Chill Out with Cumin
Cumin seed is a standby for making tasty cooling beverages in the tropical East. If you visit South Asia, you might not make it to the Taj Mahal, but one thing’s pretty certain: you’ll drink jal jeera. This cooling cumin drink is India’s lemonade, sweet iced tea and mint julep all rolled into one.
The main ingredient, cumin seed, lends its cooling effect, and is the core of the drink. Jal (water) jeera (cumin) often contains lemon, but it need not. Sometimes tamarind (imli), sometimes not, like any good Grandma recipe. And you will encounter as many recipes as there are Indian Grandmas. Some you will like, and some you could leave, like your own Grandma’s recipes.
But you don’t have to travel half way around the world for this delicious cooler. It’s easy to make, and you have the ingredients right in your kitchen. Here are some recipes to try:
- The folks at food-india.com have a good basic jal jeera recipe you might like to start with.
- Over at Indobase you’ll find a version that adds cilantro (coriander leaves), which makes it even cooler and adds a yummy snap.
- I particularly like to use tamarind in my jal jeera. If you’d like to experiment with some tamarind, see this recipe at Sonzy’s Kitchen.
- If mango sounds interesting, Awesome Cuisine has a jal jeera version that includes dried mango powder and all the other exotic ingredients you’d find in hot, tropical India.