Mamta's Kitchen

Jal-Jeera, Indian Fire Water


Abha Gupta

In Hindi, the word Jal means water and Jeera means cumin. This drink has both, along with many other refreshing ingredients/flavours. In spite of having hot spices in it, it is a cooling drink. Because of its kala-namak content, it can smell quite weird to the UN-initiated, but to us Indians, is is just so tasty!

Though usually served with Gole-Gappa Puffs, it is a popular drink on its own in India during summer months, often served as an appetizer. It can be prepared a few days in advance. Serves 6

Edited April 2016


  • For Jal-jeera or fire-water (all ingredients are approximate and should be adjusted according to taste:

  • 1/2 cup tamarind puree* or pulp

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 2 tsp. dry-roasted cumin seeds**

  • 3-4 green chillies (adjust to taste)

  • A small bunch of coriander leaves

  • A bunch of fresh mint leave or 1-2 tbsp. mint sauce

  • 1 tsp. black salt or kala-namak (not rock salt)

  • Table salt, to adjust salt to taste.

  • 2-3 tsp. brown sugar or jaggery (less or more, according to taste). Some like it very sour, others like it sweet and sour.

  • Optional:

  • Lemon juice to make it more tangy.


  1. Measure all ingredients directly into a liquidizer/blender and blend for a few minutes, until ground fully.

  2. Strain through a wire strainer to remove any rough bits/solids. Discard solids.

  3. Adjust spices and tangy taste of the liquid.

  4. Place in a jug or bottle and chill. I keep it in bottles in the fridge.

  5. Serve it in small glasses, small helpings are the norm, with extra in a jug for people to help themselves.

  6. Also see Chat Selection.

  7. ** Dry roast cumin seeds on a griddle or frying pan, stirring all the time, until a nice aroma rises and they turn darker in colour.

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