Phalsa (Grewia asiatica) is a summer fruit rich in pigment antioxidants. Phalsa looks like a berry but it is actually a stone fruit (Drupe) that has very little flesh but verr flavourful.
It is a popular street snack tossed with black salt or herb salt and the phalsa sellers can be seen carrying the 'berries' in a basket during summer months all over north India. Since the berries rot really fast there is a remote chance for these to reach supermarket isles. But a few street vendors will always keep bringing phalsa to us I am sure, there are people who forage such berries and make a living out of it. Good for conservation of such lesser known native fruits.
It's too hot here in Delhi and we are practically living on cooling foods and drinks, be it salads or sharbats or just plain lime water, nimboo paani, chilled slices of watermelons and muskmelons are mostly for lunch and light snacking throughout the day.
As I mentioned, Phalsa or Grewia asiatica is a tropical stone fruit (Drupe) which is tangy and sweet with a unique flavor, it's taste pairs well with kala namak or black salt, some people call it pink salt too.
The fruit has a small stone inside which can be chewed and I prefer to chew on it whenever eating the berries in a salad like my mango salad or as it is with black salt.
To make phalse ka sharba, mix salt and sugar to taste to cleaned phalsa and macerate it without adding any water. The juices will come out when you mash and macerate the berries.Leave it for 10 minutes, then add water and pass through a strainer while rubbing the pulp through the strainer surface.
For making one liter of phalse ka sharbat you need about 250 gm phalsa, 4-5 gm black salt and about 50 gm sugar if using.
Add chilled water once a paste of formed, pulse again, and pass the mixture through a sieve so the stony seeds are separated.
Add ice cubes or more chilled water, pink salt to taste, add sugar if required and serve chilled.
A cup of phalsa berries and half a cup of beet slices result in 3-4 large glasses of thick smoothie like sharbat. You can always dilute it but then you might require a sweetener as the natural tangy sweet flavor of the berry will be diluted.
Do let me know if you have had this sharbat. The phalsa berry is not available in many parts of the country but one can grow a phalsa tree if space is not a constraint. I have planted one and is growing slowly. Someone would be able to pluck phalsa from them if not me :-)