The most awaited summer fruit of the season (after mangoes) in Pakistan is Falsa (Phalsa) that also has a very fancy English name – Grewia Asiatica, that nobody ever uses. From it’s color, taste and price at the start of the season, this little berry fruit gets you drooling. You just can’t have enough of it till the time it’s available (roughly two months). While it’s still available, we had to make Falsa Sherbet (juice) to keep us cool in sweltering summer heat.
Every food has a story and this fruit always brings back memories from childhood. Growing up and while we (my sisters and I) were in school, our final term exams and falsa season coincided – like every year it was like that. And this meant NO Falsay during exams!
Walking out the school gate after exam, we had our eyes on that falsa vendor’s beautifully arranged falsa display, he’d be at his fixed spot under the tree, right next to school gate. While most girls would stop by and have a small pack of falsa with generous sprinkling of black salt (kala namak), we’d just walk past it with this tiny thought that on our last exam you better be here falsa guy because we want those little berries bursting with flavors and of course with black salt! Last day of the exam was the best day because exams had ended and we could have these falsay as much as we wanted – no stopping there
On Sundays we all had a day off and so did my father, he’d bring falsay (my mother loves this fruit) and then would prepare bowls for us all. It was so exciting to see him prepare the bowls. He’d have all those falsa in a large bowl, would then sprinkle black salt all over it and would then cover the bowl with a fairly larger plate and would give it a good shake – this helps in equally salting the fruit and also smashes a few ripe ones, making it a lot more flavorful. We used to enjoy this entire experience a lot. Such were the joys of simple days.
As little as it may seem, this fruit is not only flavorful but has many benefits too. It’s loaded with Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Calcium and Phosphorus. In simpler words, it helps treating dehydration, alleviates inflammation, helps in regulating blood pressure, digestion and is full of anti-oxidants.
It has a nice a mix of sweet, sour and a bit acidic taste, which adds a good punch and flavor to it’s Sherbet/Juice. There are other ways to consume this seasonal fruit and you might enjoy having it in some other way but do give this quick and easy Falsa Sherbet recipe a try this summer to keep you cool all through the season.
You might also want to try this Mint Margarita another refreshing drink with a bit of lemon soda infused with mint leaves – so perfect for summers.
by Hirra Pervaiz June-16-2017
Falsa Sherbet! Fresh, bright and refreshingly delicious, it’s the prefect summer drink
Prep time: Total time: Yield: serves 6-8
1000 grams (1 Kilo) Falsa
1.5 Cup Sugar (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Black Salt (Kala Namak)
1.5 Liter Water
Clean Falsa under running water and then soak in water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Now add Sugar and mix well. Let it sit for another 15 minutes
In a blender add half water, macerated berries, salt and blend until pureed
Strain it through seive, add more water if required to puree well and get all from the pulp
Taste test and adjust sugar and salt according to taste
Mix it up with a bit water to dillute it and get a more Sherbet like consistency. Serve chilled with ice and mint leaves
The strained mixture in step 3 can be stored by freezing. Use it as and when required
To make this Falsa Sherbet a bit more fancy try adding Sprite or 7Up in place of water
Ramzan Mubarik! It feels so great to be blessed with another month of Ramzan this year, an entire month of blessings, preparations for Roza (Fasting) and of course Food (both Suhoor and Iftar). No Iftar (meal for breaking the fast at Maghrib prayers) is complete without Chaat on the Iftaar table and no Chaat is complete without at least one or two chutneys in it. Here are the 3 Must Have Chutneys for Ramzan
Chutney is a flavor-enhancer for any Chaat or other fried items like pakora, samosay, kachori etc. It may vary in texture – can be sweet or spicy, smooth or chunky and generally includes a combination of vegetables, fruits or herbs.
Green (Hari)Chutneyis the most popular and favorite of all Chutneys – a spicy and grainy chutney made with mint and coriander giving this concoction a beautiful green color. Mint adds freshness, while the addition of lemon enhances the flavors and also prevents discoloration. Adding tomato to the chutney gives it a nice flavor too.
