Sharbat badam (almond sharbat)

Yield: 1 Bottle

Measure Ingredient
2 ounces Almonds; shelled
2 ounces Melon, cucumber, or pumpkin seeds
8 \N Green cardamoms (illaichi)
¼ teaspoon Almond essence
1½ pounds Sugar; yes, 1 1/2 pounds!
1¼ pint Water; divided use
1 tablespoon Ruh kewra or 4 drops of kewra essence
3 smalls Potassium metabisulphite granules (do not use in xs)
\N 2 ounces is about 57 grams.

NOTES:

You can leave out melon seeds and double the quantity of almonds.

Potassium metabisulphite is a chemical preservative. This recipe doesn't mention refrigeration as a means of storing this syrup; a western adaptation would be to leave out the chemical and store the syrup in the refrigerator.

While neither this recipe nor the cookbook mentions diluting this, I assume this is a syrup concentrate meant to be diluted before serving. The cookbook says the recipe yields "1 bottle." "Almonds mixed with kernels of melon seeds is an age-old Indian drink. In addition to being a refreshing drink it is considered highly useful in improving intellectual capacity. The conventional method consists in grinding the ingredients and preparing the sharbat, which has to be made fresh every day just before it is to be served. The method described below however eliminates this tiresome procedure and enables one to prepare and store the sharbat." Soak the almonds and seeds overnight in cold water sufficient to cover them. Peel the skins and grind (use a stone slab or a mortar and pestle that does not smell of spices) into a smooth paste whilst adding 4 ounces of water every now and then. Strain the paste through muslin. Reserve juice.

Grind the leftover paste with 3 ounces water, strain and repeat this process a second time. Add this juice to reserved juice.

Then grind the leftover pulp using ¾ pint water. Strain; mix in sugar, stir and cook on slow fire til the syrup thickens to one-thread consistency.

Add ½ pint of the reserved juice and the extract of the cardamoms prepared by grinding them along with their skins and a little water.

Simmer and remove the scum over the boiling syrup. Boil for a minute or two; remove from the fire. Strain through muslin and cool.

Add ruh kewra or essence, the almond essence and potassium metabisulphite dissolved in a small quantity of syrup. Pour into sterilised bottles and cork with cleaned and boiled tops and seal with paraffin wax.

Source: Mrs. Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery

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