Phalse Ka Sharbat is a popular summer cooler made from the famous Phalse or Grewia asiatica. An Indian berry which makes it appearance in Summer for a short time and is much loved while it is there. Easy and quick to make this is the perfect drink to get you through summer heat!
“Phalse Kale Kale”, does that phrase mean something to you? For me it is one of the call of chilhood in Delhi. It reminds me of that lazy summer afternoons, lying next to my badi mummy and a street hawker calling out in a sing song voice “Phalse Kale Kale”. He would bring with him the delicious and tiny Indian berry called Phalse. Similar to blueberries of the western world but much more flavourful for me. Phalse defined summer for me. Every afternoon I would run out in the middle of the nap to buy a packet of these berries much to my grandma’s displeasure. Afternoon is supposed to be for napping she would say but the berries held much more of my interest than the nap.
I would eat these with a masala that the bhaiya would have, as I try and recall the flavour of that masala. I can think of salt, chilli and a bit of chaat masala in it. Very distinct but yet all familiar flavours. The tartness of the berry with the spice would be just heavenly for my childhood palate and I still miss those afternoons. Those times, grandama’s hugs and phalse all seem to have left my life just like childhood and there are days I feel myself intensely craving for those things.
While I would pretty much eat phalse on a daily basis, I remember my granny making this phalse ka sharbat once a week. It would be such a pleasure to gulp down the chilled glass of the sharbat. She would soak some of the phalse with sugar and water and then put us all cousins to work (talk about child labour shall we). Our duty would be to mash the shit out of the phalse, forgive the colloquial language ofcourse we didn’t use this word at that point. But it is pretty much what we did. After we completely mashed it, granny would filter the seeds and whatever pulp had been left. I remember her gently chiding us if there was too much pulp. Sigh what does one really do with memories like these.
Last month when I was in Delhi, I ate my heart full of these and then brought 2 kgs back home with me. I ate most of them but on a whim, I made the sharbat with some reliving some of those childhood moments with my son now. We both gulped down a glass each. Then later in the evening, I spiked some of the sharbat with a generous helping of gin. I swear it made it better and no I am not an alcoholic, I have just grown up with a good taste.
So without further delay, here is the recipe. Find the last bit of Phalse to make it or bookmark it for next year. Do tell me what do you think about it on twitter, instagram or FB. And don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter by entering your email id in the box on the right.
How to make Phalse Ka Sharbat
- 500 gms Phalse
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala or black salt
- 2 cups water
- Soak phalse, sugar and water together for an hour or so. You can add sugar later as well but I feel it helps to pulp and break down the berrier easily
- After an hour, mash as much phalse as you can. Use your fingers to pulp essentially
- Filter the seeds and pulp. Add the black salt or chaat masala and served chilled
Aam Panna is another Indian summer cooler you can try.