By Apurba Rath

Summers are here, again. The need for cooling and refreshing drinks have certainly heightened. In Odisha, we have some really cooling summer drinks that can chill you down to your core. With making the best use of seasonal fruits, we are going to present you with 5 cooling summer drinks from Odisha. Being Odia, we have been having these drinks in summer for a really long time. And for some of these drinks, you have to visit Odisha.

Bela Pana
Bela or Wood Apple is a commonly found fruit in Odia household during the summer. This fruit has a tough coconut like shell with a mealy-textured flesh. Bela pana is the most delicious drink that is made from this funky smelling fruit. For making a Bela Pana, the flesh of the fruit, chhena (cottage cheese), bananas, dark jaggery, black pepper powder
and coconut shaving (optional) are used.

Taste: Bela pana has a natural sweetness with a woody taste. Black pepper powder adds a strong punch to the pana. Also, it gives a pleasant and musky aftertaste.

Spice Up: Garnish your Bela pana with coconut shavings. If you want to add an extra punch, add some lime juice. You can thank us later!

Palua
Almost every Odia has been fed Palua (arrowroot) for an upset stomach. Not only palua is a cooling drink, but it also acts as a medicine for infants, poor digestion etc. To make the arrowroot drink, all you need is the palua powder, cardamom powder, and milk. It is simple, quick, easy and delicious. My grandma makes this drink by adding Bayleaf while cooking Palua.

Taste: Palua has a faint flour-y bitter taste. And that’s why cardamom is added. Cardamom powder gives it the much-needed taste. Also, there is a natural sweetness, so you don’t need to add much sugar to it. The aftertaste is kind of earthy and sweet.

Spice Up: Add some mashed bananas, jaggery, and coconuts for adding flavors to the Palua drink. For kids, add some bournvita or cocoa powder.

Amba Pana
Amba Pana or aam panna is my second favorite summer drinks. I love making it as much as I enjoy drinking it. It’s made from raw mangoes, jaggery, ginger, black pepper powder, and mint leaves. While pureeing the boiled mangoes, I prefer adding some mint leaves and ginger. This drink is literally summers summed up in a glass!

Taste: Well, there are no words which will do justice to Amba pana. The sourness of the raw mango, the sweetness of mango with the freshness of mint leaves and the punch of ginger makes your taste buds go haywire.

Spice Up: Have it chilled with some mint leaves frozen with ice.

Dahi Sharbat
Dahi Sharbat is one of the summer staples in an Odia household. After a tiring hot day, dahi sharbat greets you with loads of flavors. You can do a lot with this simple drink. Either with a topping or without the topping, the choice is yours. I like my dahi sharbat savory with chilli powder, black pepper powder, and mint leaves, blended with ice to a smoothie texture.

Taste: It tastes like curd! There is an additional freshness due to the mint leaves.

Spice Up: You can add coconut shavings and roasted cashews to add flavor and crunch to this cooling summer drink.

Tanka Torani
We saved the best for the last. No trip to puri is complete without Tanka Torani at the Jagannath Temple. This is THE quintessential cooling summer drink. Not just summer, but round the year drink. Tanka Torani is traditionally made from Mahaprasad made for
Lord Jagannath.

କ୍ଷୀରି ଖେଚେଡ଼ିରେ ମନ ନ ପୂରଇ ଟଙ୍କ ତୋରାଣିରେ ମନ ତୋଷ
Lord, I am satisfied with nothing but only with your Tanka Torani.

Tanka Torani tastes better when you have it on the day after its made. Tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds, you can taste lemon, curd and also the taste of apples in this drink from fermented rice drink. The rice is allowed to ferment with lemon juice or curd and then tempered.

Taste: No words can justify the ambrosial taste of Tanka Torani.

So, these are some of the cooling summer drinks straight from Odisha. Refreshing, flavourful and healthy drinks which are part of Odia cuisine.