Years ago when I lived in the small village of Kanadukathan, http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=10.175599&lon=78.7842035&z=16&l=0&m=b in Tamil Nadu, India, I learned from my friend Lakkuman to put Cumin seed in the drinking water. Water is by nature cooling, and there we used to keep the water in an earthenware pot, which had a lovely refrigerating effect. It was so hot in summer.
Whether it was for its antibacterial effect, whether it was just because it tastes good, or whether it was because cumin protects Agni from the cooling effect of the copious amounts of water you must drink in that climate, I do not know, but I can say Cumin water (“Seeragum Tani” in Tamizh or “Jeera Pani” in Hindi is quite refreshing.
(One of the issues in hot weather is that as we drink more and more water, to cool off, as well as cool energy foods like melons and cucumber, we may damage our digestive fire which is already weaker this time of year. So adding cumin to water helps to protect.
The reverse is true in winter. Our digestive fire is stronger, and we eat lots more heavy energy and warming foods, like baked veggies and stews, even a little fried food. So we naturally balance with some cooling foods, as in baked turkey with cranberry sauce. Stewed fruits. Etc.)
I like sometimes to add a little cumin, fennel, and even fenugreek to a jar of drinking water and just let it sit. Fenugreek is bitter, but it also has a lovely fragrant, almost mapley taste.
So I figured, why not try it in Lemonade?
In an earlier entry I discussed Indian Lemonade (see earlier article http://blog.bodymindwellnesscenter.com/2011_07_01_archive.html).
Today I decided to make it with cumin and fennel. Specifically I used black cumin, of which vast health claims are made by Muslim physicians (you can by black cumin oil in any Arab market), and which is used in a lot of Pakistani cooking. Black cumin is a sharper, more intensely pungent taste than ordinary cumin, so be careful, a little bit goes a long way.
I also used a special kind of fennel, called Lucknow Fennel, which they have sometimes at the Indian market. Lucknow Fennel is smaller, finer, and and softer than regular fennel, a bit more fragrant. I prefer it most of the time for my Indian cooking.
24 oz water
1/8 tsp black cumin
1/8 tsp lucknow fennel
lime to taste, less than 1/2 of a large lime is how much i used
dash of salt
rose water to taste, i used about 1/2 tsp
sweetener to taste, i used about 2 tsp date syrup
This suited me very well today. I had gone for a 45 minute swim, so I was very thirsty, but on the other hand a bit cooled off from the water.
As Mr. Zia at the Afghan restaurant used to say, “try it, if you don’t like it , you don’t pay!:
copyright eyton shalom, august 2011 all rights reserved use with permission
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttp://new.bodymindwellnesscenter.com