Nongu and Padhani: Best cooling summer drink packed with many health benefits - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Nongu and Padhani: Best cooling summer drink packed with many health benefits

Raja - the guy who sells Nongu and Padhani near Courtrallam, Tamil Nadu

The sun is beating really hard on us. This could be one of those really hot summers. Staying cool is of paramount importance. Modern day drinks available in the super markets are loaded with sugar and artificial chemicals and don’t cool you down properly. If you wish to cool yourself down using a traditional summer fruit drink, then read on as this article is just for you.

Most of us know of the health and cooling benefits of the electrolyte packed fresh tender coconut water. But, did you know that there is something else available in the tropics that not only cools you down impressively, but is also super delicious. I am referring to a combination of a fruit and a drink made from the sap of the tree. This combo is called Nongu and Padhani or Nongu and Pathani in Tamil.

This fruit and sap combo drink is loaded with nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamins B and C and other minerals and natural sugars. This delicious summer drink is extremely low in calorific value and hence perfect for diabetics and for all those who are watching their weight, but still wish to cool down this summer. This lip smacking drink is also said to be immensely good for your skin and stomach.

Kid all smiles with his Palm fruit at Kallidaikurichi

The palmyra fruit (nongu) is part of the palmyra palm that grows abundantly in the hot and dry tropical regions of South and South East Asia. The Tirunelveli district in Southern Tamil Nadu is one of the best places to find this tree, fruit and drink and as it is my homeland, I have had the privilege of having this summer drink a good many times. The tree sap is collected every morning at dawn, diluted with water or palm fruit juice and then served with fresh palm fruit in a fresh palm leaf. No plastic, no paper cups, no straws. Everything is bio-degradable. In fact, they will turn into great compost for future plants to grow. The only thing to keep in mind is that as the day goes by, the tree sap starts fermenting. While fresh and mildly fermented are good for your body and help in reducing the body heat, the more fermented one can make you feel tipsy. Hence, make sure to ask the person about when the tree sap was collected and try to have this drink before 11 AM or latest by 12 noon to ensure that it hasn’t gotten very fermented.

Nongu fruit in palm leaf

Usually, 6 fleshy fruit pods (from 2 whole palm fruits) and 2 glasses of drink should cost you INR 60 in the countryside and could be a bit pricier in cities. This drink works pretty quickly. Within a matter of 15 minutes, you will start feeling its cooling effects and that is when 40 degrees or more heat will feel like 30 degree Celsius. This is my trick to carry on with my daily outdoor lifestyle during summer without letting the heat affect or bother me. What is your summer trick?

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