28 Aug2013

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Kalamansi juice. Kalamansi soda. Lime Squash. Many of use grew up with these healthier and truly soft drinks. And yet they seem to have mostly disappeared except in classic old dining places, sports clubs and the like. So it’s kind of amazing how a short trip to a neighboring country, Vietnam, can yield so many food revelations in just 72 hours or less, a lime soda amongst them. My continuing obsession with Asian limes meant I was in delightful shock to find limes all over Hanoi and at the amazing price of just PHP30-40 a kilo (they go as low as PHP120 a kilo to a high of PHP160 a kilo at local weekend markets for local dayap)! The Teen ordered a simple lime and lemongrass juice that was so refreshing… and at the same time so familiar… and yet with a nice flavor twist. I vowed to experiment with kalamansi and other lime juices when I got back to Manila…

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I had to go to Quiapo a few hours ago, and while picking up some kitchen stuff from Sin Kiam Heng, I spotted a street vendor with lots of lemongrass or tanglad. Two large bunches were purchased for just PHP50, a STEAL in the heart of city, I thought. A few meters down, I spied a vendor with loads of kalamansi, and for PHP50, I ended up with five plastic baskets worth, nearly 2 kilos or so, another STEAL, in my opinion. Back at home, we washed half of the lemongrass, say 20 stalks and removed their outer leaves and rinsed them well. I cut off all but say 6-7 inches of the pale stalk and chopped them up coarsely. Marketman tip — we also washed the kalamansi well (as we do with eggs we buy and store in the fridge) to remove any soil, dirt or worse, that you can unwittingly squeeze into your juice. :(

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Into a pot I added 8 cups of water, 4 cups of granulated white sugar, and the roughly 20 chopped up stems of lemongrass. Bring this to a boil, lower to a simmer and let this go another 15 minutes or so. Turn off the heat, add some good honey for flavor and taste if you have it, and let the lemongrass steep for another 30 minutes or so, and strain and let the flavored syrup cool. You can keep this in the fridge, covered for say 8-10 days. To make the cooler, I took a large glass, probably 24oz size, added the juice of 4 kalamansi, about 1/3 cup of the flavored simple syrup and lots of ice. Add a clean lemongrass stalk to stir the drink and add a bit of fluff. Add a straw if you like. This was just fantastic! So incredibly light and refreshing and a REAL THIRST QUENCHER. You can certainly adjust the sugar levels to your own taste… It’s great with dayap juice as well (nearly identical to the drink we tasted in Vietnam). And for variations, try this with sparkling water or soda or even perhaps a diet 7up! :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Karina says:

    Ohhh this is interesting! Mental note to try this someday. I’m also partial to a nice glass of tamarind juice with hints of ginger…

    Aug 28, 2013 | 6:48 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    Karina, tamarind juice is a more than mild laxative, I am told, and have experienced… hence our hesitation to offer it at our restaurants lest someone inadvertently “overdoses” on it. :) Ripe tamarind juice, here.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 6:51 pm

     
  3. Connie C says:

    A wonderful thirst quencher! Whenever I can I freeze calamansi juice in a silicone ice tray for easy removal, ready to be dropped in cold water or ginger tea for an instant beverage fix, a timesaver especialIy for an unexpected guest or two. I suppose you can similarly freeze the concentrated mix of tanglad brew for a longer refrigerator shelf life.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 6:57 pm

     
  4. cumin says:

    Welcome back, MM!

    This is one of the ideas I picked up from Fleur de Lys, a restaurant along Morato Avenue well known for their cakes, that serves lemongrass kalamansi and lemongrass orange in tall glasses. Very refreshing and easy to replicate at home.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 7:58 pm

     
  5. Travel Guide says:

    This is lovely. Seems like its very easy to prepare yet so healthy…i will sure try this.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 9:05 pm

     
  6. Gej says:

    Wow, this is great timing for me! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been wondering about how to do this.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 9:15 pm

     
  7. elaine says:

    I would have to try this with the tanglad:) I make the soda version: In a tall glass, squeeze enough dayap and sugar according to taste, mix, add lots of ice then the soda water last. Stir. Ay heaven!

    Aug 28, 2013 | 9:17 pm

     
  8. Khew says:

    Can’t remember if there was lime but the lemongrass drink combined really well with canned longans. Hot lemongrass tea( boil lemongrass in water, no sugar ) makes for a great non-alcoholic digestif.

    Aug 28, 2013 | 11:22 pm

     
  9. khrishyne says:

    yum yum. we are getting used to having kalamansi/tanglad, malungay tanglas coolers. just to keep the kids off sa mga synthetic nga juices

    Aug 29, 2013 | 8:10 am

     
  10. ykmd says:

    That looks so cool and refreshing!
    Belated happy birthday MM!

    Aug 29, 2013 | 12:29 pm

     
  11. greens_blossoms says:

    Mmmmmmmm will try making this soon….and looking forward to other vietnamese recipes to be posted :-)

    Aug 29, 2013 | 3:16 pm

     
  12. corrine says:

    I hope this nice drink goes to your menu. My hubby and I love the pineapple with mint leaves and the iba shake. :)

    Aug 29, 2013 | 5:14 pm

     
  13. Ohinuj says:

    bought some mexican lime cordial from Rustans the other day and mistakenly thought i could drink it straight up; that was some sour surprise! Cant wait to try your version.

    Aug 29, 2013 | 6:18 pm

     
  14. Faust says:

    Hello MM it’s been awhile. Do you have a recipe on tamarind juice?

    Aug 29, 2013 | 9:33 pm

     
  15. Nina says:

    A Viet rest. in NYC serves water with pandan… very refreshing and thirst quencher esp. during the summer.

    Aug 29, 2013 | 11:17 pm

     
  16. Eileen says:

    Very nice! I love calamansi soda!

    Aug 30, 2013 | 5:54 am

     
  17. MP says:

    How refreshing…too bad i can’t stand the smell of tanglad!!!

    Aug 30, 2013 | 8:09 pm

     
  18. Ivy says:

    Refreshing! Gotta try this.

    Have you also tried pandan and tanglad juice? Suprisingly this pairing is delicious.

    Sep 2, 2013 | 12:35 pm

     

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