January by no means is lemonade season, but with the abundance of citruses we can’t let the season go by without making a tasty recipe that celebrates these natures gift.
During the latter part of March, Ram Navmi is celebrated in India, a Hindu festival to celebrate the birth of Lord Rama. One of the offerings is a drink called “panakam” much like lemonade with cardamom, ginger, a hint of black pepper and loads of jaggery ( raw unprocessed cane sugar). Even though it’s unprocessed and raw, jaggery is calorically sugar and the traditional recipe is too sweet for my liking. I made this drink using naturally sweet whole oranges and keeping the rest of the traditional recipe as is. Its bursting with natural citrus flavors, a touch of floral Meyer lemon flavor, ginger and cardamom.
- If you can’t find Meyer lemons just use regular lemons it does not change the taste of the drink. Meyer lemons are not as acidic as regular lemons and have a distinct floral scent.
- This is a basic recipe, adjust the orange juice or spices to your liking.
- If you prefer, you can also use good quality unsweetened, fresh squeezed store-bought orange juice.
- This drink is perfect during the hot summer months with lots of ice.
- To make ginger juice simply grate ginger using a microplane grater, press out as much juice as possible to get about 2-3 tablespoons of juice you can place it in a clean cheese cloth and squeeze the juice out. Save the pulp for curries or other recipes, it’s still pretty good stuff.
Makes 6-7 servings
- 6-8 various varieties of oranges; Cara, blood, regular navel, Valencia, pixie, mandarin ( should get about 4 cups of juice)
- juice from large 3 whole lemons about 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- juice from a 3 inch thick piece ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
- a few turns of black pepper.
- basil or holy basil (tulsi) leaves for garnish
- 2 cups iced water
- ice cubes
- Extract as much juice from the oranges to get about 4 cups, if you have to you can strain the juice. I like the pulp and leave it whole.
- Add juice from the lemons. Now add the ground spices, chilled water and stir very well.
- Let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes for the spices to infuse.
- Serve chilled over ice!