This Chutney goes with all types of chaats and other deep-fried snacks likes samosas, pakoras, kachoris to add freshness and heat. Mixing a few tablespoons of Green Chutney with plain yogurt makes it Raita (a minty sauce with creamy yogurt base) that’s used as a condiment with Biryani, Pulao or Kebabs.
Mint Coriander Chutney (Green Chutney)
A full package of freshness, spiciness and tanginess combined makes it a favorite!
Prep time: Total time: Yield: Makes 1 Cup
1 Bunch Mint Leaves
1 Bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 Medium Sized Tomato, chopped
8-10 Garlic Cloves
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3-4 Green Chilies, sliced
1/2 Tbsp Salt or to taste
1/2 Tbsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Chaat Masala Powder
Wash and chop the vegetables
Add all the ingredients in the blender, add 1 or 2 Tbsp of water so that the ingredients blend easily
Keep blending until all ingredients are well combined into a smooth paste.
Taste check, add more salt, red chili or lemon juice as required
Its ready! serve it as a dip, spread or condiment
This can be stored for about a week in the refrigerator
This can be also stored be freezing and can be used as needed, just thaw and use. It’ll become dark green in color upon freezing however the taste will remain the same
Tamarind and Date (Khajoor-Imli) Chutney – a sweet, spicy and tangy chutney made with tamarind and dates along with some spices making this a must have chutney for lip-smacking food. Sometimes used as a condiment with fried-food but mostly used as a sauce in chaats like Papdi chaat, Dahi Bhalla, Bhel Puri
Tamarind Date Chutney (Imli-Khajoor Chutney)
A sweet and sour chutney a perfect accompaniment with fried-foods and chaat
Prep time: Total time: Yield: Makes 1 Cup
1/2 Cup Tamarind(Imli)
1/2 Cup Dates, Pitted
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Dry Ginger Powder
1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp Salt or to taste
2 Cups Water or as required
boil the tamarind and dates in water
when they become soft add the brown sugar and the spice powders and salt. cook further till the sugar dissolves.
switch off the burner and let the mixture cool.
grind the chutney mixture to a smooth paste. sieve the chutney through a strainer. add more salt if needed.
if the chutney becomes too thick add some water to liquidize it
Tamarind (Imli) Chutney – a spicy and sour chutney made from tamarind and a few spices. This chutney has a liquid consistency and is a favorite one to add in all those Chaats to give it a more tangy flavor. Add it to your regular fruit Chaat for a kick of flavor and you’ll love it even more. This chutney can be frozen up to a month.
Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)
A spicy and sour chutney to enhance flavors in your chaat to make it more flavorful and delicious
Prep time: Total time: Yield: Makes 1 Jar
1 Kg Tamarind (Imli)
1 1/2 liters Water
1/2 Kg Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
1 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Chaat Masala
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Wash dried tamarind and soak in water over night
Sieve the soaked tamarind and transfer to a wok.
Add sugar and put it on medium heat, until sugar dissolves. Now add salt, red chili powder, chaat masala and white vinegar.
When it starts to thicken, taste check, add more salt, red chili as required.
Remove from heat, cool and serve it as a dip or condiment
These 3 chutneys are a must-have at my home during Ramazan and all year through. They make all those Chaats so much exciting and flavorful. Try these in your Iftar Chaats and enjoy lip-smacking deliciousness.
These also make great Ramzan gift items, prepare the chaats, transfer in storage jars, label them and tie a ribbon around the jar and gift it – Fancy yet useful gift.
You can also set up a Chaat station at the next Iftaar you’re hosting, allow the guests to prepare their own chaat with all the ingredients set out on the table, some papri, boiled potatoes, boiled chickpeas, onions, sev and 3 must-have chutneys and you have your Chaat station ready!