Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Dried Ginger Ale (Sonti Kashayam )

I was tagged by lovely Rosa of Yummy Yums to list my cold/flu remedies. Like her, it’s been a while, 10 years to be exact, since I got sick. I go through mental up&downs like a normal human being, but physical ailments like common cold/flu, fever etc., nothing, nada, zip. My immune system, like me, seems to be enjoying an early retirement deal. Or overworking? Anyway, the deal is not bad at all.

Home remedies for common cold & flu, that I can think of, like and often prepare-cold or no cold, are- one is tomato rasam, I blogged already and the other is ‘sonti kashayam’. This traditional remedy, an ayurvedic weapon against cold/flu is prepared with dried ginger, black peppercorns and sweetened with jaggery or honey. The resulting concoction is one strong drink that reboots the downgraded systems, starting with GI. Body on fire, is the sensation it gives at first. Then once it settled down there, ginger and peppercorn work their magical powers and make the symptoms of cold/flu disappear.

Sonti (Dried Ginger), Black peppercorns and Jaggery

(For two cups)

1 inch length dried ginger (Sonti) (available in Indian grocery shops)
4 peppercorns (Miriyalu)
1 tsp of powdered jaggery or honey
1 glass of water


First, make a powder of dried ginger and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle. Meanwhile take water in a pot, bring it to a rolling boil. Add the powdered ginger, pepper and jaggery to the water. Cover partially; boil it for at least 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover completely, and let it rest for 5 minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes of rest period, using a filter, pour the drink into a glass. Stir to cool and finish it off in two or three gulps.
Set the body on fire and say goodbye to cold/flu symptoms.

Variation – add tealeaves to make an extra strong tea or plain soda (carbonated water) to make ale.
A Drink of Sonti Kashayam (Dried Ginger Ale)

A glass of Sonti Kashayam (dried ginger ale)

I like this meme (to spread) and I would love to learn other food bloggers remedies for common cold/flu. So I’m going to tag

Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries
Barrett of Too Many Chefs
Brett of In Praise of Sardines
Doc of Gluttony is no Sin
Heidi of 101 Cookbooks (Thank you Heidi, for ‘Daily Links’)
Kay of Towards a Better Tomorrow
Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness

I’m sure they have some fabulous remedies up their sleeves and I hope they share them with us

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Ginger & Sonti (Monday January 23, 2006 at 9:11 am- permalink)
Comments (28)

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28 comments for Dried Ginger Ale (Sonti Kashayam ) »

  1. I use ginger for colds and flu, too. Your drink sounds amazingly good, though!

    I might make some just to drink it. 😉

    I will post about my cold and flu remedies sometime this week–Sunday at the latest.

    I am crazy busy preparing for Chinese New Year–the first day of it falls on Morganna’s 16th birthday, so we are having a big feast for her this Sunday….

    Comment by Barbara — January 23, 2006 @ 11:57 am

  2. Please convey birthday wishes to Morganna, Barbara.

    Sunday is not that far and you have already a big feast to prepare. So, don’t worry about this meme. Please take your time and post at your convenience.

    Comment by Indira — January 23, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  3. Sounds great, Indira. I think I’ll make myself some right now, since I’m fighting a little cold. I’m curious whether fresh ginger is as effective as dried, or does it have different properties according to Ayurvedic medicine?

    Comment by Brett — January 23, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  4. I’m going to tag you too Brett. Please share cold/flu remedies with us, in your wonderfully written words.

    About ayurvedic differences between fresh and dry ginger – I don’t know how significant they are. One thing I can tell you is by taste. They taste completely different from each other.This particular concoction, I prefer it, only with dried ginger.

    Comment by Indira — January 23, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

  5. Oh I love the sound of that! I am going to Little India tomorrow to see if I can get dried ginger.

    Comment by MM — January 23, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  6. Oh! I’ve been tagged! 🙂 Well, I dont know any traditional recipes for cold, but have an excellent one I picked with help from Google and it worked wonders with me. Will soon post that.

    Thanks Indira for the recipe, sounds really good for a cold!

    Comment by Kay — January 23, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

  7. I have had two different Chinese chefs, one Filipino, and one from China, make fresh ginger tea for me when I have had a stomach ache–they too, told me that it heats the body (and it does), and that it is good for making the immune system stronger.

