Thursday, 12 December 2013

Thulasi Mittai - Holy Basil Throat Drops

                         The cold winds of december has brought down the temperature in Chennai to a drastic level prompting us to reach for warm clothes, something that is happening after several years. My head is heavy with cold, blocking my ears and nose and I am confusing people with my male nasal tone when I pick up the phone! It's funny that it makes us feel hungry all the time, when we can't taste or smell a thing with a blocked nose! But there are few things that's very comforting to intake, like warm water, pepper, dried ginger, thulasi and honey. Natural ingredients to beat the cold and something that always works.

                         Thulasi/ Holy basil leaves have remarkable medicinal properties. Many are not aware of it as the only property generally known is that it helps in treating cold infections, but thulasi leaves can be used to treat bad breath and mouth ulcers by chewing on it in an empty stomach, its juice can be applied on the skin to treat rashes (especially 'themal'), thulasi infused water can be taken with honey as morning tea for general well being and building the body's resistance to diseases, the leaves can be used in steam inhalation to clear blocked nose. Although it has many uses it should be used in moderation or only when needed when given to young people because of its contraceptive properties, as it might affect fertility according to ayurveda.

                      These tiny buttons that look like kamarkat made using Thulasi infused water and honey comes handy to breath fresh and feel healthy. These holy basil throat drops will arrest cough instantly and provide relief like a lozenge. Use good quality honey and preferably home grown thulasi leaves. If not rinse well before use. I would insist on using only honey here and not any other form of sugar because honey has its own list of medicinal properties which I may mention in a different post.

Holy Basil leaves    1 cup
Honey                 1 cup
Water                 2 cups
Cornflour             1/2 cup
Powdered Sugar    1/2 cup

Mix equal amount of powdered sugar and cornflour and spread on a pan ( Can also use just cornflour alone)
Using the cap of a small bottle, make hollow impressions on the flour which is going to act as moulds for the drops.
Rinse the leaves well, add two cups of water and bring to a boil.
Let it boil on medium heat until the water is reduced to 1 cup.
Strain the water and return it to the pan.
Add honey to the basil water and bring to a boil.
Continue to boil until it reaches the hard rock candy stage. (When a small amount of the syrup is dropped in a bowl of water, it turns hard within seconds and snaps easily like a candy)
Remove the pan from heat, using a spoon pour small amounts of the syrup in the moulds prepared earlier using cornflour and powdered sugar mixture. Leave it to cool.
It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to harden and set properly.
Dust off excess flour from the buttons and store them in a jar.

Don't mistake hard rock stage for hard ball stage which is different. If you are not sure of the consistency, test with a small amount of the syrup, see if it sets. If the buttons turn up chewy then put the remaining syrup on heat again and boil until the right consistency has reached and repeat the process.
It is fine to leave some flour mixture sticking to the candy buttons, as it prevents them from sticking to one another while storing.
The basil drops seen in the pictures were photographed after three days of making.

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Hiya all,
Finally on this day of october the 1st, 2012, I have decided to include the comment form, after a long gap of two years. But, I am going to be a bit selfish here and keep all those nice and lovely things that is said for me and only me to cherish and will be sharing any queries that requires clarifications and your experience about the food if you have tried my recipes. So, drop in a word if you have anything to say and thanks a lot for stopping by.
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