Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chukku Kappi – Kerala’s Herbal Coffee & Home Remedy.


When a local politician makes an unsolicited entry at the naming ceremony of a baby and tries hard to be part of that family, cracking a joke or two or giving a helping hand in serving food, thinking he is an indispensable part of the community events, an elderly person, who is not so fond of this politician, from the crowd might sarcastically say, “Chukkillatha Kashayam undo?!” Though in this case it is used colloquially to metaphorically convey the idea that he/she is an all in all and central figure of that community, this popular saying has its origins in Ayurveda, an ancient treatment method that is native to India. Chukku is dry ginger and Kashayam is a herbal combination decoction, a type of medicine in Ayruveda. Chukku/Dry ginger is a significant and vital ingredient in preparing Kashayam as well as a common ingredient in most of the Ayurvedic medicines, because of its digestive properties and hence the literal translation of this saying, “chukkillatha kashayamilla” would be that there is no decoction without chukku/dry ginger.


Those days when I returned from school, feeling feverish with a slight throat infection and cold and lied down there tightly holding on to my blanket, trying all possible ways to attract some “sympathy waves”, from the “Supreme-court” of the family, to get exemption from going to school the next day, I remember my mother slowly going to the kitchen, lighting the stove, grabbing some spice jars and throwing few stuff into pot and then rushing to the front yard to snip off some fresh Tulasi/Holy Basil from that small plant and coming back to my room with a piping hot cup of coffee in her hand. The decoction used to be hot n’ spicy, sweet and aromatic at the same time. Sitting next to me, making sure that I inhaled all that steam coming from the coffee, she used to wait for me till I drank the whole thing and let me sleep. After half an hour or so, I found myself trying to come out of the blanket zone as I would be sweating heavily as the herbal coffee would have kicked out that mild fever which gave a ray of hope, of skipping school, few hours back!! A home remedy that shattered the dreams of an innocent school kid!


Chukku Kappi
is a herbal medicinal decoction using pungent spices like dry ginger, peppercorns, cumin and an aromatic herb like Tulasi/Holy Basil with a touch of jaggery and flavored by coffee or tea. It’s quite strong and spicy and sweet which helps alleviate cough and cold, mild fever, throat infections and nasal congestions. This is the simplest of Kashayam (A type of Ayurvedic medicine) which you can make at home.


After marriage, whenever one of us were down with fever or cold, I used to call up my mother for the right ingredients and measurements for this home remedy and those who have been following this blog, know well that I don’t have the good habit of writing down such things and hence when this routine was repeated two weeks back, I heard a long sigh from my mother, before she gave the pointers, implying that,” Hasn’t she learnt it yet after so many years?! “; so I thought it’s high-time I write it down somewhere before she loses all respect for me, if any!! This post is for all those who are staying away from home, not knowing the simplest home remedies, not wanting to take a Tylenol or a Crocin and searching the net frantically for grandma’s home remedies, to take a mouthful and settle down at your comfort zone, rekindling the memories of a colorful past!



Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp coffee powder or tea leaves
  • 1 tsp powdered dry-ginger/chukku OR a small ½ ” piece pounded
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper powder
  • ½- ¾ tsp cumin/jeera powder
  • Jaggery/Sharkkara to taste (I Used 3 cylindrical pieces, like the one in the pic)
  • 6-7 fresh leaves of Tulasi/Holy Basil
Directions:
  • In a saucepan, heat water and jaggery/sharkkara pieces together; when it starts melting, add the powdered dry –ginger/chukku, pepper powder and cumin powder. When boiling, add the coffee powder and let it continue boiling for a minute and at this stage, add the Tulasi/Holy Basil leaves and turn off the stove and close the pan with a lid.
  • Strain the coffee and pour it to a coffee mug and immediately inhale the steam coming from the coffee. Try to have a facial steam bath and sip the piping hot coffee slowly, enjoying the aroma coming from tulasi and the pungent flavors from the spices. (Note: Consuming more dry ginger may cause constipation and hence please do not take more than 2 servings of Chukku Kappi per day, on sick days)
Here is an interesting read on Chukku and its medicinal benefits.

If you have time, read how Charline, a French belle , in love with Kerala , writes passionately about Chukka kappi in her blog; for the English version click here.

This goes to Meeta’s Comfort Foods and Jyothsna’s RCI- Kerala.

Luv
Shn

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 Kitchenmishmash.blogspot.com. All rights reserved.

59 comments:

Nags said...

mom used to force me to drink this. i am not a fan of ginger, fresh or dried and cant take strong flavours of it :) the most i can go is ginger tea.

but a lovely entry for RCI!

Jyothsna said...

I thought it was 'kattan chaya" first. Nice to see this one!:)

Sig said...

