Whats your favorite beverage? I m not much of a beverage person, but am always up for a glass of water – slightly warm during winters & at room temperature during summers.Other than that, fresh fruit & vegetable juices as well as a couple of homemade ones make it to my list.I distance myself from store-bought beverages, unconsciously.
P doesnt care much – his HUMONGOUS liking for beverages is oblivious of the concept of homemade or store bought.The need to quench the thirst comes above all the calorie counting that I do. At times, it makes me think that men have evolved to be way carefree than women in few regards.Anyhow.
As I write this, our refrigerator is stocked with all sorts of flavored lemonades, coconut water, mango nectar, soda cans & weird-looking smoothies. I m not joking. This is pretty much the same all round the year – he drinks more than he eats – I seldom tell him. Needless to say refrigerator space is one eternal bone of contention between me and P.
Jal Jeera is an essential indian summer beverage, served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment with meals.You will find a lot of street vendors serving chilled jal jeera stored in earthern pots sitting atop their decorated carts in India. It would not be inappropriate to say that Jal Jeera is another show stopper from food & drink paradise which adorns indian streets. I just can’t imagine rounding up summers without it.
A crisp concoction of tamarind water (jal) & cumin (jeera) flavored with mint, black salt, chillies & ginger. Each ingredient plays a role – tamarind & mint have cooling properties, cumin & black salt aid in digestion & chillies provide the essential indian kick. Many people use fresh lemon juice instead of tamarind pulp in their preparation and skip sugar. I like to mix spicy, sour, sweet in the version I prepare at home.
Indian Tamarind is quite sharp & fibrous in taste as compared to the Thai variety. You need to soak it for few hours in water & mash to separate seeds & fibre to extract the pulp. Now a days – readymade tamarind paste is also available in indian stores. Quite tangy & smoky in taste, jal jeera is usually topped with boondi – puffed, crispy chickpea flour balls (available in indian stores) & crushed ice.
Ingredients (Makes 6-8 Servings)
- 1 cup tamarind pulp (see notes)
- 2 tbsp roasted jeera (cumin seeds)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 18-20 fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 tbsp kala namak (black salt, substitute with table salt)
- 1 serrano chilli (de- seeded , if desired)
- 2 tsp red chilli flakes (adjust to tolerance)
- 3″ fresh ginger shoot, peeled & roughly chopped
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Table salt (to adjust)
- 5 cups water, cold
- To Garnish – crushed ice, boondi, mint leaves (optional)
Tip everything except table salt & 5 cups of water into your blender. Blend for 2-3 minutes until you get a smooth but runny paste. Place a colander over a large bowl & sieve the paste through it. Note – I sieve the paste a couple of times to obtain a clear(er) drink. Place the collected paste into a jug, top with 5 cups of water. Adjust the salt.Chill till ready to serve.
Before serving, stir thoroughly, pour into glasses, garnish & serve.
Jal Jeera keeps fresh for 3-4 days, refrigerated. It can also be served as pani for indian street food- pani puri.
- To see how to extract tamarind pulp at home, click here.
- Store bought tamarind paste can also be used in this recipe. The paste is more concentrated and way salty compared to home extracted version.Adjust the quantity to your liking.
- You can substitute tamarind pulp with lemon juice. The taste differs from traditional recipe but still good.
- Place cumin seeds in a sauce pan and roast over medium heat.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.