The firm green raw mangoes with their smooth, dark glossy skin always remind me of summer. Their mellow yet unmistakable tart mango aroma with thick white flesh makes me dream of various mango recipes. But the most appropriate raw mango recipe that cools us and makes us crave more is this light sweet and sour mango drink known as Aam pora sharbat. Believe me or not once you taste this tangy drink, no longer how unbearable summer is at your part of the world you will love this dreaded season.
Aam pora sharbat or more famously known as aam panna is a very popular summer drink all over India. This, like many Indian recipes said to posses many heat resistance properties. Gulp down a glass of chilled am pora sharbat and your body will get relaxed and rejuvenated immediately. That’s just what we need in Kolkata right now. With the temperature and humidity soaring we only have two options…either to get steamed inside the house or get fried if we dare choose to go out. But the paradox lies in the fact that it’s raining almost at a regular interval of 2-3 days. Some of the evenings we are experiencing kalbaisakhi with medium rain but the heat is so much that the rain is unable to give any respite. We only get to sleep in peace the following night but the next day the its back to square one. In such a weather liquid seems to be the only diet for us. Hungry or not we always are opening the fridge to reach for the chilled bottle of water or a glass of chilled drink.
I am making many varieties of drinks this summer, But among this lot the most prefered one is this am pora sharbot. Roasting the raw mangoes on the open fire gives it a nice toasty aroma which is our favourite but when making in bulk then roasting many mangoes takes a toll on our patience. I then quickly roast them on high flame and when the skin is nicely charred pressure cook them till tender.
The handheld fan in the pictures is known as haat-pakha in Bengal. It is made of dried palm leaf and is decorated with old Bengal cotton saree border or ribbon. In my house haat pakha were always soaked in turmeric water to keep it insect free for a long time. There was a time when these were the only relief against dreaded summer and every house stocked on this in the beginning of summer. Women of the house used to save their intricately weaved old saree borders to stitch around the edges. Apart from making it look pretty it also helped to catch more air while moved back and forth. Mothers used to keep on moving this whole night to keep their babies cool or elderly ladies used this to give relief to the men of the house when they sat for lunch in the summer afternoons. But with the ever-increasing reach of modern technologies these are becoming obsolete now a days. I looked for an old fashioned big pakha for quite some time then decided to make my own and stitched some red ribbon around it. Now it not only helps me to stay cool during power cut but also beautifies my drawing room coffee table.
Whether you need pakha or not make a jug full of am pora sharbat. Your family will thank you for this nourishing summer thirst quencher.
Firm raw mangoes: 2 big
Sugar:1/2 cup or as per your taste or the tartness of the mango
Black salt: 1/3 tsp
Bhaja masala (or dry roasted cumin powder): 1 tsp
Wash the green mangoes and pat it dry with a piece of cloth or kitchen tissue. Take a fork and poke it a few times. Char the skin on direct flame till its cooked through (approx. 10-15 minutes). Let it cool. Then peel the skin and squeeze hard to take out all the soft pulp. Discard the stone.
Take this pulp in your mixie jar and add the sugar. Process for a minute. Then add water (4-5 glasses of water, the final consistency of the drink would be little thick so adjust the amount of water) black salt and bhaja masala. Whiz again for a minute. Taste and if needed add more sugar, salt or spice. Fill in tall glasses with ice cubes and a final sprinkle of bhaja masala on top.
A Homemaker's Notes:
To make this sharbat choose mangoes that are firm and fresh.
It is said that roasting the raw magoes on direct flame is beneficial as charring on fire destroys the heat in the mangoes and they serve the purpose of cooling and refreshing properly.
Roasting could be done on direct flame or in the oven. To roast in oven preheat it at 200C and place the mangoes wrapped in aluminium foil. cook for 25-30 minutes or little more depending on the size of the mangoes.
You can also add a drop of green food colour to make it look more vibrant.
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