The smells and sounds of India drift in my memory, hazy and distant, but the tastes remain vibrant and strong day after day evoking fond memories and urging me to leave this city and see the world once again.
I remember the sweet glossy flavor of fresh coconut water after morning practice. I remember scooping at the gelatinous coconut flesh and sucking little curds of coconut meat through my plastic straw. I remember the earthy buckwheat pancakes drowning in pools of ghee and honey that I ate for breakfast each morning. I remember the piquant tang of ginger lemon honey tea and the cloyingly sweet spice of an afternoon chai, sipped from a small metal cup. I remember the rich dahl, the sour funk of fresh dosa, the complexity of coconut chutney and the sweet sweet flavor of pineapple, cashews, raisins and ghee married with tiny beads of creamy semolina. And I remember vowing to re-create the exotic cardamom lemonade I sipped on a hot afternoon.
Makes 1 quart
5 cups water, divided
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cardamom pods, crushed.
juice from 3 lemons
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of the water, the sugar and the crushed cardamom pods.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
Strain the syrup into a jar, discarding the cardamom pods.
Mix in the lemon juice, remaining 4 cups of water and cardamom powder.
Chill and enjoy.