Rani has a stall next to me at the markets. Originally from Mauritius, she makes wonderful flavoursome curries originating from her home country as well as from India. You can eat her meals at the markets (try Rani’s dosa for breakfast), take home a prepackaged meal or buy a spice paste to make your own curry at home. Last week Rani shared a delicious lime drink that she had made. It was a hot and humid day (yet another of our relentless summer days, that has continued despite the offical change in seasons) and this drink just hit the spot – just the right amount of sweetness, tartness from the lemon and a hint of salt. The eye catching element to this drink is the addition of basil seeds (or Tulsi), which are soaked for a short time and acquire a jelly like coating, making them look a little like frog spawn. Don’t let this be put you off! It looks lovely and the seeds are very small so you don’t end up with a mouthful of large jelly like bits.
Basil seeds are regularly used in India and South East Asia and you should be able to get them from an Indian grocer or on line. My local Indian grocer didn’t have any in stock but fortunately the basil growing in the garden was going to seed so I painstakingly extracted the seeds from my home grown plants. The variety isn’t the same as that traditionally used (sweet basil as opposed to Thai basil), and it took a while to get the required one teaspoon of seeds (they are pretty small seeds) but it was worth it. The recipe also calls for an optional pinch of black salt, another ingredient in Indian and South Asian cooking. It has a somewhat sulphury smell and a savoury flavour. I picked up a generous packet from my local Indian grocer for $1.80. Local limes are abundant at the moment so make the most of them.
Thank you to Rani from Rani’s Cuisine for supply this recipe. Find out more about Rani, her food and recipes on her website.