Sunday 24 April 2016

Gond Katira(गोंद कटीरा) -Summer Cooler

Summers have hit us with a big bang. Calcutta has never seen such scorching Summers with temperature soaring to 40 degrees almost everyday. Schools have changed their timings so that little ones do not have to bear the brunt of the harsh Summer wave. We are constantly hydrating ourselves with water and sherbets. AC has become inevitable and we are trying to spend maximum time indoors.
The Summers of my childhood wasn't so unbearable. Summers meant extra bath times, eating ice creams everyday, drinking water from the earthen ware called the  तौड़ा in Punjabi, stealing ice from the freezer, wearing those white malmal super soft frocks and  the one that I fondly remember-lying under the fan with mom's wet dupatta on top (coz we did not have or require AC then) The air that would pass the wet dupatta would become little cold and soothe us. Summers also meant travelling to Punjab for vacations where the heat was much more  and enjoying the cooler culture there. How I would love the smell of the wet khuskhus sheet behind the coolers.
Summers have changed now or perhaps we have become less tolerant. We are getting used to depending too much on gadgets and technology and forgetting the nature's way of dealing with things. Too much tampering with the nature is causing the present environmental crisis all over. We can only hope and pray that we are able to control it before it is all lost.
Coming back to Summers, this time I have been extra interested in the drinks that cool us. Come to think of it, every region has their specific drink to beat the heat. Punjab is a state which bears extreme Summers and Winters and therefore has food specific to beat it . For Summers, we have the Lassi's, both salty and sweet and an interesting drink called Gond Katira. In English it is called Tragacanth Gum which is basically a natural gum obtained from the dried sap of several species of Middle Eastern legumes. It has both cooling and heat producing properties to the body. When soaked in water, it is an excellent coolant whereas when fried in oil, it has heat producing characteristics. It is used extensively in Panjiri which is given to women post delivery for internal healing. In Summers it is soaked in water overnight which swells to three times its volume and is then used as a drink to cool down the body.


Ingredients : For individual serving

  • 1 tsp Gond katira/ Tragacanth gum 
  • a glass of chilled milk
  • 1-2 tbsp rose syrup
  • Sugar as required(optional)
Procedure : 
Soak gond katira in water overnight.
It will swell up to almost three times.
Wash it well with water and strain it. You may keep it in fridge till further use.
Take rose syrup in a non stick pan and reduce it on low flame for few minutes till it gets thick.
Dip the rim of the glass of choice on the thickened rose syrup.
Swirl the remaining rose syrup inside the glass on the edges all around.
Take 2 tbsp of soaked gond katira in the glass and pour cold milk over it.
Sugar can be added to the milk before pouring, in case you want it sweeter otherwise the sweetness from the rose syrup should be enough.
Garnish with some chopped rose petals.
Serve chilled.

Happy Summer beating with Coolers

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