A Spectacle From College Days
Finally, it's spring time!!! We have been blessed with some warm weather for last few days. We have finally opened the windows to let the fresh air in. Ooh! the lovely breeze. I can hear the birds chirping, I can see the buds and leaves on the trees and the beautiful cherry blossoms everywhere. There is even a spring in my step 🙂 .
With the warm weather comes the demand for cold and rejuvenating thirst quenchers. And the demand is especially high for this particular thirst quencher which is the hero (or heroine) of today's post. I see that I keep going back to this drink very often - because my husband "gently suggests" that I make it ;).
My husband loves it and it takes us a few years down the memory lane. It reminds us of the college days when we used to go to the local bakery (at that time there was only one bakery around our college) during breaks. Since there was only one bakery in the entire neighborhood, there would always be a crowd at this place. There would always be demands for lime-juice (colloquial name for lemonade) or samosa or puffs or may be just a candy. There would be an occasional passerby but the crowd generally was the students at the college. Everybody knew everybody else - so there would be no dearth of conversation. There would be discussions ranging from the latest gossip at college to the latest technology.
One of the popular drinks at this bakery (especially during summer) was the soda sambhaaram. Sambhaaram is made from buttermilk which is the liquid that remains after you churn the butter out of cream. Soda Sambhaaram is basically spiced butter milk mixed with soda. (In India, carbonated water is called soda). Many a time, I have ordered it just to watch the shopkeeper make it in front of us. The guy at the bakery would make a spectacle out of the process of making soda sambhaaram. He would pour the buttermilk into a serving glass and pour soda over it. (Remember those green soda bottles? I don't find them any more in shops). The soda would fizz up and spill from the glass. The person who ordered the soda sambhaaram would realize that his/her heart skipped a few beats - that was money flowing drown the drain, people!.(Hard to live on a limited allowance when you are in college.) The process was not complete yet. He would now stir the soda and the sambhaaram together in a very deliberate manner oblivious to the crowd waiting in anticipation. And finally when he was satisfied that there is nothing more to mix, he would handover the glass to you - if you are the first one who ordered it. If not, the wait gets longer and the torture intense - your friend would be drinking the soda sambhaaram and you are just standing there, waiting for your turn. And then, finally!!! You get your glass. No more talking.. just gulp it down. :).
For me, it's kind of embarrassing to call this a recipe. Every region in India has it's own unique way of preparing this drink. This recipe is a Kerala style preparation. I had never measured the ingredients before I decided to write about it. I have always made it based on what my taste buds said - never ever based it on a measuring cup/spoon. There are no hard and fast rules for making this drink. What I have given in the recipe are just suggestions. For e.g, I chop green chillies/Serrano pepper - but I know some people who crush the green chillies - they love the extra zing. Some people even add onions to it, though I personally do not like that flavor.
When I serve this during the Onasadya, I use water to dilute the yogurt instead of soda/sparkling water. Rest of the recipe remains the same.
- 1 cup Low Fat Yogurt
- 2 Serrano Pepper or Green Chilies
- 3-4 Curry Leaves
- 1.5 inch Piece Ginger
- Salt to taste
- 18 oz (2.25 cups) Sparkling Water or Carbonated water
- Get the ingredients ready.
- Roughly chop the green chillies and the curry leaves. Crush the ginger using a mortar and pestle.
- Add the chopped green chillies, curry leaves, crushed ginger and salt to the yogurt and mix well.
- Transfer ¼ cup spiced yogurt into the serving glass. Add ¾ cup of sparkling water or carbonated water and stir well. Serve cold.
You can make the spiced yogurt ahead of time and just before serving add the sparkling water or carbonated water.