Jal Jeera – Indian Tamarind & Cumin Cooler

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.

Printable Recipe

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)

Method :-

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. 

Notes :-

  1. To see how to extract tamarind pulp at home, click here.
  2. 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.
  3. You can substitute tamarind pulp with lemon juice. The taste differs from traditional recipe but still good.
  4. Place cumin seeds in a sauce pan and roast over medium heat.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.


  1. You have presented this simple dink in such a stunning manner Tanvi . Loved all the photographs. Especially the one of mint and the melting ice cubes :)

  2. dassana says:

    lovely pics tanvi. jaljeera is a my fav drink. i too prefer it sweet sour spicy and especially stuffed in with some boiled chickpeas or mung sprouts in golgappas :-)

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    What a gorgeous photography… I’ve tried Thai/Vietnamese Tamarind but not Indian kind. I’d love to try Jal Jeera. Your post successfully made me thirsty for this beautiful & delicious drink, Tanvi! ;-)

    • Thanks Nami. You are always so kind. Its perfect for summers.I LOVE snacking on thai tamarind. I think you should try indian tamarind..I like the extra sharp note it has.

  4. Count me in for a glass :) Gorgeous pictures.

  5. It must taste wonderful and be si refreshing! I love the flavor of tamarind.



  6. It’s been so long since had this,:) I feel like picking the glass

  7. Absolutely love the styling here. Beautiful colors Tanvi!

  8. I love Jal Jeera but have never made it at home, cant wait to try it.

    I’m hosting a giveaway over at my blog and would love for you to stop by and participate.


    Looking forward to seeing you there.

  9. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    Don’t think I have ever had a Jal Jeera…looks very tasty.

  10. My mum makes a sweet tamarind drink with rosewater. Love all the flavors you have in your drink.
    If it is any help my husband is exactly the same..it amazes me sometimes how much juice he can drink with zero worry

  11. This sounds absolutely thirst quenching, even in this cold winter weather we’re having! I’m hosting a surprise baby shower for my sister in the US in a few weeks, when we head back for our wedding. I’m thinking this might be just the ticket or our drinks list – something so refreshing and different for Northern hemisohere summer! Also, your photos are so inspired as always.

  12. such beautiful photos- and just the thing for a hot summer day, Tanvi. x s

  13. The first photo alone is enough to make anyone thirsty!! You’ve done such a great job of styling it. Seriously – Brilliant!

  14. Sukaina says:

    Wow I’m sure this drink really packs a punch with all that chili- yum!! Living these photos too!

  15. You made it look drool worthy……i love that spicy and sweet touch in the recipe….

  16. Oh wow, this sounds and looks fantastic! What a refreshing and unique treat!

  17. I will be brave and try this drink this summer, I normally mix grapefruit or pomegranate juice with mineral water and call it a summer drink. This is a tad bit more complicated but definitely worth the try :)

  18. This is very interesting, never tried making a drink like this before! Thanks for sharing!

  19. snek26@gmail.com says:

    The first pic is such a killer! I’m sure the moment anyone sees it, they’ll want to have drink it immediately. I’m surely going to make it. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  20. A perfect summer drink! You’d see small kids selling jal-jeera at the bus stands in India – what a relief it used to be from that scorching heat. I love your photography!!

  21. Wow this sounds amazing!! Though I opt for a tall glass of ice water in the summer, I think I would absolutely love this! Pinned! Cant wait to try.

  22. Tamarind is one of my favorite juices when I want a refreshing drink…I bet I’d love this version with all the spices! Absolutely stunning photos, Tanvi!

  23. I always adore Jaljeera, fortunately I have my favorite restaurant here in Bali whom serves BEST Jaljeera. Your photos absolutely gorgeous! and the drink looks so refreshing

  24. Very different because of the cumin flavour for a drink.

  25. What an exciting summer drink! I have to tell Mark about this. Well, he is also the drink guy, so I bet he will jump up the seat to give this recipe a try once he sees it. I just love how you play with the ingredients and keep the taste in balance.

  26. Tanvi, just came across your blog. Lovely! I loved so many of your posts! Very vibrant photos.

  27. what a grate photos tanvi ….How ?

  28. Prateeksha says:

    I love this drink, its more delicious in killing summers. Will try it soon.


  1. […] Photo and recipe credits to sinfullyspicy.com […]

  2. […] would be some kind of tangy chaat,stuffed dahi vadas resting inside the fridge and spicy jal jeera to greet the […]

  3. […] Jal Jeera – A tangy drink spiced with cumin & tamarind. A Holi day must have! Make this and stuff golgappas (puffed flour rounds) with it. Yum! […]

  4. […] Featured image credit: SinfullySpicy.com Content image credit: […]

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