Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Coolers in Egypt

The last few recipes posted below were published by me in an article in the Oasis magazine in Egypt.

Here is what it looked like in print.

Appeared in Summer 2008 Issue.

Summer Coolers

Karishma Pais (Kim)

Now that the temperatures are regularly crossing 40C, maybe most of you like me are more interested in consuming cooling liquids and eating light salads.

While the aerated beverages are easy and seem convenient, they are most definitely not the best thing for your family’s health. There are the easy options available like the fresh orange juice sold at Metro (clean & healthy) and the many bottled fruit juices from Isis. I find the Isis juices a little strong and like to dilute them a bit with water.

Options with a little work involved are milkshakes with Nesquick or Vitrac’s flavored syrups. The almond one is especially yum.

But if you don’t mind putting in a little effort, then there is a vast mouth watering and thirst quenching range of drinks that you can prepare by yourself at home, with ingredients easily available in Egypt. The advantage is that you know that you have prepared them from healthy ingredients without any additives, artificial colors or preservatives. You can easily substitute the sugar in any of these recipes with Stevia or Splenda. Please note that the quantities mentioned are indicative. You can adjust them to your own taste.

Fresh Lime Juice/Lemonade

Squeeze the juice of 5-8 lemons (depending on size) into a pitcher. Discard the seeds. Add sugar and salt to taste. Fill with water. This can be kept chilling in the fridge and consumed over a 24 hour period.

Fresh Orange Juice

Squeeze 2 oranges and strain the juice. Add sugar to taste. Cool in the refrigerator before serving. If you want to drink it really fresh – store the oranges in the refrigerator before squeezing.

Almond Sherbet

Blanch half a kilo of almonds and skin them. Make a thin puree of the nuts in a blender/liquidizer adding a little water if necessary. (You can do this in multiple lots depending on the capacity of your blender)

Make a syrup with quarter kilo sugar (1.25 cups) and one liter water, cooking till it reaches single thread consistency.

Pour the almond puree into the syrup and cook till thickened, taking care to keep stirring.

The syrup should be thick but of pouring consistency.

You can add a teaspoon of rose water at this stage if you like.

Cool and fill into bottles.

It can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Serve diluted with water or milk and crushed ice.

Tamarind Juice

Very refreshing in the summers.

Clean 1/4 kg of tamarind, cover it with water (about 1.5 liters) and boil for 5 minutes. Then let it soak in that water for at least 6 hours.

Strain the liquid of any solid pieces. Add 2 cups of sugar.

Bottle & refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.

Home made Karkadih

Rinse ¼ kg dried karkadih. Add one liter water and boil for 5 minutes.

Let it soak in that water for at least 1 hour.

Strain and sweeten with 1 cup sugar.

Bottle and refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.


This is a staple in most Indian households during the hot summer months. It cools down the body completely and can be had in sweet or salty versions. There are so many flavors that you can add to the basic lassi. Below are a few versions to get you started.

Whisk together 450ml yoghurt (plain) with 300ml cold water. The consistency should be that of full cream milk. This is your basic lassi.

Flavor with a pinch of ginger or 1 sliced green chilli or cumin powder or a teaspoon of shredded mint or a teaspoon of chopped cilantro. Stir well. You can add salt to taste.

For a sweet version, add sugar to taste (about 1 teaspoon) to the yoghurt and water blend. You can flavor it with a dash of rose essence or orange blossom water.

For a really fancy lassi, garnish the sweet version with a tablespoon of crushed almonds or pistachios.

For a healthy lassi, whisk the mixture with 2 tablespoons of pureed fruit.

Amar al Din- Apricot juice

Get those pressed Apricot sheets from the grocery store (they are normally sold in yellow cellophane paper and are widely available during Ramadan, but even now you can find them)

Cut the Apricot sheets into thin strips and cover with cold water. Soak them until the strips dissolve.

Strain away the solid pieces and sweeten the juice to taste.

Bottle and refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.

Watermelon Cocktail

Cut watermelon into small cubes and deseed.

Sprinkle some lemon juice and sugar on top.

Add a few shredded mint leaves.

Cover and chill.

Serve in cocktail glasses as is or after pureeing the mix.

Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Fresh Juices

There are a wide variety of fruits available in the market. You can prepare fresh juices by pureeing the flesh of these fruits, adding sugar to taste and diluting with water or milk.

Remember : Citrus fruits don’t go very well with milk.

Try out some combinations on your own and maybe next year, you could be writing your recipes for the Oasis J

Kim has a background in HR and freelances as an Intercultural Trainer, Writer and HR Consultant. Currently she is a trailing wife in Egypt and uses her training, counseling and empathy skills to help other expats adjust to the move. She blogs about Egypt at


Mark by Chocolate said...

I must say, orange (cinnamon) goes very well in an ice cream and lemon in a sherbet. All nice an citrusy.

Pineapple smoothie with bananas and milk would be good.

Kim said...

Those sound like good combinations, although I'm not too fond of bananas :)

But I'll definitely try the orange, ice cream and lemon in a sherbet.


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