Chef K. N. Vinod owns several popular restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area. This savory beverage is wonderfully refreshing.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 ounce peeled fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch)
1/2 serrano green chili, seeded (optional)
2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 1/2 cups water
Ice cubes, for serving
Cut the curry leaves into fine shreds. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool and crush to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Cut the ginger into fine shreds. Coarsely chop the chili, if using.
Combine the curry leaves, cumin, ginger, chili (if using), yogurt and water in a blender and mix well. Blend in salt to taste. Serve with ice cubes.
For a milder-flavored drink, lightly crush the curry leaves, ginger and green chili, stir them into the yogurt and water along with the crushed cumin, and refrigerate. Strain out the solids and season with salt before serving over ice.
If you do not want your drink to be spicy hot, omit the green chili.