Our neighbours used to have this huge Jamun tree in my home town and its variety was absolutely fabulous. The sweet & tangy juicy fruit had a tiny stone inside, surrounded by plump flesh. Their daughter and I used to be friends and her Mum used to send a bowl full of these plump purplish plums. I used to beg to my Mum to have a Jamun tree at our house as well but she would out rightly refuse. “The tree makes a lot of mess. It sheds so much leaves and when the ripe fruits will fall off from the tree, they will stain the courtyard,” she would reason. No amount of reasoning, cajoling or pleading worked with Mum. And thus we never had a jamun tree. During the season, it is common to see vendors sitting in the lanes of Lutyen’s Delhi selling this fruit, which is actually in abundance and not as expensive as it is here.
The Jamun or the Java Plum, or the Black Plum as it is called by some, is a sweet sour fruit that has an astringent after taste. I used to enjoy it as a kid but now I don’t as much. But it is my better half’s favourite seasonal fruit. (Read about the benefits of this fruit here.) A few months back I saw the pharmacist near my house, selling Jamun juice along with many other varieties of interesting juices, such as the aloe vera juice, basil juice, neem leaves juice, etc. On an impulse, I purchased the jamun juice for my husband but we discovered it was pretty awful in taste. Since then I had been waiting for this fruit to makes its way in to the market so I could make a fresh batch at home. I have spiked the sharbat with some green chillies and I love the way it tastes; fabulous with just that hint of chili. Enjoy!
½ kg Jamun / Jambal
½ Cups Caster Sugar
1¼ Cup Orange Juice (optional)
As per taste – Kala Namak (Black Salt / Rock Salt)
As per taste – Cumin Powder (roasted and ground)
6 – 7 or as per taste and heat – Whole Green Chilies
3 tbsp Lime Juice (+ / -)
Plenty of Ice Cubes
Slightly crushed green chilies, deseeded (I used a mortar and pestle) – Optional
Wash the jamuns well and drain any excess water. Transfer the jamuns in a non-reactive pot or a glass mixing bowl and sprinkle caster sugar. Now with clean dry hands, roughly squish the jamuns and allow them to macerate for about 3 – 4 hours.
Mash the jamun sugar mix with clean hends and remove all stones. Puree this mixture (I was able to procure approximately 300 mls or somewhat thick puree).
For making the sharbat, I added orange juice to the puree (to cut through the astringent taste of the jamuns) and rest I added water to take the total amount of liquids to approximately 1100 mls. Then I passed this mix, first, through a regular sieve and then a fine sieve.
Add lime juice, black rock salt, cumin powder and green chilies. Adjust flavors and (add sugar only if required) Pour in the pitcher and allow the drink to sit for an hour or so for the chili flavors to assimilate into the drink.
Stir the sharbat well before serving. Add sliced oranges and lemons in the serving glasses along with half sliced chili and add ice. Top with the jamun sharbat and serve.
Note: Although it is totally a matter of preference and taste but I recommend that you be generous with the amount of lime juice and black rock salt since they are the key ingredients/ soul of this drink.
Note: Feel free to swap the orange juice with regular water.
Note: Using orange juice helped reduce the amount of sugar since I didn’t need to add any extra apart from the half a cup I had used to macerate the fruit.
Note: If you are not using orange juice, you may need to add extra sugar to the drink.
Note: Instead of using water, you can use sparkling water or drinking soda.
Note: I lined the rims of the glass with a mix of caster sugar and black rock salt.
Yield: Makes a little more than a litre
Try these natural coolers,
Pineapple Jal Jeera (Fruity Tamarind & Cumin Water)
Aam Panna (Raw Green Mango Cooler)
Pom Limeade (Pomegranate & Lime Juice Cooler)