Summer days were hot in Bombay (Mumbai), but at the end of the school year, I'd get a little pocket money each day from my mother, which I would diligently invest in some sort of snack. My preferred cooling agents were tall glasses of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, limeades or lemonades, and each of these babies would be flavoured with a combination of spices and fresh herbs, making them the perfect thirst quencher and refresher. This is my version of lemonade from those happy summer days. This lemonade is best drunk as soon as it is made as the flavours of the cumin and ginger are lost within a few hours, and fresh mint tends to darken.
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 125 ml (½ cup) lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
- 8 cm piece ginger, peeled, chopped
- 900 ml chilled water
- 45–60 ml (¼ cup) light molasses
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 8 thin lemon slices, plus extra, to serve
- ice cubes, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Toast the cumin seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat for 15 seconds or until just starting to turn brown and you can smell the aroma. (If the cumin seeds burn or turn black, discard and start again.) Immediately transfer to a mortar and gently crush once with the pestle (don't over-crush). Transfer the toasted cumin seeds to a large jug with the lemon juice.
Place the ginger and 60 ml (¼ cup) chilled water in the mortar and crush with the pestle to form a slurry and extract the ginger flavour. Pass the slurry through a tea strainer or small sieve into a small bowl and press the pulp with a spoon to extract all the juice. Transfer the ginger juice to the jug with the molasses.
Stack the mint leaves, then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife. Transfer the mint leaves to the jug with the remaining 840 ml chilled water. Stir to combine, then taste to make sure the lemonade is sweet enough; if not, add more molasses. Add the lemon slices and stir to combine.
To serve, stir the contents of the jug and pour into chilled glasses containing ice cubes. Top with extra sliced lemon.
• This lemonade is best drunk as soon as it is made as the flavours of the cumin and ginger are lost within a few hours, and fresh mint tends to darken.
Recipe from A Brown Table by Nik Sharma, with photographs by Nik Sharma.