came into the living room and dumped my lifeless limp of a body into the sofa, to be precise) is precisely the moment when I decided to cook out a brilliant summer-drink right out of my head, which eventually, led to what you’re about to read next. Well, to begin with, as you might’ve already guessed, I cooked out a brilliant summer-drink right out of my head!…not really. This is what I actually did that night: I ate and I fell asleep in a matter of a few minutes. So, naturally, it all happened the next morning. This is what I did the next morning: I woke up fairly early and went to the market and bought Stone Apples or Bels. Funny, why they’re called ‘Stone Apples’; I mean, it’s true that it has a very hard shell and one has to use a hammer to crack it open but it neither entirely resembles a stone nor an apple and on top of that, the fact that it has therapeutic uses in Ayurveda and the tree is considered to be holy or sacred by the Hindus never really goes down very well with the name, which seems rather harsh and cold to me. BUT, no matter how harsh or cold its name might sound, Bel or Stone Apple, such that it is called, makes a very, very refreshing summer-drink which tastes like lemonade. The pulp of the fruit is tangy and thus, sometimes, it’s even called to taste like a tamarind. Moreover, ask anyone and they’ll provide you with an endless list of the medicinal uses of the fruit and why one should have it. Anyway. Cut to that morning, the last part. This is what I did after I returned home from the market: made my all-new summer-drink: Bel ka Sharbat or Stone Apple Sharbat. It’s the coolest thing under the (scorching) sun. This is how you shall go about it:
1 Ripe Bel (medium)
Jaggery(liquid/grated) or 4 tbsp Sugar (or as per taste)
Salt – a pinch.
Roasted Jeera powder/Lemon juice/Jal Jeera powder.
Crack the hard outer shell of the Bel using a hammer or a machete. Scoop out the pulp with a spoon and put it in a large bowl. Add two cups of water to this. Keep it aside for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, mash the pulp making a fist with your hand and take out the seeds and pith. Add two cups of water, salt, jaggery or sugar and mix it well with a whisk. You can strain the drink to remove seeds and pith clearly. Use large hole strainer.
Serve it in a glass and add a pinch of roasted Jeera powder or Jal Jeera powder or one tsp. of lemon juice.