Fennel seed syrup -Variyali Sharbat

Fennel seeds Drink is a refreshing summer beverage popular especially in Gujarat, India. It is hard to find an Indian house that won’t have fennel seeds in their pantry. Fennel seeds are known for their digestive and cooling properties, that is why everywhere in India it is served post meal, as a mouth freshener.  No Indian meal is complete without a serving of fennel seeds at the end, may it be at home or a restaurant. 

It is also common to have fennel seed sharbat/drink during hot summer months to beat the heat. You can mix up this syrup in milk or water and drink it up. It also makes a great syrup for cocktails!!!

Yield: 1 liter of Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams Fennel (Variyali) Seeds, lightly roasted
  • 750 grams Granular Sugar
  • 1 liter Water

How To:

  • Lightly roast the fennel seeds for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring it constantly so that it does not burn. Keep it aside to cool.
  • Once it is cool enough to handle, grind the fennel seeds to a coarse powder, keep it aside.
  • In a pot add water and sugar and bring it to boil, stirring it occasionally. This will take about 5-8 minutes.
  • Once it comes to a boil simmer it further on high for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Take it off heat, add the ground fennel seeds to this sugar syrup and mix it all together. Cover and keep it aside overnight or at-least 12 hours. You can keep it out on counter or in refrigerator after the syrup cools down to room temperature.
  • Next morning strain the fennel seeds using a fine sieve or a nut bag. It is okay if some crushed fennel seeds make it into the syrup. Transfer this to a glass bottle and store it in the refrigerator, use it as required. You might see some separation in the syrup which is normal, just shake it before using it.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Fennel seed drink with milk: In a glass take a cup of milk, add 4 oz of fennel syrup and stir it all together, add some ice and serve. I usually use homemade almond milk, but any milk will do. Adjust the syrup quantity per your preference.
  • Fennel seed drink with water: In a glass add some ice and 4 oz of fennel syrup, about 1/2 cup water, stir it together and serve. Adjust the syrup quantity per your preference.
  • You can add it to various fruit juices or mock-tails.
  • You can add it to various cocktails especially Gin based. Add it to your Mojito or Margaritas to give a nice fennel flavor to it.

Note:

  • You can easily scale down the recipe to suit your needs.
  • Fennel seeds: Roasting the fennel seeds makes it easier to grind. You can grind the fennel seeds as coarse or fine as you choose. You can also choose not to strain the syrup as well, but keep in mind it will be too much fennel seeds in it especially when you are making a drink.
  • Leftover Fennel seeds: I store the leftover fennel seeds from straining in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Eat them post lunch/dinner as a digestive or mouth freshener, which is a common practice in India.
  • Sugar: Ideally you would use Rock sugar to make this drink. But it is not easily available everywhere so you can substitute it with any granular sugar you have like regular white granular sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, jaggery or honey .
  • Color: You can add a few drops of green color to the syrup before storing it. This gives a nice green color to the drink. It is completely optional to use, I have never used it as I like to keep things as much natural as possible.
  • Shelf life: If stored in an airtight glass bottle in a refrigerator, it will stay good for 2-3 months.

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