As I look back, summer is typically the time when I fill the pages of the blog with drinks and beverages that aren’t spiked with crazy amounts of sugar. There was this Pomegranate Soda that had no added sugar, while this Cucumber Cooler and Peach Agua Fresca have subtle amounts, just to keep you refreshed. I usually don’t crave salty drinks, but my parents and ‘A’ have been nudging me to make ‘chaas’, with a twist. For my Mom, who grew up in Amritsar, summer was synonymous with ‘chaas’ that accompanied lunch and was made afresh, every day by their cook. Life in Mumbai, is bereft of such luxuries of extravagant menus for every meal, but we make the best of what we’ve got, right?
The idea to add beetroot was my Dad’s, who has been eating beetroot regularly since his bout of ill-health last year. While it is absolutely lovely, and makes this chaas ‘pop’ with colour and flavour, if you are someone who can’t stand them for some reason, you can skip them! Buuut… don’t skip the tempering or ‘tadka’ that I’ve added to this ‘chaas’, it adds the final punch of flavours!
We start with boiling a beetroot until it is tender and a knife pierces through it easily. Drain the water and let beetroot cool. See this one chilling-out here and posing for the camera?
Right, while that’s happening we’re going to whisk the yogurt and water together. This will give us the ‘buttermilk’ we need for this salty ‘lassi’ or ‘chaas’.
Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid that’s left behind after butter is churned from cream, but this mixture of yogurt and water is what is most popular for making salty buttermilk, salty ‘lassi’ or ‘chaas’ in most homes. I’ve used the whisk attachment of the KitchenAid Pro Lines Series, 5-speed Hand Blender on low speed to mix them together.
You might need to add just a tablespoon of water to blend the beetroot into a puree. At this point, I switched to the ‘S’ blade attachment and jar of the KitchenAid Pro Line Series, 5-Speed Hand Blender.
Just stir that into the ‘chaas’… and just watch it turn the funkiest shade of pink. Or is it fuschia? You decide!
Tempering, or adding the ‘tadka’ is my favourite bit of this recipe. I love that curry leaves, chillies, ginger and mustard seeds have the power to transform the flavour of this chaas!
Serves 6 to 8
– 1 beetroot
– 1 ½ cups / 365 gms yogurt
– 3 cups water
– ½ Tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
– 15 curry leaves
– 2 to 3 green chillies, chopped
– 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
– Salt, to taste
– Boil the beetroot until it’s tender and can easily be pierced with a knife. Drain the water and let the beetroot cool.
– In a large bowl or jug, whisk together the yogurt and water.
– Peel the cooled beetroot and roughly chop into 8 pieces. Add it to the jar of a blender & a tablespoon of water and puree it until it is smooth. Whisk it into the ‘chaas’.
– In a small pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves, chopped green chillies & ginger. Heat only for about 30 seconds or so, until the spices become aromatic. Take it off the heat & stir into the beetroot chaas. Add salt to taste, and serve chilled. Stir before serving.