India, the land of many religions and cultures, boasts a cuisine that is extremely healthy, therapeutic (anti-cancer etc.) and sustainable for a huge population. Most Indian foods are prepared using more than 10-15 ingredients and the cooking methods are extremely elaborate, complex and involved. It is also worth mentioning that marination, fermentation, soaking and slow cooking are very common in the Indian cuisine. A cuisine so varied, so deep, so involved, so powerful and so delicious absolutely HAS to be so-bloody-healthy and I am sure it is… in its original form. Hence, I have
resolved decided that in 2011 I will research the original Indian diet, learn from it, experiment with it on myself (and my loved ones) and blog about it. (Note: All posts about this will be filed under the category ‘Awesome India’.)
A wise man (a.k.a Raj) once said…
‘In a world where there were no food labels, people ate real food and there lay the elixirs of life.‘
On that note, say
hello vanakkam to Chukku Kappi (Ginger Coffee) – A south Indian specialty coffee overflowing with an unbelievable number of health benefits.
Chukku kappi is a traditional South Indian beverage which is very spicy and sweet.It has a rich aroma that even opens nasal blocks that are caused due to cold and give relief to throat infections also.It can be used as very good remedy for slight cold or fever.
The botanical name of Chukku is Zingiber Officinalis. Chukku helps in digestion. It is used in almost all the Ayurveda medicines. According to Ayurveda, indigestion is the root cause for all kind of diseases.
In addition to chukku (ginger), the kaapi (coffee) traditionally contains tulsi (holy basil), black pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, coffee and jaggery. This amazing article on The Hindu, a national newspaper in India, from August 2003 describes beautifully the benefits of Chukku.
In almost all Ayurveda medicines, `chukku’ is a common ingredient because of its carminative and digestive properties. According to Ayurveda, indigestion in all levels of metabolism is the root cause of all diseases. So a daily intake of such an ingredient is good enough to keep sickness away,” says Dr. E. T. Neelakandhan Mooss of Vaidyaratnam Oushadashala, Thaikkattussery.
Dr. K. Sreedharan Nair, retired Professor, Shoranur Ayurvedic College and visiting physician, Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam, explains, “The `chukku’ has catalytic properties and hence it boosts the medicinal value of other ingredients. After a sumptuous meal, you find people serve `chukkuvellam,’ which helps digestion. In Ayurveda, we often concentrate first on the stomach to see if the ailment has anything to do with improper digestion. If we suspect so, we advice the patient to starve for a couple of days and drink only medicated water so as to cleanse the stomach off its undigested food.”
But seriously, why is this drink so damn good for one’s health?
Well because it contains ingredients that are nothing short of bloody-freakin-awesome! Let’s take a look.
- Tulsi – Research shows that Tulsi reduces stress, enhances stamina, relieves inflammation, lowers cholesterol, eliminates toxins, protects against radiation, prevents gastric ulcers, lowers fevers, improves digestion and provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients. Tulsi is especially effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and also regulates blood pressure and blood sugar. As a matter of fact, Tulsi is a part of almost all Hindu religious practices in India and is given to every devotee when he/she visits the temple. You can read more about Tulsi here.
- Ginger – Ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines and ovarian cancer treatment, colon cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory agent, menstrual cramp relief and migraine relief are just a few. You can geek out more about ginger and it’s health benefits here and here. Both links are very highly recommended.
- Cumin – The health benefits of cumin include digestion, piles, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, lactation, anemia, skin disorders, boils, immunity, and cancer. Check this webpage out for more details and this article from The Times Of India.
- Coriander – Treatment of swellings, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, ulcers, anemia, digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, eye care, skin disorders and blood sugar disorders some of coriander’s benefits. Click here and here for more info.
- Cloves – Two words – Digestive health. Gut health is the path to longevity and cloves are big on that! More detailed information here.
- Cardamom – Detox agent, promotes gut health and… drum roll… aphrodisiac! More info here.
- Cinnamon – In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It’s also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet. In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds. More info here.
Holy shit!! One drink with so many health benefits? Heck yea! You better believe it ‘cos this ain’t BS. Every single one of these ingredients have been used for thousands of years in many traditional cuisines (Greek, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian etc.) and people have benefited immensely from them.
How do I include this in my diet?
Pretty damn simple. Drink it every once in a while. Chukku kaapi is very easy to make and is traditionally made as described below.
- 1/2 tsp Crushed ginger or dried ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
- 1 tsp Coffee powder (or per taste)
- 5-10 Tulsi leaves
- 3 tsp Jaggery
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- Cloves, cardamom and cinnamon per taste
- 1-2 cups Water
- Mix all the ingredients and bring to boil.
- Strain and serve.
If this is too much work and/or ingredients for you, here are a couple of simplified recipes from Ginger and Mango and Hubpages.
Or even easier… buy it! Grandma’s Ginger Coffee is pretty darn awesome and I am addicted to it! It is made using ginger, tulsi, black pepper, coffee, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and palm jaggery. You can buy it in pretty much any Indian store or here is a link to where you can order it from.
- Vegetarian? Yeah.
- Vegan? Yeah.
- Gluten free? Yeah.
- Paleo? Yeah.
- Primal? Yeah.
- Real? Yeah.
- Low carb? Yeah.
- Low fat? Yeah.
- Low calorie? Yeah
- Tasty? Oh yeah!
- Healthy? Heck yeah!
I don’t see a single reason to not include this to your diet! What do you think? Have you had/heard of Chukku Kappi before? Were you forced to gulp this when you were sick as a child? Tell us your experiences in the comments section.