Kerala, “God’s Own country” which once used to be heaven for a peaceful life, after decades of development has turned its climate topsy turvy due to cutting of forests and greens. Whether it is rainy or fall or winter, the heat is unbearable today and the urge for a chilling thirst quencher is what I crave whenever I’m in m home town. It was around 5 years back when I had my first Kulukki Sharbath which was introduced to me by my nephew. This wonder thirst quencher was available only in that particular shop in those times. Each time I visited I yearned to go there, but it never happened. Until finally after a long wait I made it this year.
The funniest thing was, we went searching for the usual soda sharbath and could not find a place while we were returning after a trip from Fort Kochi. We were casually talking about cool drinks when kulukki sharbath came into our discussion. Immediately we changed our craving from soda to kulukki and started searching for it but in vain. Finally it dawns up on my daughter that she saw a place next to our house and that they are serving Kulukki there. And that was the start of our Kulukki Sharbath craze. We drove as fast as we could and parked the car in the parking lot and jumped to the shop.
There stands a teenage boy of 20-22 years, who stood there curning out hundreds of Kulukki in an hour. The way he did it was a delighful sight which itself cooled our system down. This outlet served different flavors of Kulukki Sharbath like Original which is lime, Pineapple, Watermelon, Raw mango, Carrot and Orange. Since then, there wasnt a single day when we did not have this. Tried out all the flavors which was better than the other. And this exactly is my inspiration for this post.
Its scorching hot in this part of the world still though the fall is suppossed to start. So this could be my last post in the drinks category for a chilling drink. This is a craze in my family now and every day its made glasses after glasses. Naturally the foodie in me was so curious to get to the roots of this amazing cooler’s history and look what I have found:
As Narrated: http://lifeisonebigblast.blogspot.ae/2013/04/a-drink-that-shook-world-kulukki.html
I’ve been totally amazed by the stories that are being told about the “Kulukki Sarbath”. I recently read an article in a regional newspaper on how Kulukki was actually native to Kozhikode (the home land for almost all the good street food we have here at Kerala) though it got popular at Kochi.
I do not know how true that story is. On learning about this drink, being a food enthusiast myself, I had went in search of the true story behind the Kulukki sarbath and found one. At no point do I claim to know the entire story. I am simply recounting what I heard from a close aid of Shajikka ( who demanded anonymity ).
Once, near the high court boat jetty in Ernakulam, a group of tourists (mainly guys from Mumbai who had come to the high court to learn law) taught a snack/drink vendor named Shaji to make a special lemonade using crushed ice.
The process was simple. Squeeze the juice out of half a lemon and collect it inside a long glass. Put that piece of lemon into the glass as well. Fill half of the glass with highly concentrated sugary syrup and the remaining with crushed ice. Hold another glass over it and shake it well ( ‘Kulukki’ roughly means ‘shaken’ in Malayalam) until the crushed ice melts into water.
The gang from Mumbai left and Shaji was stuck with his usual customer ( the commuters who used the ferry ) who wouldn’t pay more than Rs.5 for a drink. But impressed by the drink himself, Shaji started giving out ‘Kulukki’ lemonades to everyone who visited his show. Slowly the word got out about this heavenly drink (some even called it God’s own drink which works well with the “God’s own country tag” tag we have) and people started moving in. Shops nearby also started making “Kulukkis” but none could do it as well as Shaji.
Everything was going smooth in Shaji’s life until one fine day he won a lottery. He packed his bags, bought a new shop somewhere and settled down. The legend of Kulukki faced extinction as many of the vendors went back to the old, tried and tested methods of making lemonades.
Then out of the blue (Grey is the right colour to describe the water near the ferry though) came Shaji. This time another Shaji belonging to another religion. As is common for Muslims in Kerala, he became known as Shajikka. Shajikka’s Kulukkis took Kochi by a storm. Some of the Social networking enthusiasts started a Facebook page, bloggers including me wrote about it and photographed it and suddenly young people were neglecting malls for a Rs.5 drink.
And that was the beauty of the drink. The price tag or the taste weren’t the only factors involved around its phenomenal success. Kochi finally had a drink to call ‘its own’. Something very unique and special. Like the Rahmathullah’s at Mattancherry, Kulukki had the potential to be our special drink. Regardless of its origin ( Bombay as I like to think or Calicut as the local newspaper reckons) the drink had such an identity. The poor, the rich, the young, the old… they were all queuing up in front of this small shop to drink what had become the most talked about drink in Kochi.
Everyone seems to be taking a leaf from James Bond this summer wanting glassfuls of this ‘shaken, not stirred’ thirst-buster. As the name suggests, Kulukki sarbath, has been shaking things up a bit in the summer cooler scene lately – no surprise, it’s even got a Facebook page! Just about every juice shop or roadside juice stall now has a version of this spicy concoction, served shaken. There seems to be a few must-haves for every variety of the sarbath: Naruneendi syrup, soaked basil seeds ( kasa kasa, in local parlance), fresh lime juice and generous helping of liquidised bird’s eye chilli ( kanthari mulaku), plus heaps of ice shavings. Enterprising shopkeepers often give their own twist to the drink, with the likes of crushed ginger, grape juice, glucose, salt and even raw mangoes in brine ( uppillitta manga) going into the mixture, always, always finishing it up with a few quick shakes in true Martini style.
So try this super easy, heavenly drink which cant not only rejuvenate your body but mind too. You can make it with any fruit which you like. The quantity of sugar syrup and juice extract which I have taken is according to our palatte. This can be adjusted according to one’s preference. Just extract the fresh juice of the fruit of your choice, stock some thick sugar syrup and blocks of ice along with some bird’s eye chilies and basil seeds. You are ready to rock the heat, cool your mind and soul.
Wash and soak the Basil seeds in water.
In a mason jar, add a cup of ice.
Add the lime juice, sugar syrup, lime wedges, basil seeds and 2 lime leaves. Shake and serve immediately.
Repeat this for all the other three juices too, except the lime wedges.