Food

Homemade sherbet recipes for Iftar

A cooler with some heat Aam pora sherbet (fire-roasted raw mango sherbet) with chilli powder

A cooler with some heat Aam pora sherbet (fire-roasted raw mango sherbet) with chilli powder   | Photo Credit: Chandrima Sarkar

There is more to the Iftar refreshment than just Rooh Afza. Sweet or sour, rimmed with spice or thick with fruit, sherbets hold their own through this summer month of fasting

Unlike what many like to imagine, Roza observers do not break their fast with heaps of food. Iftar is a process that begins with a sip of water. Followed by a date and sherbet, which is important because “it gives relief to the tired body after long hours of fasting during the summer,” says expert on Hyderabadi cuisine, Mehboob Alam Khan.

Iftar is not all about kebabs, pulao, biryani, kheer, and other interesting treats. Sherbet — a cooling drink made of sweet, diluted fruit juices — is as important as the food. Every household has its signature sherbet. It can be made with any seasonal fruit or, if one prefers, using home-made fruit preserves or concentrate.

Following food discussion groups is a great way to find ideas. With the mango season on, mango juice seems to be on top of the list, followed by watermelon and mint cooler. There is a huge demand for milkshakes and almond rose milk as well.

Fatima Shah, a Dubai-based home baker, says that even though the favourite drink is the milkshake, traditionally what is served in their home is an Iranian shikanji made with sugarcane vinegar, sugar and mint. “If sugarcane vinegar is hard to get, one can use apple cider vinegar,” she informs.

Something as simple as lemon juice or nimbu paani also does wonders to the body. Hyderabad-based Arabic scholar and entrepreneur Izzath Uroosa says the logic behind sherbet has more to do with taste. “We break our fast with water and a date. After that if you get a glass of fresh juice, imagine how soul-stirring it would be? It doesn’t just instantly cool the body, it also refreshes our mind. I prefer the kairi ka juice without the masalas. The other popular sherbet is Rooh Afza with balanga (basil seeds). Balanga or sabja is known for its cooling properties, so it is a natural choice. Soaked balanga added to a glass of red rooh afza is Instagram-worthy as well.”

Mehboob Alam Khan, however, prefers the raw mango juice prepared in a slightly different way, with the mango being burnt over a bed of red ambers. He says, “It is a slow process but the smokiness in the drink is worth the time and effort.” Or mix khus syrup in your lemonade for a more refreshing experience if you don’t want to slog, he suggests.

He also adds, “Badam (almond) milk is a hugely popular drink, but preparing it is laborious and expensive. I would not suggest it especially in times like these.”

As families look to stay healthy and move away from packaged drinks and concentrates, there is a steady search for recipes with natural ingredients. “There are many traditional Ramzan recipes that use herbs and jellies with cooling properties as part of the Iftar meal to break the fast,” says Rayhana Nainar, a home-maker. “Nannari (Indian Sarsaparilla) can be had either as a water-based sherbet or with cold milk. Since palmyra fruit are in season in much of South India these days, nannari sherbet can be served along with the pulp. Some people like to add a dash of lime juice to cut through the sweetness,” she suggests. Sounds tempting.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:23:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/homemade-sherbet-recipes-for-iftar/article31584851.ece

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