Scented Almond Milk Cooler

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

         Phool Bhag, the palace compound of Pratapkumar, Crown Prince of Alwar, is an example of spiritual management and nature’s perfect arrangements. Situated in Rajasthan’s northeastern arid desert, the complex encompasses acres of flower-spangled gardens and lakes and offers sanctuary to numerous bird and animal species –elephants, camels, cows, buffaloes, deer, horses, peacocks, sheep, rabbits, goats, lions and tigers. Pratap Kumar attributes his wealth and success in life to his dedicated daily worship in the Sri janaki-Vallabha Temple. This statement reflects his personal lifestyle and philosophy: “In India, the temple is the center of activity in the royal place. Worship of the Lord must personally be performed by the king before he can accept worship in the palace”. the Sri janaki-Vallabha Temple kitchens engage nearly 20 expert cooks in the service of the Deities. Though they excel in local Rajasthani cuisine, they are proficient in numerous others. This is done of the cooling beverages served during the hot summer months.

Preparation and nut soaking time: about 1 hour
Serves: 4

2/3 cup (100 g) blanched almonds
teaspoon (2 ml) cardamom seeds
4 whole peppercorns
2 cups (480 ml) boiling water
cup (60 ml) honey
2 cups (480 ml) white grape juice
tablespoon (7 ml) rose water
2 cups (480 ml) still water or sparkling water

1.    Place the almonds, cardamom seeds and peppercorns in a bowl and add 1 cups (300 ml) boiling water. Set aside for 1 hour. Pour into a blender, cover, and reduce the nuts to a fine paste. Add the remaining 3 /4 cup (180 ml) boiling water and the honey and blend for minute.
2.    Line a sieve with three thicknesses of cheesecloth. Pour the nut milk through the sieve, then extract as much liquid as possible. (the nut pulp can be saved for cutlets or salad dressing). Add a little grape juice to the blender and process briefly to release any almonds sticking to the sides of the jar. Add to the sieved nut milk.
3.    Pour the remaining grape juice, rose water and water into the nut milk and blend well. Chill before serving.