Today is Ram Navami, a major festival in India. It celebrates the birth of Lord Ram (supposed to be the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Ram is often described as the ideal man. The huge and impressive volume written by Valmiki on the life of Ram is a very holy book for Hindus and one of the longest (much longer than Illiad or Odyssey). You can offer the Lord anything as an offering. Different households have different traditions in South India, though the Northern parts of the country have a more unified practice. But even in South India, most households offer panagam (a sweet drink) and neer mor or sambaram (very watery yogurt). My recipe today is very simple – it is the sambaram. While the recipe is simple, it is one of the most refreshing drinks to beat the very harsh summer heat of India. I am sure that anyone trying it will fall in love with sambaram.
1 cup vegan yogurt (curd)
2 cups of water
1/2″ piece ginger
2 small shallots (optional since onions are not used in offerings to the Gods)
1 green chili
1 sprig curry leaves, crushed using the hand
Salt to taste
Crush the onion (if using), ginger and green chili using a pestle/mortar
You can also do this in a blender, but do not grind into a smooth paste
Transfer the yogurt to a mixing bowl
Add the water and mix well so that there are no lumps (you can use a whisk)
Add salt, crushed onion, ginger, green chili paste
Add the crushed curry leaves
Serve chilled and beat the summer heat
For my friends in various parts of the world, use locally available herbs if some of these ingredients are not available.