Sesame & Jaggery Juice ~ A Healthy Summer Drink

We've all heard the story of Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves, haven't we? The most famous code word or magical phrase being 'Open Sesame' uttered by the thieves who want to enter the cave full of hidden riches. When I was little I hardly knew what sesame was as it was rarely stocked in our kitchen. It was probably purchased during Christmas time so that it could be used in the various sweets prepared as part of the kuswar (traditional platter of sweets and savouries). My fondest memories also revolve round the 'tilache ladoo' (sesame & jaggery balls) that I used to love eating - I still do - I used to grab (and still do!) 5-6 in one go and stuff as many as I possibly could into my mouth and munch them, taking in the sweetness of the sticky jaggery and the nutty flavour of the roasted sesame. 

Although I have not tried my hand at making these lovely laddoos, I was rather surprised when I came across a recipe to put the same ingredients together to make a refreshing drink - so healthy and enjoyable especially during summer to beat the sweltering heat. Those who are lactose intolerant can prepare it and enjoy it with or without the jaggery and its a great way to get fussy/picky eaters to get their dose of goodness. Not only is it rich in magnesium and copper but is also a fabulous source of calcium and hence sesame is known to provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis, prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraine & PMS and is beneficial to vascular & respiratory health. 

Now lets come to the next important (and my most favourite) ingredient in this drink. Jaggery!! Yes! This complex sugar is by far the healthiest 'sweet dish' I have ever eaten - yes, I call it a 'sweet dish' because it has satiated my craving for something sweet when there was nothing worthwhile at home. It is my most favourite, guilt free go-to sweet. Maybe that's one reason why you will find a lot of recipes on my blog that make use of jaggery. Traditional Indian sweets are mostly made with jaggery as the sweetener and

Besides just helping to sweeten your sweet dishes in a healthy manner, jaggery also has minerals that provide a host of health benefits. It is a rich source of iron and is beneficial to get rid of aches and pains and acts as a cleansing agent to clean the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach & intestines. It is an antioxidant and helps balance the acid in the body.

Now that you are convinced that this drink is nothing but pure health in a cup, won't you just go make some? And hey! If you like, you can make popsicles out of it. It will taste great I promise! Pretty much like the jaggery popsicles (bella candy) that we used to get in Mangalore a couple of decades ago. Not sure if they are still found now

About this drink
This is an easy to prepare drink that doesn't require any pre-preparation time. The colour however is dull and may not be very eye pleasing as it is a combination of jaggery and sesame seeds and water, however, the taste can be altered by increasing or decreasing amount of water used (if you prefer it in a more diluted form). Enjoy it chilled on a hot summer day

Sesame & Jaggery Juice
Prep time: 15mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 4-5

You Need
1. Wash and rinse the sesame until the water runs clear (about a couple of times will suffice). Place it on a sieve or a clean kitchen cloth to drain off excess water or pat it dry.
2. When it is still a bit damp, transfer it onto a tawa and dry roast it on a slow flame. Ensure that the flame is low or else the seeds will begin to pop/splutter which should be avoided. Dry roast for about a couple of minutes and then transfer into a grinder and powder it coarsely. Add half the powdered jaggery, 1 cup of water and grind it to a smooth paste (as fine as possible)
3. Transfer the paste into a large pan, add the remaining jaggery and water and stir until the jaggery dissolves completely. Add powdered cardamom and mix.
4. Serve chilled - you may strain the mixture or leave it as it is.

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