There is good news whether you are vegan or lactose intolerant or are looking for healthier alternatives to cow milk. The vegan alternatives available in the market are quite costly. However, you can easily make a few of these at home, and they are tasty and refreshing too. Many of these are usually also made regularly as summer drinks in many Indian households. These chilled kinds of milk in many flavours also help break the monotony of the same old milk-based beverages.
Ragi milk is a beverage that is quite commonly made in most of South India. This is considered a healthy and refreshing option for the scorching summers and is very easy to make. Wash and soak a cup of Ragi (Finger Millet) overnight for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours. In the morning, grind it in a mixer jar for a few minutes, and you will see the milk forming. When you feel the ragi is ground enough, strain the milk into a jar. You can even use a clean muslin cloth for this. Repeat this process at least three times with the leftover ragi paste after straining, adding little water each time. For flavour, you could add a few cardamom pods and a bit of jaggery as well while grinding. This makes it really refreshing and can be had immediately or after chilling in the refrigerator.
This is another easy and healthy milk option that can replace cow milk and provide enough nutrients. Soak a cup of almonds overnight in enough water. In the morning, rinse and mix at least three cups of water and run the mixer for a few minutes till it is ground fine. You may add more water depending on the consistency you like. Grind fine; however, if required, you can strain this milk as well for smoothness. Again, you may add any sweetener of your choice to make it more palatable. This can also be had immediately or after chilling it.
So, here is another healthy recipe with oats; it’s not just upma, dosa, idli, or masala oats that you can make. You can as easily also make oats milk which is good for health. Soak a cup of rolled oats overnight and in the morning, following the same process as that for ragi milk. Beat it in a mixer, strain and repeat the process twice with the leftover paste after straining. Adjust the water consistency as per your requirement, and the oats milk is ready. This can also be flavoured as per your choice and tastes best when served chilled.
This milk is not something new, at least for the people of South India. Coconut milk is used in many sweet dishes as well as curries for its distinctive flavour. Many people have it as is with some jaggery mixed also, and it is a favourite among kids. The good part is that it is nutritious as well. Use one or two cups of grated coconut, add water to it and beat thoroughly in a mixer jar. This will then have to be strained, and the remaining pulp is beaten two to three times again with little water to get coconut milk. Same as for ragi, you may add a few cardamom pods and jaggery as desired while beating, and it will be extremely refreshing to have. This is the base of many payasams as well in South India.
This is a costly option and is also considered to provide heat to the body. Hence, it is better not to consume it much in the summer and is good for the winter season. However, you can have it occasionally and in moderate quantities without any issues. Soak a cup of cashew overnight and beat it thoroughly in the mixer till it is fully blended. Adjust water consistency to maintain the thickness you like, and it can be had without straining.
Peanut and Soy Milk
The process is the same as that of almond, oats and ragi. Soak one cup overnight, beat, blend thoroughly and strain it to get the milk. For both peanuts and soy, adjust water consistency and beat two to three times as per your choice to minimize wastage.