Monday, November 29, 2010

Kasay / Kasaya / Konkani Tea

We had been on a yoga retreat during thanksgiving and were discussing about kasaya being an alternative for tea or coffee. Kasaya(pronounced as Kah-sha-yah) was a regular feature at my grand parents home when I was growing up. Konkanis have this as a substitute to tea or coffee during breakfast or evening snacks. Both I and my sister loved kasaya always had it for morning breakfast and evening snacks. As we grew up we indulged in Boost, Complan, Bournvita and other powders but never got addicted to tea or coffee.
Coriander gives a boost to the digestive system and helps to cure indigestion, flatulence and gas. It is cooling by nature and cools down the acidity caused by overeating rich foods. It helps to stimulate lost hunger and helps to cure ulcers and stomach sores. Cumin seeds are rich in iron and help to cure digestive disorders. Fennel seeds are good to cure any digestive disorders and it is common tradition in India to have a pinch of fennel seeds after every meal. Kasaya is great to keep cough and cold away during the cold winters. Kasaya can be prepared with 1 part milk or 1/2 part milk and part 1/2 water. If you are a vegan it can be prepared just with water. 

Ingredients for Kasaya powder:
1 cup coriander seeds
1/2 cup fennel seeds
1/2 cup cumin seeds

Roast the seeds in a pan on low heat till they are crisp. Take care not to burn them. They can also be toasted in the oven. Completely cool the roasted seeds and grind them into a fine powder. I use a coffee grinder to grind my spices. Store in an air tight container. This powder stays good for 1-2 months but refrigeration can extend its life by another 2-3 months. But it is always good to prepare it on monthly basis to retain the original flavor of the spices. 

To prepare 1 cup Kasaya: 

1 tablespoon of kasaya powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar or any other sweetener

Put the water in a vessel and add the kasaya powder to it. Get it to a boil and add milk. Give it a stir or two and remove from heat. Keep the vessel covered for 3-4 minutes to let the flavor of the spices steep  into the kasaya. Strain the kasaya with a tea strainer. Add sugar as per taste and serve hot.