Aam panna, a sweet-tart drink made with raw mangoes is not only delicious, but drinking it has the added benefit of protecting the consumer from heat stroke - a much valued quality in the land of mangoes and sizzling summers. Yum good, I say.
Raw mangoes - 2 - or, as required.
Sugar or Jaggery - to taste
Roasted cumin seed powder (Bhuna Jeera powder) - 1 tsp (or to taste) (for method see here)
Black Salt (sanchal) - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - (optional) 1/8 tsp or to taste
TIP: One average sized raw mango would provide upto four servings. This will vary depending on the consistency.
Wash the green (raw) mangoes).
Isn't it easy to see how the "Paisley" or "Kairi" motif, that of a twisted tear drop, were inspired by these beauties?
I always like to take off the tops first, because of having been brainwashed early on that the sap from the stems is not good to touch - it can cause skin irritation.
Not really required, they can just be washed thoroughly, - but I like to be on the safe side.
Place them in a saucepan (I'm using my favorite pressure cooker, of course) along with a cup or so of water to be cooked. The water used for boiling will be a part of the drink.
Traditionally, in some areas, the mangoes are roasted on coals or an open flame instead of being boiled, which is another option.
One could also peel, deseed, chop the raw mango and boil the pieces.
As a rough estimate, the whole mangoes will take as long to cook as small potatoes - which is fairly quick.
Hmmm - perhaps a saucepan would have been more gentle... (But mangoes do invariably split when boiled.)
No problem, all we need is the pulp. It should be soft.
Reserve the water from the cooker which has some of the mango pulp.
Also there will be quite a bit to scoop off from the skins.
A lot of the pulp will be still attached to the skin and seed, and can be scooped off using either a blunt knife, a spoon, or simply by hand. The seeds and skin can then be discarded.
I find it easier to do the seeds by hand. Squelch it off. Yes - that's right.
So now we have the basic, cooked, green mango paste.
To this we will add roasted cumin powder (TIP: make it fresh for a real zing), some black salt (that lends a very characteristic flavour to this drink), a bit of regular rock salt, and a pinch of chilly powder, and.....
... about a ton of sugar! This can also be jaggery if you like. Here I've used khandsari or unrefined sugar.
You might be surprised to find yourself mixing in much more sugar per glass than you would in lemonade (Shikanji). That's because of the very intense flavours that aam panna contains - the tart mangoes, the earthy, slightly bitter, roasted cumin, the rather sulphuric black salt....
Put it all into the blender, and give it a good whizz.
The "concentrate" is ready.
This will even keep in the fridge for 2-3 days (perhaps longer - but I can't say, - it's always wiped out by the next day in my house!)
Fill up about a third or half of each glass with this and top up with water (and ice, if you like) a good stir and it's ready.
Adjust the spices, salts, sugar and consistency to your liking - thick or thin using more or less of the 'concentrate' in the proportion.
Have a great summer!