While sharing meals at Iftar table, one beverage that quintessentially hit many Bohra households are the glasses of Gol Paani; stirred, poured and passed from one person to the other. Gol Paani literally means a refreshing drink made of jaggery and water with sabja seeds (basil seeds) quivered in to provide cooling sensation to the stomach after a day-long fast. Surprisingly, unlike many Bohra dishes, I haven’t grown up consuming Gol Paani until before my marriage though I have come across many people in the mosque carrying it in their tupperwares and would occasionally have a sip or two.
It is a tradition in my house – the one we have been following for last 4 years (that is how long I’ve been married). As Ramadan approach, husband stock on jaggery cubes, sabja seeds and lime and mint. He’d take over my kitchen every fortnight as the time for evening prayers draw near and prepare Gol Paani with much love that a child has for his toys. We drink it every day so it really helps in making a quantity more than we need for a day that can be stocked well in the refrigerator for a couple days more. He has been doing this since a teenager helping his mom with kitchen work and can do it blindfolded-ly! It isn’t only me who say this, but friends who have sipped this during Iftar gatherings at our home are all fascinated with his cooking skills. Since it isn’t made in many households other than that of few selected Bohras, mainly coming from the Western region of India constituting Bombay, Gujarat and Rajasthan, I suggest you give this recipe a try. Gol Paani is a super revitalising drink on hot sunny days, whether fasting or not.
It is preservative and cholesterol free and is absolutely healthy because of it’s ingredients. Jaggery is known to cool down body temperatures and provides instant energy, the one we certainly need during Ramadan after abstaining from food for more than 12 hours a day; water keeps the body hydrated and sabja seeds popularly used in Indian Faloodas, is excellent for digestion in hot climate. Though it may sound like a medicinal drink, this elementary beverage is a great party pleaser the guests are bound to fall in love with and sure will be gone in few seconds.
With so many evolutions and fads going around with what is best suited for the bodies with people jumping up and down with something new each day- detox, kale and likes; a simple homemade drink with natural ingredients is what we really need. Like how they did in olden days. With no trends to follow. And to live simple.
- Jaggery - 1 kg small cubes or grated
- Water - 1 litre or more
- Sabja seeds - 2 tbsp
- Lime juice - 2-4 tbsp
- Mint leaves - a few for garnishing
In a large steel pot, place jaggery cubes and cover with water. Let sit for 4-6 hours till jaggery melts. Add more water as needed to adjust the sweetness. Just before making the juice, soak sabja seeds in 1/4 cup water and let it rise - will look sticky when done. Add mint, lime juice and sabja seeds in jaggery water. Give a good stir and do a taste test. Chill and serve.