SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 BY 


Here’s what goes into it, and why it’s good for you:

Black Pepper – If you thought that black pepper here’s going to make the drink spicy, you’re wrong. Rather, it aids in digestion and helps flush toxins from your body. It also breaks up mucous and phlegm, and enables your body to absorb and retain more nutrition from the food you consume. And if you’re sick, chances are it’s affecting your appetite and you need to be able to get the most out of what little you eat.

Fennel is also an excellent digestive and helps in boosting immunity. There’s a reason they’re provided instead of after-meal-mints in most Indian restaurants. A spoonful of fennel after a meal freshens your breath as well as helps your body better process the food you’ve just eaten.

Cumin is another good digestive, but like fennel, it also helps boost immunity, treats respiratory disorders, alleviates insomnia and suppresses cough. So if you’re coughing a lot, add an extra spoon of this while brewing the kashayam.

Coriander eases digestive discomfort, lowers blood pressure, regulates proper menstrual functions and keeps neurodegenerative diseases at bay.

Rice is not an ingredient you would normally see in health drinks, but rice has resistant starch that reaches your gut undigested and feeds the good bacteria in there, that in turn helps in maintaining a healthy gut, even relieving irritable bowel syndrome. The carbohydrates in rice also provides energy, something you can never have enough of when sick.

Ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, good for nausea, relieves muscle pain, aids digestion, lowers blood sugar, and has been known to relieve menstrual pain as effectively as Ibuprofen.

Home remedies are just food, used as medicines. So, feel free to increase the quantity of one or two ingredients in the recipe based on what ails you most – if you have a lot of body pain, add another inch of ginger, and if you’re coughing a lot, an extra spoon of cumin will help, and if you have an extremely sore throat or a clogged nose, amp up the pepper. You get the idea….

Over medium-high heat, toast all the ingredients (except ginger) until fragrant and the color turns dark. My mother would let them burn and smoke, which results in a more stronger, more bitter brew, but if you’re just starting out, golden brown is fine.

And once the spices are roasted, add the water, ginger and bring to a boil. Keep boiling until the liquid reduces by half – usually in this time, the rice cooks slightly and the spices soften and the brew darkens to a beautiful, deep golden brown. If you’re the sick person, stick your head over the vapors and inhale, it’ll clear up your nose for a bit. But also be careful not to scald yourself in the steam.

All that’s left to do now is filter out the spices and drink the brew. Drink it hot, it’s most fragrant then. I even go so far as to brew a weaker tea from the filtered out spices, kind of a second extract before I throw out the spices.

And the next time you find yourself down with a little cold, or if you’re having a bad stomach after some exceptionally bad takeout food, make yourself a cup of this Kashayam, and you’ll soon be feeling as right as rain.





  • 2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. rice
  • 1 tbsp. ginger
  • 3 c of water


  1. In a heavy bottomed / cast iron pan, toast all the spices (except ginger) until fragrant and deep brown.
  2. Add water and ginger and bring to a boil on medium-high heat, and continue boiling until the liquid reduces by half.
  3. Strain the brew and serve hot.

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