Summer is here bringing with it all the goodies - especially seasonal fruits and everything that you can concoct with them. I've been chilling out this summer and although the rising temperatures are killing, the fact that my apartment is perched on one of the higher floors of my building and a cross ventilation in my living room makes for a huge blessing. I am glad I don't have to step out into the scorching heat a lot - unless I go to pick my little one from school. In the evenings the two of us love watching the sunset and enjoy the cool breeze as we go about doing our evening chores. Our? Oh yes, I am training the fellow with some petty work around the house so he can grow up to make himself useful to everyone around him (especially his wife! Do I hear her blessing me already? Hehe!). It's good to have a handy man in the house. Isn't it?
A lot of fruits have made their appearance in the fruit basket on my dining table. Pomegranates, mangoes and apples have been the season's favourites in my house at least. But what tops the list is our very own South Indian tender coconut. Having grown up in an orchard full of coconut trees I've always had the good fortune of tasting the sweet waters of the tender coconuts especially during summer. Since my family used to sell coconuts to whoever wished to buy in the neighbourhood, coconuts were harvested/plucked during particular intervals and the coconut plucker - a robust man wearing a lungi (traditional male attire in most of South India) draped in the form of a kaccha, a head turban called mundaas and a sickle tucked safely around his waist would be hired for the day. He would then climb the tree in a few swift moves with the help of a small ring of rope twisted between his feet that provided the grip to scale the height of the rather tall coconut trees. This was a risky job as coconut trees do not have branches and unless one is sure footed, a fall culminating in death or severe & permanent injuries is guaranteed. The programme of plucking coconuts would usually last a whole day in our orchard as we had a few million trees to be tackled and the kids were usually given the job of fetching the coconuts & dried palms and dumping them in the store room.
Today's recipe is a quintessential Mangalorean drink called Bonda Sharbat which I have modified based on the recipe I saw on this here. Bonda (pronounced as Bonnda in the local languages) Sharbat that I have savoured and greatly loved is the one that was available near Platinum Theatre near Athena Hospital, Mangalore. It was available in a small shop which was in the basement of a complex and chilled glasses of sherbet were handed out to customers which we downed in no time. I used to frequent this place along with my colleagues when I was working in Sales in a bank in Mangalore and it was one of the most refreshing drinks that I can ever remember having - besides the quintessential Mangalorean kabbina rasa (sugarcane juice). Do try it with the addition of lime juice and basil seeds as per the recipe below. Enjoy!
Preparation time: 5 mins | Serves 2-3
- 2 tender coconuts
- 1 tsp lime juice * see note
- 4-5 mint leaves shredded
- 1/2 tsp basil seeds (sabka/tukmaria) soaked in 2 tbsp water
- 4-6 tsp sugar (adjust according to taste or depending on the sweetness of the coconut water) *see notes
- a pinch of salt
1. Pour out the tender coconut water and scrape out the flesh (malai) into a vessel. Shred the coconut flesh if it is thick and mix it along with the water.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and refrigerate for at least an hour. Chill before serving - use a lime wedge to decorate the glass
1. The sherbet may taste odd at room temperature so you can skip the lime juice, but trust me it tastes awesome when consumed chilled.
2. If you are health conscious or obtain very sweet tender coconut water you may skip the sugar altogether. If the water tastes bland or is not very sweet you can skip the pinch of salt as well.