Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Aam Panna or Kairi Panna - A refreshing Indian Raw Mango Squash

I have been cribbing about the hot weather for a while now, and not just me, almost everyone is. I have realized that off-late most of my phone conversations back home or with anyone else in this country has at least 5mins dedicated to discussing the weather, the increasing heat and the eternal wait for monsoon J. Last week I was talking to Mom, she had just come back from the market and she said that she could barely shop for anything because of the crazy heat, back there the temperature had reached a 118 degrees! While talking to me she was making herself Aam Panna and was telling me how refreshing and energizing it was. It gave her the strength to enter the kitchen and cook dinner  J. She insisted that I should also make some and store it in the refrigerator, it’s good for health and me and R should drink it regularly. I did take her advice seriously (I am smart enough to know that Mom’s are always right and listening to her was in my best interestJ) and headed towards the kitchen.

Aam Panna is a popular Indian summer cooler. It’s a delicious refreshing drink well known for its heat resistant properties.

The traditional way of making this is by roasting the raw mangoes (kairi) over coal since that was not an option for me I decided to roast in on an open flame. This gives the drink a nice smoky flavour. While roasting and the Mangoes the house was filled with  a heavenly smoky mangoey smell... R came in the kitchen and said ‘this really smells like summer’ the aroma brings back all the memories of our mom’s making this for us throughout summers J

We relished this drink hopefully other’s too enjoy this refreshing squash this summer! 

Aam Panna/Raw Mango Squash

2-3 Large raw Mangoes
½ cup Sugar
Black Salt/Rock Salt/Kala Namak to taste (about 1 tsp)
1 ½ tsp Roasted Cumin seeds
1 cup fresh Mint Leaves

For Serving
Water & Crushed Ice
Cherries & Raspberry Sugar (Optional)
Juice of half lemon
Pinch of Salt


The mangoes can be cooked in 3 ways:
     1)    Roast on an open flame: Roast the whole mango over an open flame till the skin is charred and  
          the pulp has softened. Once roasted the skin can be peeled easily.
     2)    Baking: Wrap the mangoes in a foil and bake it in the oven at 300 degrees till the pulp is soft 
          and cooked through.
     3)    Boiling: Pressure cook the mangoes for 2-3 whistles or boil it in a pot filled with water for about 
          15-20 minutes.

Once the mangoes are cooked the pulp should be soft. Peel off the skin and remove the pulp in a bowl.

Pulse the Sugar, Cumin seeds & rock salt together in a blender to a powder.

Combine the powder & pulp together till you achieve a thick homogenous mixture.
This pulp can be stored in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days in an airtight glass/plastic container.

To serve

Mix about 4 teaspoons of the pulp with half a glass of chilled water, 1/3 cup crushed ice and a few torn mint leaves.

Optional: I served it garnished with cherries and raspberry sugar on the rim of the glass. For covering the rim with sugar, place the lemon juice in one plate & the raspberry sugar & a pinch of salt combined in another plate. Dip the glass in the lemon juice and then in the sugar.
The crunch of salty & tangy sugar goes really well with the sweet and tangy flavour of the drink.  

For the Raspberry Sugar


1 cup coarse Sugar
4-5 Raspberries


Combine the Sugar & Raspberries & pulse it in a blender a couple of time. (do not over this or else you will end up with a powder/paste)

Remove it on a large plate, spread evenly. Dry it in the sun for about 2 hours.

Then store it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. It can be stored for about 2-3 weeks.  

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