    Their recipe was honey, (one insisted on Chinese honey, saying that it had different medicinal properties because of the flowers it was made from), water, lemonjuice and peel, and fresh ginger, unpeeled, cut into chunks and smashed, simmered on the stove until it is thick and very fragrant.

    It does calm the stomach. I suspect that with extra shots of lemon juice at the end–the citric acid boils out of it when it is put into the pot to simmer–that it would be good for colds and sore throats, too.

    Indira replies…
    With lemon juice? sounds very interesting, I’ll give it a try, Barbara. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

    Comment by Barbara — January 24, 2006 @ 10:58 am

  8. Indira –

    Cold or not… this drink with soda sounds great!! Do you get dried ginger in regular grocery stores?

    Indira replies..
    GM.. you got it! We love it with club soda particularly during summer months, very refreshing. I buy dried ginger in Indian grocery shops.

    Comment by garammasala — January 24, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

  9. I’m afraid I got nuthin’.

    I’m the sort who catches a cold, no matter what I do. I’d love to have you immune system!

    I mean, I could stand next to someone who had a cold three weeks ago, and I’d get sick. Sigh…been that way my entire life.

    Indira replies…
    ah.. that’s bad. I so wish to catch a cold. I tried all kinds of methods to catch it but nothing worked so far. 🙂
    No comforting foods or foods that relieve symptoms of flu/cold?

    Comment by Stephanie — January 24, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

  10. Hmmm… should I dry my own ginger? 🙂

    We’ve always had salabat, fresh ginger brew, when we have colds and coughs. They even make us drink it if we have to sing, like in a choir. Hehehe!

    Comment by Karen — January 24, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  11. Indira, I am sipping this as I write it — yeah I didn’t wait until it cools. It definitely is a great way to heat up! Thanks — finally I started using the jaggery that I bought after reading many of your recipes using it!

    Indira replies…
    finally I convinced atleast one person to try jaggery, not bad. 🙂
    This drink is an acquired taste, it takes time to get used to the taste like all spirited drinks.
    I so wanted to try Boza, before making it at home, first I want to have a taste. I’m checking the middle eastern shops, no luck sofar.

    Comment by fethiye — January 24, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  12. I’m afraid not.

    It’s customary to have chicken soup in America, but obviously, not for me!

    When I’m sick, I don’t want to eat or drink anything…I lose my tastebuds.

    How about this: next time I’m sick, you come for a visit!?

    And by the way…I get more referral visits from your blog than *anywhere* else.

    Indira replies…
    ahh.. Stephanie, that’s really bad.
    I went through a life threating illness and one and half year of strong powderful medication in my early twenties. My body systems changed after that. small stuff – no more for me.
    A visit..hmm..I’ll definitely bring a bowl of my famous tomato rasam and this ginger ale for you to try. 🙂
    Really, Stephanie?I’m glad then. Lots of hungry foodies wandering around here. 🙂

    Comment by Stephanie — January 25, 2006 @ 12:06 am

  13. Hi Indira,
    envyin on ur pics lol

    btw i grind the dry ginger after roasting them in ghee until light brown and take the powder with cooked rice every meal. it works like charm 🙂 r my allambarapa is always there 😉

    Indira replies…
    I’m happy that you like the pics, Raji.:)
    That’s a very healthy thing to do. I like your method and will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    I’m curious, sonti in rice… is it a family tradition or your idea?

    Comment by anusharaji — January 25, 2006 @ 1:47 am

  14. Interesting… I’m going to take note of your recipe and if somebody at home feels not so well, I’ll prepare this useful drink!
    What do you recommend for headaches?

    Indira replies…
    Thanks for tagging me Rosa. I really enjoyed responding to this meme.
    For headaches – head massage works for me. Foodwise, I can’t think of anything except strong dose of coffee or tea.

    Comment by Rosa — January 25, 2006 @ 6:36 am

  15. Indira, the taste was right –nothing to try to get used to 🙂 Heats you up instantly which is very much needed in some parts of the world right now. One difference between the one I made and the one you posted is the dry vs fresh ginger. This might become one of nightly “chai”s for us, as I liked it hot.

    As far as boza; I am not sure if you can find it in Middle Eastern stores. It is mostly known in the Balkans. Not even every part of Turkey knows about it. Even though it is drunk cold, it usually is associated with cold weather. It does need to some acquired taste, too. So, if you want to try, I’d suggest using 1/3 cup of the rice & bulgur before making a huge batch. I wish we were living close by; I could have given you some.

