Cumin and Tamarind Refresher (Zeera Pani)

(Photo by Alexandra Moss/Flickr)

The Indian name for this drink, zeera pani, translates as 'cumin water'.


125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup dried tamarind pulp
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups hot water
3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch chilli powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
salt to taste
iced water
crushed ice
mint sprigs
lime slices


Soak tamarind pulp in the hot water and leave until cold. Squeeze to dissolve the pulp and separate the seeds. Strain through a nylon sieve. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, then strain again through fine sieve or muslin. Chill. At serving time dilute with iced water, and pour over crushed ice. Decorate each glass with a sprig of mint and slice of lime.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)