Old Fashioned Jaljeera/ Spiced Cumin drink/ Appetiser Jaljeera Drink
Jaljeera literally means Jal i.e water and jeera i.e cumin. Means Cumin water. Though there are many other spices apart from cumin in the composition of jaljeera, cumin still remains the main ingredient.
Jaljeera is a traditional summer drink, specially made during hot dry weather, to combat the effects of dry winds and heat stroke. It has digestive properties which makes it an appetizer.
Amalgamation of spices like fennel, mint, pepper, and lemon makes it tangy and spicy. Jaljeera is a popular welcome drink in many traditional get-together, and at the same time, it is a rustic street drink.
I have memories of seeing street vendors with large earthen pots, covered in a red cloth and
at home, I use jaljeera in many ways and with a combination of ways. It makes a great spicy water filling for the paani pori. Jaljeera has a sweet version with the addition of jaggery which is apt to serve to people who prefer a less spicy version of the drink.
It is usually served garnished with crisp gram flour tiny balls called boondi. My daughter Si makes sure that we add it just before it is ready to be sipped as she like the boondi crisp as it adds a crunch with each sip.
I usually make jaljeera powder using some dry spices and blend it up with some muddled mint leaves at the time of serving. It becomes very handy as just a spoon full of the powder can be stirred into a chilled glass of water and some chopped mint leaves can be added. I add dried mint leaves to the trecipe to make sure all the flavours are available at the time when fresh mint is not around.
For more such rustic street drinks of India, you can read my recipe of masala lemonade.