If you are wondering what ‘kaapi’ is – its the tamil/Indian pronunciation of the word ‘Coffee’. India has always been a ‘tea’ drinking nation, as tea is grown locally. Although, this warm drink is called coffee or kaapi, it is essentially a spiced tea – made by steeping dried ginger and coriander seeds in hot water. It is often taken to provide relief to cold, cough, sore throat and nasal congestion. It is sweetened with a crystallized palm sugar, which also is believed to have medicinal qualities. I have used this and also some honey for added sweetness and a beautiful caramel color.
1 2 inch piece sukku/dried ginger
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 whole cardamom pods
1 tsp panankalkandu/crystallized palm sugar
1 tsp honey
Place all the ingredients except the sugar and honey along with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring this to a boil and simmer gently for atleast 10 minutes. Let steep for an additional 5 minutes. Drain and stir in the honey and palm sugar.
For a more instant variation – dry roast all of the ingredients in a cast iron pan, until the spices pop. Take care not to burn them. Let cool and grind to a fine powder along with the sugar. Store in an airtight container. When ready to make the tea, just add a tsp to hot water. Stir and enjoy!
Verdict: Our family went through a phase of cold and cough with the season change and this was my go to home remedy. The pepper, cumin and the honey warm the throat and help clear out the sinuses. The version in the pictures here are made by the steep and strain method, whereas I had the instant sukku malli kaapi powder prepared and I keep it on my desk @ work, for quick and easy day time relief.
Also sending in some archived entries to the event:
Khatte Baingan masala and