I remember having this regularly, but never really bothered to ask my mom whats in it... Now I don't want to wait till one of us gets sick, going to try it asap.. :)

jayasree said...

good write-up on chukku kaapi. With your anecdotes, it made an interesting read

Nanditha Prabhu said...

i used to be forced to drink this when was expecting more of those sympathy waves , you mentioned!i think this post is perfectly timed for this flu season. when I still could not fight with the chukku kappi which wiped out traces of fever , when young I have tried rubbing cut onions on the arm pits for the fever to shoot up .. and it worked!:)

sra said...

I imagined the Chukku expression was something to do with its bitterness, you know, the inevitable rotten apple among a host of good ones, but God knows kashayams can be bitter even without chukku, if such ones do exist!

Shella said...

Shn - you really want me to rush to mom's place to have a sip of this lovely drink. Reminds me of cold winter nights when she used to make this, especially after we returned from midnight christmas mass!!! Lovely....

Asha said...

Hey, I know this too. We call it Tulasi Kashaya, my grandmother used to make it but I have never tasted it. Great post. Send it to Liquid comfort for Bee, may be?!:)

Suganya said...

Will it hurt if I add some milk? It won't be kashayam, rather coffee/tea.

Vanamala said...

i havent tried to make coffee. But chukku i love to eat just like that

Shankari said...

I used to hate this as a child and now went home asking for it :)

Namratha said...

This is a very good remedial coffee indeed, love your recollection of your childhood days, was fun to read :) I'm going to try this the next time one of us is ill.

Rajitha said...

oh! i forgot about this...my mom would force me to drink this too..i did a looot of drama but eventually would gulp it down ;)

musical said...

This kashayam is totally my type of thing, what with ginger and pepper :).

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

My mom used to make something similar for me too, when I fell sick!! Its called Kashaaya in kannada too

KF said...

Dear,you know now a days instant chukku kappi podi is availabe in market.chukku pottikkan nokkiyappol ente oru coffegrinder de adappe potti therichthe aane enikke orma varunnathe...I enjoyed reading ur write up .

Sia said...

grrrrr... kashaya was always my enemy #1 bk in school days. how many times it ruined my chance of getting sick leaves!!! :( i remember my grandma and grandpa drinking jeera and someother kashaya every day in big brass tumbler.

sunita said...

What would we do without mom's remedies, huh :-)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You know, Shn, I've read about the health benefits of holy basil so many times, but I've never been able to find. Thanks for the informative post!

iCitizen said...

Hey, a very interesting Article.

I wanted to share with you how we make it at home.

My understanding was that the you use "karupatti or chakkara" as it is called in kerala to make this decoction and not jagerry.

Technically jagerry [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaggery] is sugarcane extract and karupatti [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_sugar] is palm date extract.

At home we use this karupatti instead of the jagerry and do not add any coffee beans or tea leaves. The karupatti extract is a very strong coffee by itself. The rest of the preparation method and ingredients are the same.

As i know it the above preparation is also called 'kashayam' in karnataka and its proven to be medically beneficial than a lot of drinks.

And yes, nothing is more refreshing than a Chukku kappi.

Padma said...

you make all your posts so interesting to read for us, you are a great writer.... we too make this kinda tea for specially ladies after childbirth (post partum) but with only jaggery
But this one we can have anytime I guess and should not wait for getting sick as Sig said

thanks for these authentic,old recipe for tea

remya said...

nice write up...i used to drink these when i was sick during childhood ...i like that flavour in it...

shriya said...

This is one of my mom's and my fav tea. Ahh I remember those days when she would make it for me anytime I felt sick. In my experience its really a great medicine for cold.

Kate / Kajal said...

i was visiting my dad's when i went to Bombay this time and was suffering from a cough. He forced this terrible mixture he called kava down my throat. I swear it burned my esophagus and all the way down to my intestines, but i was ok the next day. These oldies really know what they are doing !!!

Kate / Kajal said...

i was visiting my dad's when i went to Bombay this time and was suffering from a cough. He forced this terrible mixture he called kava down my throat. I swear it burned my esophagus and all the way down to my intestines, but i was ok the next day. These oldies really know what they are doing !!!

and i'm having a real tough time leaving this comment. been trying since the past 2 hrs !!

Superchef said...

ohh..this si perfect for cold n any cold related illness...i remember taking this to my team at work when they got sick...very soon, mom had a huge fan following! :)

Cynthia said...

A home remedy that shattered the dreams of an innoced school child! - LOL

chithra said...

Shn, Bcoz of cold i am taking a cup of chukku kappi while writing this..but this is a readymade one..next time i will follow this nice recipe! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

oh! i remember this..my mom used to prepare this whenever i had cold ,even symptons of cold....and when i used to get cough she used to prepare a syrup with mashing ginger,honey and something else....oh i used to run away from it sa it used to be very difficult gobbling it up...lovely post as usual...

