I am presenting my favorite Marathi beverage: panha, a drink made with raw mangoes. As the seasons inch towards the heat of summer, around early April, the mango starts making its appearance in the vegetable market. If one is lucky, there will be a tree in your backyard so you never have to buy these.
Raw mangoes are prized for many seasonal delights, both sweet and savory. Panha is made by cooking chopped raw mangoes with some jaggery (sugar can also be used). The cooked pulp is mashed, seasoned with some salt and cardamom powder and mixed with ice-cold water to make a delicious and refreshing drink.
Traditionally, panha is served at many afternoon events during the summer months, the heat during that time makes the thought of hot tea pretty much unbearable! On these occasions, panha is paired with a savory snack called vatali dal, made by grinding together soaked chana dal and grated raw mangoes with some chillies and salt. This dal-panha combo is just a fantastic treat and somehow makes even the harsh summer months worth looking forward to!
Jaggery or sugar - 3/4 to 1 Cup - Quantity will depend on the sourness of the mangoes and your sweet tooth.
Saffron strands - 1/4 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
- Wash the mangoes. Boil water in a pot.
- Put mangoes in that and boil till mangoes are soft. It will take about 10-15 minutes.You can pressure cook the mangoes. for 2 whistles
- Let the mangoes cool. Remove the skin and the inner seed and keep the pulp.
- Blend the pulp well with the jaggery in the blender or you can mash it well with your hand.
- Add cardamom powder and saffron. The thick pulp is ready.
- You can prepare the thick pulp and keep it in the fridge.
- When you want to serve, add about ¼ glass pulp into a glass, top with cold water. Stir to mix well or you can use a hand blender or a mixer.
- Add ice cubes and serve.
- Jaggery tastes better, gives good color and is more nutritious than sugar. I usually prefer to use jaggery.
- You can add Rock salt / pepper powder or nutmeg powder for extra flavor and taste. This is not added in the original kairi panha recipe. But you can sure make your variations.
- I have seen people add green food color to aam panna but I really like the original color you get with raw mango and jaggery, so I never felt the need to use artificial color. You may try to use it if you wish.
- You can pressure cook mangoes. It will take the same time as rice. Cool the mangoes. Remove the skin and the seed. Use the pulp.
- Put mangoes in a pot. Fill with water and bring to boil. Let boil for 10-15 minutes. Discard the water. Cool the mangoes and peel carefully. Remove seed. Use the pulp.
- Peel mango using a peeler or a knife.Boil in water till just done as above. It will take about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the mango. Cool and squeeze the seed out of the mango. Blend the pieces along with water to pulp.
- Peel and cut mangoes in pieces and boil the pieces. Cool and blend in blender. You can use the water in which the mangoes were boiled.