This green lemonade I have been making with an assortment of the herbs that I grow in my garden. I named them as green goddess just to make them sound fancy. I pluck herbs that I like in the season and blend them together along with strong citrus elements like the Pomelo leaves, lime leaves, lemongrass etc and refrigerate in a small jar mostly. Just a heaped spoonful of this paste dissolved with honey or sugar and a generous glug of lime juice is all what it takes to make a green goddess lemonade my way.
Yes I did that. It so happened last week that I had made the herb paste fresh and was planning to serve this herb infused lemonade to a friend who visited. But when I suggested would she like to have shikanji she took plain water and later had lemongrass tea. Shikanji or shikanjvi is the Hindi/Punjabi name for a lemonade FYI. Later I realised she must have thought about the plain lemonade made with just lime juice and sugar and hence refused. How would she know if I did not tell her the details of what this lemonade actually was. That is when I decided to name it as green goddess lemonade and corrected a mistake.
This lemonade tastes really great with soaked subza seeds (sweet basil seeds) or falooda. I am now running out of my stock of basil seeds I have been using them so much. Had bought a bag from one of my travels last year and had gifted some to my friends too. Time to look for more subza in old Delhi markets now, I hope to find it here and not burn holes in my pocket paying for it.
Note that these are not chia seeds, chia seeds are the seeds of Salvia hispanica while subza is the seeds of Ocimum basilicum. Chia seeds are brownish in colour while subza is black.
Green goddess lemonade recipe
Thai basil leaves 10 (or mint leaves 20)
pomelo (or kaffir lime) leaves 2-3
lemongrass shoot 1
honey or sugar to taste
lime juice 3 tbsp
soaked subza seeds 5-6 tbsp
Chop all the leaves and lemongrass shoot in small pieces and grind them all together in a blender jar. This paste can be kept in a jar or refrigerated in ice trays for longer shelf life.
Add the paste to 500-600 ml chilled water, stir well and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain, add lime juice and honey, dissolve well and pour in tall glasses. Top with subza seeds and serve right away.
This is an intensely flavoured lemonade, rich with layers of citrus flavours imparted by the lime juice, pomelo leaves and lemon grass. Pomelo leaves are used to make herbed salt and chutneys in Kumaon mountains, I love that too but we rarely use herbed salts at home so drinks are the best way to use herbs.
Another green goddess lemonade I love is a salty one. Yes we do love our nimbu pani and I like having some variety there as well.
Blending curry patta leaves to make buttermilk, to be used in idli mixes and poha is something I keep doing regularly. The curry patta powder and the calcium rich curry patta chutney is another way to use loads of curry patta.
To make a savoury lemonade also curry patta is very useful. You might have tasted buttermilk flavoured with curry patta but lemonades are not that common. In this recipe I combined curry patta with tamarind and lime juice both for an intense salty-tangy taste that tastes so good one feels like having 2-3 glasses of it in one go.
curry patta springs 20-25 (or a cup of leaves)
tender lime leaves 10
tamarind (deseeded) 2 pods or a lump about the size of a small lime
salt to taste
lime juice 1 tbsp
Make a paste of everything together. Keep refrigerated if required or make the lemonade right away.
Dissolve the paste into a jug or water, adjusting the seasoning and sourness. You can actually make this recipe like a panna (like aam ka panna) or a buttermilk but keeping it simpler is always better. That way you get the intense taste of the herbs used.
Strain the lemonade and serve in tall glasses with or without ice cubes. The combination of curry patta and lime juice and lime leaves make a tingling drink. Add kala namak (black rock salt) if you wish and see how this drink seduces you.
All these herbs provide essential minerals, much needed Vitamin C and hydrate during summer months, teasing your taste buds all at the same time.
The best thing is that they look attractive too, so the kids would lap it up readily when you offer them such lemonades instead of packages juices and cola. Now don't tell me you don't grow herbs so you can't use them. We get all herbs readily in the markets and can grow them in pots if required. Blending them to make the paste is just a matter of 2 minutes and another 2 minutes to strain and serve.
Please don't let the convenience of packaged foods and drinks overpower your sense of freshness and real taste. Make green goddess lemonade and stay happy.