With the hike in temperature and increased humidity, the people of Rawalpindi are turning towards food-based drinks to cool off including lassi, milkshakes and milk mixed with soft drinks. Residents of the garrison city also have a soft spot for badam wala doodh and rabri doodh.

Rabri is a traditional delicacy of the sub-continent. To make rabri, milk is boiled for hours on low heat till it thickens. The milk is then left in the refrigerator before it is used in dishes such as kheer, kulfi and other sweets and it is also added to milk. No sugar is added to milk when making rabri.

To make rabri doodh, milk, rabri, khoya, falooda, almonds, basil seeds are mixed in a tall glass, topped with crushed ice. Shopkeepers also add in flavours to the drink now.

Cold, milk-based drinks are popular with residents of Rawalpindi, and people also like to substitute meals with these drinks in summers — White Star
Cold, milk-based drinks are popular with residents of Rawalpindi, and people also like to substitute meals with these drinks in summers — White Star

More and more people turn to milk-based cold drinks as the summer progresses and more and more shops serving milk-based drinks are opening in the downtown and cantonment areas.

The owner of one such shop in Saddar, Danish Shabeer said his family has been in the business for two decades and claimed that his family had initiated the trend for adding different flavours to milk-based drinks.

“We use almonds and other natural ingredients to make a glass of rabri doodh and we do not use artificial milk,” he said. “Making a glass of rabri milk with sugar and ice is an art. Most people have the drink as a substitute for lunch.”

The owner of a drinks shop in Kartarpura, Mohammad Qamar said cold milk-based drinks are popular in Punjab, where people like to substitute meals with these drinks in summers. “We sever hot milk with jalebi in the winters and cold milk drinks April through to November,” he said.

Rooh Afza sharbat is also added to the drink, Mr Qamar said, adding that soda milk is popular with his customers as well.

He said people also ask for ice-cream or kulfi to be added to the drink to thicken it and add more flavour.

“Energy drinks and soft drinks are popular with the younger generation but traditional drinks, especially those which include milk, are healthier,” said Abdullah Malik, a resident of Saddar.

Rabri doodh and badam wala doodh is better for children and they should adopt a healthier lifestyle and cut down on junk and fast foods, he said.

“Milk is a healthy and refreshing drink in the summers and can be used to substitute a meal, as many visitors in the bazaar do. It is best had if you add ice-cream to it,” said Sheikh Shahid, a customer in Saddar.

He said he has always preferred a tall glass of milk-based drinks over soft drinks, especially when he has to visit a market in the summers.

“There was just one shop for milk drinks in Saddar once, but so many have opened now, which shows that most people like milk-based drinks in the summers,” he said.

Originally published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017