Healthy Drinks

Aam Panna, a raw mango-based beverage.

by: admin


Summer Ghosts From Years Earlier

Dehradun’s summer evenings were filled with a strange kind of dullness. The air in the old cottage and yard was dense, opaque, and mysterious with the ghosts of colonial settlers. When the ghosts were being fun, they would frighten the parrots as they dined on sun-ripened mangoes in the silver oaks. You might hear them murmuring at other times, too. Ghouls resided in those mango trees for ages and considered them theirs. My brother also I would often witness our swing, which was perched atop a sturdy limb, merry-go-round. Because the garden belonged to both of us, we didn’t mind.

Even though we were not allowed to enter our mother’s house since she was on night shift and we were too loud, there was nothing else to do in the afternoons. So the gardens, the mangoes, the ghosts, and us, we were all banished till the nightfall. We had a Gharwal High Secondary School, or perhaps a college; I can’t recall; we were in that stage of life when everything seemed at least four times as vast and complex as it does now. The neighbourhood ice cream maker had set up shop outside the second gate as the college was in session. The second gate had a massive, rusted padlock and chain around that one that had never been used. It was unlikely that the gates would ever have been opened because of the decaying leaves and soil that had already encased it in the ground. Maybe it was because the ice cream carts were so popular there that college students preferred to congregate outside our second gate. When we were kids, we were afraid of the college students and would play out in the garden far away from them, out of sight but keeping an eye on them. They appeared to be enormous and fashionable, despite their little stature.

More than anything, we were riveted on the ice vendor, who seemed to have the power to open a portal to another world. Popsicles, cones, and chilly ice creams abound in this land. Just picturing the ice cream vendor’s home makes us want to gorge ourselves. The name “ICE-CREAM” was nearly taboo because of the dire warnings we received about the dangers of eating roadside food that was not prepared properly. That wasn’t the main reason for our poverty; we required just two rupees and had a huge fat zero.

Suddenly, Raghu had a brilliant idea: “Raji let’s strike a deal, I’ve got an excellent one!” he informed me. So That I could never tell a lie, his theories constantly got me into problems. So Raghu told that all I must do is keeping my trap shut, he’d take care of the rest, and he’d reward me with a milky vanilla bars for my cooperation. As soon as he said “milky vanilla bar,” my ears perked up and I followed him. “You give us two ice – cream and we will bring you two bigggg mango, what do you think?” Raghu said to the ice cream vendor after stretching himself to his maximum height and exhaling deeply. “I’ll sell you two ice – cream for four mango, deal or no deal?” the ice cream vendor asked. Even though Raghu sauntered up a nearby tree and took down four enormous mangoes, which barely fit in our tiny palms, everything seemed fair for ice – cream, and we made it to the gate just fine. It was as promised, and the ice cream truck had two vanilla pops ready for us.

My friend Raghu and I chose the farthest mango tree from the house so that no one could see us licking the paper off the pop.

Kairi Panha (literally “raw mango”) is a summer staple in my family’s kitchen. Mango panha iced tea is a must-have during the hot months of the year. My panha was a little more orange than usual so because mangoes were close to ripening, making it look a touch more green than usual. It’s orange mango panha with cardamom, saffron and jaggery, yet it tastes very much like home!

One of the primary reasons I didn’t make panha at home was because my mother typically peels and chop up the raw mangoes and it’s a lot of labour. However, I was reading a cookbook the other day and found a recipe for pressure-cooked raw mangoes. If you want to give this drink a go at home, it’s a cinch. I’m intending to spike the panha with whiskey one night, and the options are endless:)


  • 1 mango, unpeeled and uncut
  • a half cup of jaggery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron, steeped in warm water with a spoonful
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom


Pressure cook the mangoes for one whistle after thoroughly washing them. Remove and allow to cool.

Slitting the cooked mangoes open and scraping off any flesh on the peel with a teaspoon would be the second step. Squeeze out any remaining seed pulp with your hands. Dispose of the seed, if necessary.

If using sugar, add it now and whisk until it is incorporated into the mango pulp and the jaggery and cardamom are dissolved.

Refrigerate the mixture in clean glass jars. My panha yielded about 750 gms, enough to fill 1 + 1/2 Horlicks bottles. To save time, I put another bottle in the freezer and plan to remove it when the other one is finished using.

If you’d like to make kairi panha, simply add ice cubes and water to a glass, then add the panna. Garnish with fresh mint and drink up!

With the panna sauce, you can prepare an easy mango lassi. It’s as simple as pouring some into a glass, adding some cooled milk, and stirring. Adding the mango’s citric acid creates a rich, creamy mango lassi. It’s a two-for-one deal:

To commemorate her third year of blogging, Srivalli of Cooking 4 Any Seasons is holding a Thanda Mela event. For her, I’ve got a chilled glass of Aam Panna on the table!




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