Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The summers and the Jungle Juice

The summers are here and so is the aurrack, the favourite drink of Goa. It is the juice of the cashew fruit which is mildly alcoholic. There are various ways to have it but the best one is the way my friend Denniss makes it - Loads of crushed ice, 180 ml of the juice, lot of lime squeezed into it with a dash of salt in a tall glass. It doesn't give you a kick like the other drinks thats why we have 180 ml in a glass instead of the standard 60 ml or 30 ml.

From March if you get a chance to travel through the hinterlands of Goa, I bet you will not miss the sweet, fruity striking smell of the ripe cashew fruit. One of the greatest imports by the Portuguese, this fruit has influenced the way I beat the heat about 350 years after the first fruit was born on this land. These fruits are seasonal and starts riping from February to April.  It is a richly flavored fruit so it is had lightly sugared or salted. Another way to have it is with the recipe mentioned above. Which I think is much better.

Come February the state is waiting for its favorite drink. It just cools the body down and sleeping after a couple of drinks is strongly recommended. This is for sure a summer drink, there is a reason why mother nature produced it during this season. The drink tastes even better with of course some fried mussels or the heavenly juicy Bhangada.

It is in-fact worth a trip to Goa only to explore more about this juice. It is famously called Jungle Juice in Goa. I guess the name suggests alot. At least it is natural compared to some of its other bottled counterparts. It is also good for health, It is played a big role in the small jungle juice belly that I have. In the traditional method of making cashew fenny, the cashew apples are manually crushed in a rock on the hill which is carved or shaped like a basin with an outlet for the juice, called a coimbi. The juice is collected in a huge earthen pot called a Kodem, which is buried in the ground. The juice is then distilled in earthen or copper pots. Recently Cashew Fenny got its GI registration as a specialty alcoholic beverage from GOA.

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