Katira drink, or Air Katira in Malay, is often served during Ramadhan because of its cooling property. Originally a South Indian Muslim beverage, it has become very common in this part of Asia..... it's hard to miss this drink if you go to any Ramadhan food bazaar. You can also prepare it at home... and tonight I'm sharing the recipe that my mum often uses.
I use this brand of barley syrup.
1 tbsp katira (tragacanth gum)
5-10 pieces kamang / kembang semangkok (flower bowl)
1 tbsp biji selasih (basil seeds)
3/4 cup barley syrup (not lemon barley)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
about 6 cups water
- Soak the katira in water for at least half a day or overnight, depending on the size of the katira. It's ready to be used when the katira becomes soft & looks jelly-like. Once soft, strain. Then rinse & strain again. Set aside.
- Soak the kamang/kembang semangkuk in a large bowl of water. It doesn't take long for it to swell & turn soft, just 1-2 hours. Once softened, strain & remove the skin & seeds. Then rinse with cool water & strain again. Set aside.
- Soak the biji selasih in a bowl of water. This also doesn't take long for it to swell & turn soft. Once softened, strain & rinse with cool water. Strain & set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine katira, kamang/kembang semangkuk & biji selasih.
- Add in barley syrup, evaporated milk & water. Mix well & taste. Adjust the taste by adjusting the amount of syrup, milk &/or water to your preference. Add ice cubes or crushed ice before serving.
You can purchase katira, kembang semangkuk and biji selasih from any Indian neighbourhood provision shop. If you are in Singapore, you can also get them from Mustaffa Centre.