Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
Fruit drinks (including shakes and smoothies) are very popular in the Philippines and are available year-round. The main ingredients and the preparation are almost always the same regardless which fruit is added. It all depends on the availability or on which fruits are in season.
The constant ingredients are sugar and water. Add-ons are optional and base on individual preference. Vanilla, anise, peppermint and other flavouring may be added. Milk is also added in some.
Here are two easy recipes that you can make. One uses green mango and the other, coconut. These two are abundant in the Philippines and are perennial favorites among Filipinos. Needless to say, these are healthier alternatives to soda and commercially prepared fruit juices. If you have issues about the sugar content, you may lessen the quantity or outright substitute with your brand. I opt for the former as I have noticed a difference in taste when I once used sugar substitute. In restaurants, I always ask that the syrup be served on the side. This way, I control the sweetness (sugar) of the concoction. Enjoy!
Green Mango Shake
You will need two cups of cut-up green mangoes, one cup sugar and one cup water for the syrup, about a quarter cup of water, shaved ice or cube ice. Prepare your blender or food processor.
In a saucepan, boil sugar and one cup of water until sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes syrupy. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Set aside and let cool.
Meanwhile, wash and peel the mangoes. Cut the fleshy part and disregard the seeds. Place the cut mango and put in the blender with small amount of water. Blend until smooth while gradually adding the cooled syrup, according to your taste. Add the shaved ice and mix. Pour in tall glass and serve cold.
Iced Buko (Coconut Drink)
Whole young coconuts
Sugar to taste
Milk, bottled water (optional)
Young coconuts are preferred in this recipe. The flesh/meat is smooth and soft, almost gelatinous unlike mature coconuts. The number of coconuts will depend on how many people you intend to serve this. If you are like me who loves eating coconut meat, you may want to use 3 young coconuts which are sufficient for two servings.
Crack the coconut and reserve its water/juice. Split the shell, scoop or scrape the meat off using spoon or melon scraper. Place meat in a deep container (bowl or pitcher). Add the reserved coconut water/juice. Add sugar to taste. Water (bottled) may be added if the coconut water is not enough. Chill. Serve cold, with or without milk.