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Gond Katira (Gum Tragacanth) the traditional cooling agent for summers | drinks and desserts made with gond katira


gond katira (gum Tragacanth)

Few years ago I was shopping at Roopak stores (Karol bagh, New Delhi) for my spices and found this pack of edible gum and picked up. When I brought all my grocery for billing, the kind gentleman on the counter asked me why you are buying this Gum (Gond in Hindi) in winters as this is the one used for summers. I was flummoxed as I knew only one type of gum that is called Gond in Hindi and is actually Gum Acacia.

But then it was a good opportunity to know more and I asked him about this special gum useful for summers. What I got to know made me buy 2 packs of the gum and experiment even if it was winter season. He told me this is Gond Katira or Gond Kateera which is used for making Hakimi sharbat in Pakistan and is used in Punjab and Rajasthan in India too. This was definitely one of those tribal medicines that became popular because it worked.

Further search led me to this video where Hakimi Sharbat (medicinal drink) made of Gond Katira is being sold as a cooling agent in summers. Gond Katira is in fact Gum Tragacanth that comes from Astragalus gummifer shrubs and if soaked in water the gum crystals bloom to become a firm jelly.

Gum Acacia and Gum Tragacanth both are collected from wild growing trees in the jungle.This is how gond katira (gum Tragacanth) looks when it starts blooming.
 
blooming gond katira

This jelly is mixed with any rose or khus (Vetiver) sharbat and served chilled to beat the summer heat in the northern plains. You get mouthfuls of the jelly when you sip this sharbat.

gond katira rose sharbat

The bloomed jelly can be mixed with chopped nuts, raisins and Gulkand (sun cooked rose jelly) to make a cooling dessert that looks quite drab but can give all the trifles a run for their money. It doesn't even need any sugar in my case but one can add sugar to taste.

Note that old Gulkand is considered better for summers and I have a 2 year old jar that has lost it's beautiful red colour but the flavour is incredible.

Gond katira gulkand and nuts pudding

Mixed with some fresh cream, nuts and fresh fruits this bloomed gum Tragacanth makes a pudding that looks good too.This pudding can be served as a breakfast porridge or a small portion as an evening snack. One can always make it into a dessert served with pomp.

gond katira pudding with fruits and nuts

Gond katira bloomed in plain water and then mixed with a little fresh mango pulp makes a great drink without any sweetener. The firm bloomed gum feels like falooda.

We tried it with mango cubes and fresh cream too and found that the bloomed gum adapts to just about anything.

gond katira mango juice

After enjoying the bloomed Gond Katira with fruits mostly I decided to make it into a 'bubble tea' which normally uses cooked sago pearls (sabudana).

To make the bubble tea with God katira, add 1/4 cup brewed black tea (cold) to 1 cup full cream chilled milk and 1/4 cup bloomed Gond katira. Add a little honey, mix and enjoy.

gond katira bubble tea

This Gond katira bubble tea with milk and black tea was actually a nice change for me and made my lunch. The bloomed gum is filling and kepe you hydrated for long. Not that you don't need to drink water but it is good to have some vegetarian jello that hydrates too.

Try the bubble tea with gond katira this summer and let me know how you liked it. You would love the pudding made with assorted fruits, nuts and milk too.

To recap the facts, Gum Tragacanth is also known as Gond Katira in Hindi and as Manna, is derived from the tree Astragalus gummifer and is a native of western Asia. 

Some old studies suggest that Gum Tragacanth helps flush out some fat from the human body and helps improve gut health.

Interestingly Gum Tragacanth helps to treat diarrhoea and constipation both and can be part of the regime for treating IBS. I have myself seen IBS getting treated with the combination of soaked (bloomed) gum tragacanth and probiotics like yogurt, sauerkraut and kanji etc. 

Gum Tragacanth is a common additive in some food products as a thickener and emulsifier and is labeled as E413. It is a safe additive to packaged desserts.

We get Gond Katira in the spice market here in Delhi and many high end grocery stores too. You can buy online or let me know if you don't get it anywhere.




Gond Katira (Gum Tragacanth) the traditional cooling agent for summers | drinks and desserts made with gond katira

20 comments

  1. I love this post.. have heard of gond katira, esp because it is very effective in controlling nose bleeds in kids during summer. my son is very prone to them.. I am so glad I read this post because I had no clue how to use it. And if it helps in some weight loss I wouldn't mind having it too :)

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    1. So glad you could find it useful :-)

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  2. Nice information Sangeeta. Learnt something new. I only know one variety of edible gum which we use in the sweets ..

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    1. Even I know only that Gun Acacia but once I started eating this in summer it has been such a delight :-) Thank you.

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  3. Thanks for sharing. Never knew about gond Katira. Although we use gond to make laddu during winters. Pls tell me where we can find in bangalore or online. Also how do we distinguish b/w the usual gond and gond katira

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    1. I am planning a post with the pictures of types of Gond so wait for that please. In Bangalore you would get it by the name of Badam Pissin most probably. Online too it is available at many e-shops

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  4. Sangeeta, you present amazing stuff.

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  5. I saw this gum several times in Indian stores, but I no idea what it was used for. Today I learnt something new. Love your blog Sangeeta! So much knowledge about traditional food. Our ancestors knew their food well. Thanks you!
    - Roopa (long time lurker of your blog)

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    1. Thank you for commenting Roopa :-) Glad you found a reason to comment :-)

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  6. Hi Sangeeta
    I remember my Nani making this drink using this Gond in summers. But the name was different. I have to ask her the name again.She used to make it crusing fresh rose petals with sugar to enhance the flavor. It's been a long time. Had forgotten about it. Here in uae, once an Omani Oudh vendor was selling something like this. But I was not sure whether it's the same thing. Can u pls tell me an online shop where I can order this
    Thanks
    Huma

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    1. I think you are talking about Gond Katira only. Why don't you buy some and test by soaking it in water? Online it is available in Roopak stores and many other e-shops

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  7. This must be what we call "agar gum" in the West! Hardly anyone uses it but I remember when I was small my mom bought a packet once. She made us "healthy jello" with apple juice and it was quite tasty!

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    1. Agar gum is different K. Agar gum comes from algae but this is from a tree species.

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  8. Agar gum is different K~ Agar gum comes from seaweeds while Gum Tragacanth is from a tree.

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  9. This post is so very Useful !! My Mom makes Goond Pak i.e a Famous Winter Desert in Gujarata and Rajasthan :)

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    1. Good pak is made from Gum another gum called as Gum arabic that comes from Acacia plants. This one is different.

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  10. I think this is the same as what is called badam pisin in Tamilnadu.It is used as part of a famous drink called Jigarthanda.Found it yesterday in a khadi outlet in Chennai.

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    1. Yes gum Tragacanth is also called as Badam pisin :-)

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  11. Is gond katira and tibicos/water kefir grains are the same thing. Plz help I am totally confused

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