The Aroma of Indian Cuisine: Cumin Cooler (Jeera Pani)

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In Hindi the name literally translates to “cumin water.”  People drink this cooling beverage in the summer to quench thirst, improve digestion and eliminate flatulence. It also relieves nausea and motion sickness. Tamarind paste is made from an Indian date-like fruit, and garam masala and chat masala, optional here, are Indian spice blends; all are available in ethnic markets. Makes 4 servings.

• 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
• 2 cups warm water
• 3 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
• 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or chat masala (optional)
• 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
• Salt to taste
• Ice

1. Dissolve tamarind paste in warm water.

2. Lightly roast the whole cumin seeds and then grind to release flavor. You can substitute powdered cumin but the flavor will not be as robust. Add ground cumin and all other ingredients to tamarind water.

3. Cool, add ice and enjoy on a hot summer day.


Antara B. Mitra is a freelance writer and independent radio producer living in Manlius, New York. She loves traveling and sampling new foods.

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