Rashmi

mathew said...

i never the hidden story behind "chukillatha kashayam"..I guess I heard about Chukku Kappi for the first time from the movie "Aye Auto"..and like you said they were spoilsport when we tried to avoid school!;-P

nice post as always..very informative this time too..

btw i checked out the french link..simply wow..she knows more kerala dishes than a average malayalee would know. :-(

Mishmash ! said...

Nags, If you like ginger tea, you can add a pinch of dry ginger to your tea, especially on a cold rainy day...it will be good :)

Jyothsna, this is kattan chaya/kappi with some extra medicinal kick :)

Sig, if you re not sick, then reduce all the spices as it is quite strong. This is purely designed for cold and mild fever.If you want to have regularly, add a only a pinch of dry ginger and pepper to your tea/coffee.

Jayashree, happy that you enjoyed reading :)

Nanditha, oh ...did onion rub work for you?? I failed miserably with that trick :D I should have consulted you...:P

Sra, chukku expression is intended mainly for the indispensable part rather than the bitterness but it is not wrong, if you look at it from the other perspective too :)

Shella, Its a great feeling when you drop comments here saying I transported back to your mom's place...thanks a lot dear :)

Asha, thank you :) You should try this...I believe in such proven home remedies a lot :) nice to see you here...missed you :)

Suganya, for this recipe, milk is not suggested...but if you re looking for regular intake or to warm up those rainy days, make your regular tea/coffee with milk and add a pinch of dry ginger and pepper to spice it up. I remember Indira's post on sonti kashaya..it was something like that.

Vanamala,oh...my....I dont think I can do that :) Welcome here :)

Shankari, yeah adulthood makes us do whatever we hated to do as kids and teenagers....:)

Namratha, I dont want you to fall sick but if you do, give it a try :) Thanks for dropping by :)

Rajitha, somehow I always liked that extra spicy kick in this coffee....and its still one of my favs :)

Musical, if you like ginger, instead of making this kashaya, add a pinch of both the spices to your regular decoction

Ramya, I think its all in line with Ayurveda....

Kitchenfairy, really? I didnt know about the instant powder. Since I used to have trouble pounding and powdering dry ginger, Mummy packed some chukku powdered at home last time when we returned from home; thats one of the priceless items in my pantry next to kudam puli :P

Sia, yeah.....at my place too , we used to drink all such flavored medicinal boiled water everyday...used to like it for the color :) and since my grandpa was an Ayruvedic physician , kashaya and lehyam were regular at our place :)

Sunita, yeah you re right :)

Susan, Its difficult to get holy basil here in US , I guess, but you can find that at Hindu Temples and festivals conducted by Indian Associations where they sell small plants of Tulsi.

icitizen, yeah at my place karipetti is also used for making this.karippetti is quite pungent on its own as dry ginger is added while making it. But for many NRIs like us, Karipetti is not something that is available easily, unless someone brings it from home. Thats the reason why jaggery is used here in this recipe. Thanks for leaving few lines here :)

Padma, Thank you so much...pls dont call me a writer, I am not one for sure :) hey...thats quite interesting...infact my family, both paternal and maternal side know lots of such postpartum herbal medicines.....nice to know that there is such simple ones too. As I wrote for Sig, if you want to use this regularly, just add a pinch of dry ginger and pepper to your regular drink.

Remya, me too :)

Shriya, totally agree with you :)

Kajal, hahahh....sounds funny :) but what is kava? hey sorry about the trouble in leaving the comments...i dont know whats the problem....guess blogger is acting weird sometimes !

Superchef, yeah..those who can stand strong flavors would love it, especially for the aroma Tulsi brings in :)

Cynthia, :)

Chithra,I heard about the instant powder only after posting this one, when KF dropped the comment. so how re you feeling now? Hope you re better by now!

Rashmi, what is that syrup...? at home its some pounded small onions with kalkkandam :)

Mathew, havent you heard that proverb, "muttathe mulla-kku manamilla! " thats the attitude of an average malayalee and I admire Charline's enthusiasm and passion towards our culture and cuisine. I am embarrassed to say that I started admiring my homeland only after I left the state :( Btw, now I feel like watching "Aye auto", recently we watched "Mutharamkunnu P.O" & "His Highness Abdulla" just to refresh that taste of old classics again :)

Shn

Sharmi said...

hey, how come you thought of me today? I asked you this because I was on ur blog this morning looking at all ur delicious posts. I dont know when I will resume blogging, just getting settled here in chicago. hate the weather!! I missed my favourite event for RCI kerala food for which I wanted to cook so many things. I have to still search for places where I can find fresh desi vegetables. I have not cooked decent food since I moved here.

anN-series said...

chukku kaapi reminds me of this cheduthi we used to have in Mum's place- everyone wud make fun of her kaapi..but in the end thts wat provided us the much needed relief...after reading tht link i have started valuing tht hot jeeraga vellam they serve with hot n spicy biryani!!

