Aam Panna – A Refreshing drink made with Raw Mangoes
I cannot tell you how good it feels to sit back on my computer and write this post. It has been eons (almost 1 1/2 years) since my last post/update. Before going any further, to all of you who did not know, the absence was because of a cute little angel. We are blessed with a baby girl. She came into our lives in February last year. Sorry it took me so long to tell you We have named her Nikita and she currently, happily gets my attention 24/7. I have been busy settling into the routines of motherhood, keeping up with her demands and thoroughly enjoying my time playing silly games with her!! She does something new everyday and there is no dearth of entertainment here! More than that I have been busy watching her grow up. She already seems so grown up now! Look at the photos here and you’ll see what I mean! The first one here was taken just a few days after she was born. And the second one just about a week ago.
That’s my baby! My naughty little girl. You will hear a lot more about this cutie in the coming posts. Right now my biggest challenge with her is FOOD. Mealtimes are like war zones in our house now. I struggle to get a few morsels of food into her stomach, screaming at the top of my voice, singing nursery rhymes, showing her videos on you tube. I just hope this scenario gets better as she grows up!!
As I mentioned in my previous post, we are now in Kharagpur and it is HOT as HELL right now. All I want to do is sip on something cold all day long. And today’s recipe is one of my favorites. My mom has been making this since my childhood. It was forgotten for a long time and this year it has been promptly made because of the abundance of raw mangoes at this time of the year. The combination of ingredients in this drink is supposed to be very cooling for your body. It has a bright, clean flavor from the fresh mint and is a perfect harmony of sour, sweet and salty. A perfect summer coolant and thirst quencher. Make a large batch and refrigerate. It will last you a couple of days.
And did I tell you that I have three HUGE mango trees in my backyard!! And two jack fruit tress, that are laden with hundreds of jack fruits right now!! And one grapefruit tree that bears the largest and the sweetest grapefruits I have ever tasted! And one wood apple “bel” tree! And a custard apple, “seetha phal” tree. Perks of living in India and having a nice backyard Of the three mango trees, one bears extremely large, fleshy mangoes that are best eaten when raw, sprinkled with some salt and red chilli powder. The mangoes from the other two trees are very sweet when ripe. During the season we needn’t buy any mangoes from the market So the point is, in the next few days you will see a lot of recipes featuring mangoes and jack fruits! Both raw and ripe!
Okay, now getting back to today’s recipe, this is nothing new. There are hundreds of recipes on the web. But this is how my Amma made it and the way I like it. This drink comes from the Northern parts of India. The “Aam” in the name means Mangoes and I am assuming Panna means drink! Enlighten me if you know what it exactly is. You may use jaggery instead of sugar in the following recipe, but the taste will be very different, slightly more earthy and nice. I like it both ways. The mangoes that you need to use for this drink need to be raw and sour. If for any reason you are unable to find raw mangoes, try making this with underripe, firm mangoes and use a little bit of lemon juice to compensate for the sourness. The consistency of aam panna is quite watery. Keep tasting and add water according to your preference. The amounts of sugar, salt and spices mentioned here are just guidelines. How much you want to use is up to you. But trust me, this combination of flavors works wonders.
Raw Mango (preferably sour) – 2 medium sized
Roasted Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Black Salt or Kala Namak – 1 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp (optional, I don’t use this)
Sugar – 1/2 cup (more or less, adjust to taste)
Fresh Mint leaves – 1/4 cup (packed)
Water – about 6-7 cups
1. Wash the raw mangoes and pressure cook for a couple of whistles until the mangoes are mushy. Alternatively, boil the mangoes in a covered saucepan until mushy, this process just takes longer, about 20-25 minutes. Do not discard the water used for boiling.
2. Remove the skin and the seed of the mangoes scrapping off any flesh from them. No, please don’t waste any of that mango goodness!
3. Now place the mango pulp, sugar mint leaves, black salt, cumin powder and pepper powder if using in a blender with adequate water. Make a fine puree. Usually you need not filter this as long as your mangoes were not too fibrous. Taste and adjust the spices/sugar to your taste.
Tip: To make the roasted cumin powder, toast the cumin seeds in a pan on slow heat until aromatic, but not burnt. Cool and grind in your spice grinder. You can also use store bought cumin powder, but the flavor won’t be as robust as the homemade one. But its not bad either.
4. Remove this puree to a pitcher, add water and ice cubes. Taste and serve CHILLED!!
Note: The amount of water, sugar and spices is purely up to you. The taste of Aam Panna is sweet but with a nice sour/salty aftertaste. That’s the guideline. Beyond that you may do whatever pleases your palate. If you are making a large batch do not add the extra water now. Refrigerate the concentrated puree and top it off with water and ice as and when required. That way you’ll save some space in your fridge!
Best served chilled on hot summer days! Enjoy your summer and I will see you next with a very interesting recipe. A recipe involving raw jack fruit from my garden! Take care until then