A blanket around me, a bowl of podiyari kanji before me
And thou, chukku kaappi, beside me on a rainy day!
What more could a Malayali want on a cold and damp day? More so, if one is pampering a chill or starving a fever. The rains bring with it fevers of all kinds. There was a time when a fever was just a rise in body heat, to be addressed by home remedies. A bit of warm coffee with some herbs thrown in or a steam inhalation with tulsi and panikoorka (Indian borage) would revive a shivering soul.
The aroma from the two herbs was enough to send a cold or fever packing.
A bowl of podiyari kanji (gruel with broken rice), smoked pappadams and a bit of pickle used to be the regular fever diet. It’s still so. But there a few home remedies to fall back on when the first signs of a cold manifest. It’s grandma’s old chukka kappi (dry ginger black coffee) that stands out. A few sips of the hot medicinal brew are enough to keep the cold and the doctor away. How about a cup of the hot, steaming drink?
Boil one-and-a-half glasses of water. Drop in a piece of chakkara (palm sugar or palm jaggery) to the boiling water. When it begins to melt, add a quarter spoon each of chukku (dry ginger) and pepper powders, a big pinch of jeerakam (cumin), a crushed cardamom and a few tulsi leaves. Allow it to boil till the liquid is reduced to three fourths of a glass. Add a small spoon of coffee powder. Drink it up, tuck yourself into a blanket and wait till you sweat the fever out.
Roast a spoon of coriander seeds along with a quarter spoon of uluva (fenugreek). Heat up a bit of cardamom powder and cumin. Powder them along with a quarter spoon of pepper corns.
Boil-one-and-a-half cups of water and add the coriander stuff to it.
As it may not be quite easy to powder small quantities of the mix, it would be better to powder ¼ kg of coriander, 50 gm fenugreek, 10 gm cumin, 5 gm cardamom and 25 gm pepper. This can be brewed with or without coffee powder. It’s as good a remedy as chukku kappi.