“When life gives you lemons, make jal jeera” – Me
There are many things about Dubai that I love, but one of my favorites is the variety of international cuisine. Many people have asked me about the different types of food here and what I normally like to eat. So I have decided to include a international cuisine section to highlight foods and restaurants I try while living in Dubai and traveling abroad. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon and thank you to all of my readers who give me feedback and ask questions. It is greatly appreciated! 🙂
Do you know what this is and would you drink it?
It’s not common in the United States, but it is a popular, refreshing drink from North India. Although Rocket and I joke that it looks like dirty water, jal jeera is one of my favorite drinks to have with Indian chaat (snack food). It’s not a common drink of choice amongst foreigners, so I usually get a confused look from the server when I order it!
By now you are probably wondering what’s in it and what does it taste like? Jal jeera (जल जीरा) is Hindi for cumin water. “Jal” means water and ”jeera” means cumin. However, cumin isn’t the only spice in this drink. It is a mix of Indian flavors blended together and chilled. Personally, I find it more flavorful than “spicy hot,” but that all depends on the recipe.
In North India, having jal jeera is refreshing and energizing, similar to an ice cold cup of lemonade on a hot sunny day in the United States. It is also believed to aid in digestion, keeping you hydrated while aleviating stomach pains.
You should try it! If you can’t find it where you live, below is one recipe among the many that can be found online. Try it and let me know what you think!
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes + Chilling Time
Ingredients (1 cup ≈ 250 ml)
- 2 Tbsp tamarind paste/pulp
- 3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 4 tsp black salt
- 2 tsp lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 5-6 cups of cold water
- 1 tbsp gram flour pearls (boondis)
Optional: You can add a pinch of chili (Kashmiri) for extra spice. If you want it to be sweeter add honey or jaggery.
- Rinse the mint leaves.
- Add all of the ingredients with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water into a food processor (except the boondis and mint) and blend it together.
- Strain the mixture.
- Add the remaining water (if necessary) to the strained mixture.
- Garnish with mint to taste, and keep in the fridge to serve it chilled
- Add boondis before serving.
There are endless variations, so don’t stress (like I would have) if you don’t have one of the ingredients.