I shouldn’t be complaining much because the temperatures do not normally go beyond 37C where I live, which isn’t so bad when you consider that 45C is the norm in summer in many parts of India! Of course, the one nice thing about the summer is that it’s time for India’s much awaited favourite – mangoes, and more mangoes.
The taste of Jaljeera is a balance of strongly tangy, a little salty, and a hint of sweet with a lot of spice. Jaljeera is often made and served without any sugar though some people prefer their Jaljeera a bit on the sweeter side, but to my mind a little sugar balances out the other flavours but only to the extent where it doesn’t overpower the spices in the drink.
You can also use chilled soda instead of water for a twist on the original. As for the spices, and all the other ingredients, do tweak the amounts to suit your taste as this recipe is more of a set of instructions than an exact recipe and can be customized to personal preferences.
Jaljeera (A Spiced Cumin Flavoured Mint & Lemon Cooler)
Ingredients:1 small bunch mint leaves (about 1 cup loosely packed mint)A few sprigs of fresh coriander (about 1/4 cup loosely packed leaves)1” piece of gingerJuice of 2 to 3 largish limes (or 2 tsp thick tamarind pulp)2 tsp cumin seeds1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)1 tsp black peppercorn1tsp amchur (dried mango powder)2 tsp sugar1 tsp black salt/ Indian rock salt (kala namak)3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)5 cups of chilled water1/3 cup boondi (small chickpea fritter balls) for garnishing
Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan till they start gving off an aroma. Do not let them darken. Cool and pound/ grind into a somewhat coarse powder. Pound and grind the fennel seeds and the black peppercorn as well.Put the mint, coriander, ginger and the lemon juice in a blender or the chutney jar of your mixer/ grinder and grind into as fine a paste as possible. Add a few tsp of water if necessary while grinding.Put this paste in a large jug or pan, add the chilled water, the powdered cumin, fennel and peppercorn, the black/ rock salt, mango powder, sugar and salt to taste. Stir the mixture well and strain to remove the solid particles.Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with the boondi and slices of lime and mint leaves (optional). Serve chilled immediately. Jaljeera is best made and served fresh. Do not keep this in refrigerated for more than a couple of hours as the colour of the Jaljeera tends to become darker and the freshness of the spices disappears.Server chilled garnished with boondi. This recipe makes 4 tall glasses of Jaljeera.
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