India has its own love-hate relationship with summers. In our case, the love mostly stems from the great range of seasonal food and drinks unique to the season. Take for instance, a cool glass of shikanji. You may call it a close cousin of nimbu paani. And, you are not entirely wrong. It is indeed a close and a slightly edgy cousin of your humble lemonade. Also, known as shikanjvi and shikanjbeen, shikanji is one of the most favourite cool drinks of India. The base ingredients include lemon or lime juice, ginger juice, ice and water, and other ingredients such as salt and cumin. The delicious drink is a staple across streets of North India during summers. Vendors make many litres of the beverage in advance and store in their big earthen pots covered in red cloth. Earthen pots help keeps the beverage cool. Shikanji is sold for a meagre 15-20 rupees a glass across Delhi. One can make shikanji easily at home, too. Here's what you would need to do.(Also Read: Drink Up: Lemonade, the Original Summer Thirst Quencher)
How To Make Shikanji
1. 2 lemons
2. 1 teaspoon ginger
3. ½ teaspoon of salt
4. ½ teaspoon of black salt
5. ½ teaspoon jeera powder
6. ½ tablespoon sugar
2. Pour 2 glasses of a water in it
3. Now with the help of a lemon juice squeezer, squeeze the juice directly into the water
4. Next, add black salt, sugar, jeera powder to the drink
5. Stir till the sugar dissolves. You can choose to skip sugar for a healthier shikanji
6. Your shikanji is ready. Pour the shikanji in glasses
7. Serve chilledYou may have figured by now that, shikanji is essentially just your nimbu pani with a little drama. Turns out, that this salty and delicious beverage has some amazing benefits, too.
Here are some of benefits you may not have known.
1. DigestionThe lemony beverage can do wonders for your digestion. During summers, you are often out in the sun, and binge on street food that has been lying out for a while. It is very important to take ample care of your digestion in summers. Lemon is rich in pectin fibre and ascorbic acid, both of which are said to facilitate smooth digestion. The shikanji spice mix boasting of tummy-friendly ginger, cumin and pepper, and also have properties that can help better digestion. 2. Nutrient BoostShikanji is a store house of nutrients. Lemon is rich in vitamin C; the alkaline nature of the lemons protects the cells from oxidation. Gingerol, the bioactive compound in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. According to the book, Healing Foods by DK Publishing, "its active constituent gingerol has analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial effects." Ginger extract has abilities to inhibit the growth of different types of bacteria, especially oral bacteria, which is linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums such as gingivitis and periodontitis. 3. Natural CoolantShikanji is an excellent coolant. As the temperatures soar, it is very essential to keep the body cool and hydrated. The energising beverage may also prevent loss of sodium chloride and iron during summer due to excessive sweating. (Also Read:Summer Special: 6 Seasonal Fruits With Highest Water Content)
4. Weight LossIf you monitor the amount of salt in your shikanji, your chilled glass of shikanji may also help you in your weight loss goals. Lemon is full of pectin fibre, which helps you to feel full for a longer period of time, meaning it can help you in weight loss. Lemon is also a natural cleanser and has detox properties, while ginger is good for digestion. All these properties of shikanji together help in weight loss. The summers are here in all its glory, and we cannot wait to grab our first glass of shikanji. What are you waiting for? It's time to make most of the summery beverage!
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.