Before you start getting ideas, this is the modern Anglicized name for the humble chaas…..
Chaas is a traditional refreshing buttermilk drink served at all restos or dhabas serving North Indian cuisine but is more popular in Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
I had my first glass of chaas at the ‘much famed’ Gyan Vaishnav Dhaba in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. It was served in tall dark beer bottles and hence the name. This rustic, refreshing, chilled drink that the serving boy recommended (I asked for Pepsi!) went amazingly well with hot buttered tandoori rotis, paneer butter masala and roasted pappads. It was love at first taste…..so much so that I had this same meal combo every Thursday for 2 years of my college life (why Thursdays? Because we had the worst dinner in our mess on that day – oily soggy baturas and bland chole).
Though it is lassi (sweet buttermilk preparation) that gained global recognition, for me it will always be chaas. Though I love the South Indian equivalent of this drink (that’s a whole different post), my first preference will always be chaas.
Basically, chaas is a refreshing buttermilk drink which is subtly spiced with chat masala, cumin, black salt and asafetida. The chat masala and black salt is what gives this drink its unique flavour. It is extremely simple to prepare and is one of the healthiest and cooling drinks to combat the summer heat.
Recipe Courtesy – Tarla Dalal
1. Fresh plain curd/yoghurt – 2 cups
2. Cumin seeds/jeera powder – ½ tsp
3. Ginger paste – 1/4th tsp
4. Green chilli paste – 1/4th tsp
5. Black salt – ½ tsp
6. Salt – to season
7. Vegetable oil – 1 tsp
8. Cumin seeds/jeera – ¼ tsp
9. Asafetida/hing – a pinch
10. Water – 2-3 cups (depends on thickness of curd)
11. Coriander leaves – for garnish
• Blend curd, cumin seed powder, ginger paste, green chilli paste and black salt along with water.
• Temper cumin seeds in hot oil. Remove from flame and add a pinch of asafoetida.
• Add this to the buttermilk, mix well and season with salt.
• Serve chilled with finely chopped coriander leaves as garnish.