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Kasai (Kashai, Kadha) Warm Beverage

Coriander seeds are fragrant and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They're used very often in curries and other traditional Indian dishes in the powdered form. They are believed to have many health benefits including helping to lower blood sugar levels because of its diuretic property and reduce blood sugar levels by increasing enzyme activity in the body. In fact, coriander seeds should be used with caution as it has been observed they reduce blood pressure in a very short time and to a great extent. The vitamin K present in them is said to help prevent osteoporosis and support heart health. The antioxidants in coriander seeds may help reduce the risk of some cancers as well as slow the aging process. The antimicrobial compounds in them may help fight infections, and the anti-inflammatory properties they have may promote brain, skin, and digestive health. Cumin seeds, like coriander seeds, are rich in vitamins, minerals (especially iron), antioxidants and antimicrobial/antibacterial compounds. Cumin seeds have been used to treat digestive problems traditionally and they have almost the same health benefits as coriander seeds. Fennel seeds also have more or less the same properties. They are specially used as a mouth freshener after meals traditionally because they help reduce bad breath. This is because of the specific aromatic essential oil in them that has antibacterial properties.

I remember having this kasai made with the special proportions of coriander, cumin and fennel seeds pretty often as a child and teenager. It was also served at weddings and at special events. It’s a great fragrant drink with great health benefits and tastes awesome with a little jaggery to sweeten it. And the powder is so easy to make and can be kept in the fridge for a couple of months without losing its fragrance.

Recipe: Darshana Muzumdar

Makes ¾ cup kasai powder

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dhania (coriander seeds)
  • ¼ cup jeera (cumin seeds)
  • ⅛ cup saunf (fennel seeds)
  • ½ tsp methi dana (fenugreek seeds) optional

Method

Dry roast each ingredient lightly in a thick bottomed steel kadhai on low to medium heat transferring each to a plate to cool as it gets done. This process is only to remove any moisture from the ingredients so the powder will last longer. You can also simply powder it all in a blender if you prefer not to roast it.

To make kasai for two people, add one heaped tablespoon of jaggery to one and a quarter cup of water and bring it to a boil stirring till all the jaggery is dissolved.

Add one teaspoon of the kasai powder to it and allow it to boil for five to ten seconds.

Check for the level of sweetness, adjusting it if necessary, turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the kasai powder to infuse for at least three minutes. This will also let the powder settle at the bottom.

Strain into a cup without stirring it and enjoy it warm.

This kasai can also be allowed to infuse for longer and served at room temperature. Adjust the jaggery as per your preference.

The powder can be preserved for a month or two in an airtight jar kept in the fridge.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

This is an infused beverage so it cannot have a WFPB version and especially as it’s sweetened with jaggery.

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