MrsPresley said...

what an interesting story! funny how every culture has their own home remedies for the ill :)

thanks for leaving the comment on my blog - i'm glad you enjoyed the chicken satay recipe! i was so happy when i came upon it b/c it is one of my favorites and i hate paying $6-8 for 4-6 TINY skewers when we eat out! :)

TBC said...

Very informative post, especially for someone like myself who has only always been a non-resident Keralite.:-)
I like just plain old "kattan kapi" with lots of sugar.:)

Laavanya said...

Thanks for the proportions for this.. my grandmom makes this from scratch and it works like a charm everytime I have a cold. I now buy the readymade sukku malli cofee powder and just mix with boiling water. It's my go to thing when anyone falls sick.

vineetha said...

wonderful post...I used to drink chukku kappi when I fell sick but never knew how to make it.

MeetaK said...

Oh yes - purely comforting! Perfect!

Susan said...

I would drink this with perhaps a touch of cream or coconut milk. I've been waiting for a home-brewed spiced coffee recipe. Thanks, Shn.

DK said...

This brought memories of home and mom :)

DEEPA said...

such and excellent entry for the event...awesome lady ....

Poonam said...

I am a complete tea addict. I would love this with a hint of cream.

Mishmash ! said...

Susan & Poonam, adding any sort of dairy product to this ayurvedic concoction is not a good idea and might even upset the stomach. A Masala Chai/Coffee would be a good alternative.

Shn

Skyward said...

Great post.

meenakshi said...

thanks a lot sir im dwn with cold and throat infection from 8 days i made kashyam and had it i feel little bit relieved

Thulasy Mary Elizabeth said...

Hi Shn,

Thanks for the receipe of Chukku Kappi.I prepared this for my husband yesterday as he is showing signs of cold and fever and he said that there is an immediate effect.Expecting a lot more home made remedies and lots and lots of receipes from you.Always 'ALL THE BEST' for your endeavours.

Anonymous said...

Great resume Shn! and glad to see you're able to find the energy to get back to blogging. i just happened to chance upon your site while searching for a chukku kappi resume to take care of a cold and was quite impressed by your creative approach of introducing your resumes. i should admit i did not read most of your recipes, but the introductions were awesome! Keep up the great job- there sure are a lot of folks out there who benefit from classics like this, even unbeknownst to the authors. So I hope you will find the energy to continue keeping this blog alive.
Cheers,
Chandu

Anonymous said...

Hi Shn,

Yesterday I made your rasam and today chukku kappi, because my mother-in-law has slight fever and cold. Both had immediate effects, she is a lot better now.. I've been married 2 years and still trying to learn the art of cooking.. Thanks for being my angel at the apt time :-) ...Btw, I've tried most of your non-veg recipes.. and you are awesome!! - Love, Bindu.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

After watching an old malayalam movie of Mohan Lal, where in he prepares this wonderful coffee to get rid of the common cold, I was longing to know this recipe, Thankz aton for sharing this wonderful drink.

An Open Book said...

Hi...do you have a recipe for sulaimani tea? I have heard so much about it, but have never tried it. Please do pass on one if you do have. Thanks

Raaga said...

I made this yesterday. Thanks a million. I used to make something with lemon grass. ran out of lemon grass and had tulsi flourishing in my balcony... so came to your recipe and made it. Am feeling much better... shall make it again today!

Raaga said...

http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2009/09/if-you-miss-train-im-on.html

herbal coffee said...

Excellent article and great recipe!

Naz said...

12 January 2010, Tuesday, time:7:59 AM.
Place : At my office - Doha..
while i was having my Chukku Kappi, i thought just to make a search about it in internet. Thats y i am here.. its really nice kappi.. i am using readymade one Eastern chukku kappi..
i will be back here if i get well in few hours.. lets see hw its work..

g3Mo said...

Aentammoo...actually made and drank exactly to your specifications....are you sure about this stuff dude?

pravita said...

Winter and all my Tulsi plants went hiatus. I thought some people add coriander seeds too? Thanks for the posting. Cam in very handy.

Chitz said...

This saved me from a sore throat today !! Thanks :)

Chitz said...

Thanks for posting :) I am saved from my running nose and headache :)

dr_janusx2 said...

I was going through a very bad time with a throat and sinus infection when I was given this to drink. And it worked instantly on the throat and nose. Just one day and feeling better