    Comment by fethiye — January 25, 2006 @ 11:55 am

  16. Indira, I posted a remedy in my blog!

    Indira replies…
    thanks Kay for responding to the meme.

    Comment by Kay — January 26, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  17. I must say that you take good photographs…why don’t you do a post with food photography tips !!!


    Comment by Shalu — January 29, 2006 @ 9:37 pm

  18. Hi Indira, Your recipes are cool!! We regularly visit your website.

    Have a question on Allam kashayam, how often do you give kashayam when someone has cold/cough and the quantity.


    Indira replies:
    Hi Shobha, thanks!
    2 or 3 times a day, about 50 to 60 ml or a small tea cup.
    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Shobha — May 21, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

  19. pls help me how to make ginger powder, what is ingredgent

    Comment by fred — October 1, 2006 @ 2:09 am

  20. I was sniffling through the tail end of a cold when I read your recipe so I walked out to the kitchen and made a batch. The sniffles started disappearing after the first two sips….. 🙂 Thank you.

    Comment by maygyver — October 7, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

  21. really that sounds a good remedy , if i ever get attached with cold i will surely try it

    Comment by aruna — December 23, 2006 @ 2:31 pm

  22. hello, Indira,
    I am very happy to discover your blog because I am trying a lot of indian stuffs… I prepare regularly a very strong potion against colds with fresh ginger (black pepper and co… , I give the recipe on my blog) … I am going to try your drink with dry ginger … thanks from Paris. V.

    Comment by venezia — March 27, 2007 @ 10:46 am

  23. Hi there

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I just got a col and was searching for a recipe on kashayam. great hit. Looks like i am going to favourite this site.

    Thanks again for the wonderful recipe

    Comment by Srikanth — October 15, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  24. Can this be taken as a daily drink ?

    Comment by Mudit — December 5, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  25. Indira, thank you for sharing this. Many of my friends this winter were homes to colds and/or the flu at some point, yet somehow (perhaps drinking tea every day) I avoided these ills. Not having the flu myself, but seeing others with it, I told them about this recipe once I’d read it. Some willingly tried it, and it always made a difference.

    Then just a few days ago I was exposed to the cold, and eating less healthily as of late, it managed to break through my defenses. I brewed up some of this using a decent chunk of dried ginger, a good dozen peppercorns, and threw in a few of the chai spices to hopefully temper the strength of the ginger (it helped very little). Oh, and the jaggery too (took me a while to get some, but it’s lovely). Took a nap later in the day, and upon awakening, felt great.

    Enough with the rambling, but had to share my experience with it, seeing it worked so well. Thanks again!

    Hi Chiggles,
    It is one powerful drink, isn’t it? It’s good to read that you had great experience with sonti kashayam. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by chiggles — March 10, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  26. I didn’t know you could actually make your own ginger ale.. .but I will have to try it. I’m early in my pregnancy and the doctor recommended ginger ale for the nausea, but we haven’t been able to find any where we live that is made with real ginger. This looks like a solution!

    Comment by Rocky Patel — March 6, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

  27. I don’t know if you’re still checking comments on a post this old, but in case you are, I have a question. I can’t find dried ginger anywhere in Tucson, so could I use my dehydrator to dry fresh ginger? Or, do they add something to the already dried ginger? Do you know approximately how much the piece of ginger you use weighs? (Cos if I were to do it myself I would first slice it into strips using my mandolin, as I know it would dry better that way. I have everything else to make this concoction, and I really want to try it. (Mostly for a ‘warming’ beverage, or tea. Yes, I would first try it hot. Our weather gets very cold at this time of year, even though it is ‘the desert’. And, I have like zero tolerance to cold weather. I REALLY hope you read this.

    Comment by Carolina_D — October 29, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  28. I just thought of something else. I wonder if we could use ‘candied’ ginger? It’s boiled in syrup, then coated with either sugar or crushed jaggery.(I love jaggery, and order it online, but can’t so far find dried ginger online.) Since I make my own candied ginger, I would try putting it in the dehydrator as soon as it has air dried for a few days. Do you think this would work?

    Comment by Carolina_D — October 31, 2012 @ 3:02 am

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