Saturday, May 10, 2014

From Wine Country, An Indian Grape Drink That's Refreshing and Non Alcoholic For Mom's Day

   I'm still cooking from boxes around here, rummaging through something that looks like the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark trying to find a blender that I packed in one of the numerous boxes that I cleverly labeled "GLASS" "FRAGILE!!!"

   I didn't find the blender I was looking for, but I still had my food processor which is something to be grateful for. On top of that, the measuring spoons that I was sure I packed turned out to be left at our old house. We got a call from the people who bought it that they had found two drawers full of stuff I had forgotten to pack, so off we went to deja vu city to reclaim my missing utensils. There is nothing weirder than going back into the house that you left not even a month ago and finding it full of someone else's stuff. There is that strange compulsion to move a chair... "dude that doesn't go there, don't you know...."  Ooops, your bad, you don't live there anymore. Take your measuring spoons and go.
   Meanwhile, back at our place, the cabinets are being made and next week we go to the stone yard and start looking at slabs. My new 8 foot island is being laid out.

   I've never had my own private island before and this is going to be as close to that as I ever get. I'm still using my friend's kitchen and since they're predicting a rather warm Mothers Day weekend, I figured the easiest and best thing I could whip up for that would be a cool refreshing Indian drink. Since we live in the heart of California's Wine Country one thing we have no shortage of here are grapes. So I went looking through my files for something cool and refreshing using some of the local produce. A friend of mine is also expecting her second child this coming week and so I also thought, what about those moms-to-be and moms or anyone else who might be someone's designated driver this weekend, and so the drink I was looking for would be non-alcoholic and gluten free (since my friend is also a gluten free person). 
   What came out of the file is a classic drink of Northern India Angoor ka Sharbat. Now if you're wondering if I misspelled that word, surely I mean sherbert, or sorbet. Yeah, well that's what it evolved into in many places, but the word started out in Persia as sharbat a sweet chilled drink made from fruit or flowers, and spices. When the Mughals moved down into Northern India they brought their sharbat with them. Some sharbats can be medicinal and ayurvedic, others just for pure refreshment. If you go back into sharbat lore (I did) there are stories of the Mughal ruler who used to send his guys into the Himalayas for ice to make his sharbat. Can't seem to find his name or any more info about him. Wonder how long he lasted?
   The sharbat I'm featuring here is a very simple one with very few spices, thus easy to make. Mix it up in your blender, (I know it'll be easier to get to then mine) chill it for an hour or two and serve it over ice.

Angoor ka Sharbat

Here's What You Need:
2 cups of black or red  grapes
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
3 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp of ginger juice ( I used powdered ginger)
1 Tbs powdered sugar
Mint leaves for a garnish

Here's What To Do:
Put 2 cuts of clean washed grapes into a blender or food processor.

Grind them up to a fine puree.

Mix in 3 and 1/2 cups of water.
Strain it all through a sieve.

Take out the grape pulp.

Add in 1 Tbs powdered sugar to the grape water mixture.

Mix it well and then add in 1tsp of cumin powder...

...and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice and 1 tsp ginger juice or ginger powder if you have it.

Stir everything together well, and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Serve it  over ice in tall glasses garnished with mint leaves.

   This drink is not super sweet since the whole recipe only calls for 1 Tbs of sugar. The sweetness depends upon the grapes one is using, the cumin, lemon and ginger mixed in give it a bit of a kick that makes it a real thirst quencher on a hot day.
   For all the Moms celebrating this weekend, congratulations! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I'm going to be hunting my elusive blender so that hopefully I have a few more tools to work with. Coming up next, mangos! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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