This post celebrates ‘Panha’ (pronunced as ‘pun-her’), also known as Aam Panna in other parts of India – a cooling summer beverage made from raw mangoes also called ‘kairi’.
The mango season in India is almost too brief for most mango lovers and it is made even more so by the very limited supplies that I can lay my hands on in the UK.
I spend the rest of the year on memories of the season and counting down to the following year.
This then is my way of celebrating the season and recreating the magic for the rest of the year (or for the length of time that I can stretch my supplies of Panha.)
This is a very simple recipe and the best way to make it is as per your taste. The spices are quintessentially Indian. Add as much or as little as you like.
Quantities can be easily multiplied.
The main role of the sugar is to act as a preservative. The amount to be used also depends on the variety and tartness of the raw mangoes used.
Play around with the ingredients and have some fun. You can’t go wrong.
Preparation for making mango pulp:
1.5 – 2 kg of raw mangoes (Kairi in Marathi or kachche aam in Hindi)
- Pressure cook the mangoes until tender. Discard the peels and seeds.
- Mash the pulp to an even consistency and keep aside.
(The amount of pulp you end up with depends on the variety of mango used and may vary.)
1 kg mango pulp
1.5 kg caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons of powdered cardamom and nutmeg
1.5 teaspoons of saffron strands
- Mix the sugar and the mango pulp together until it is homogenous.
- Add the cardamom and nutmeg to this mix. Taste the jam like mixture and add more spices at this stage if you prefer.
- Add in the saffron and stir well.
- Let the mix rest for a few hours (or even a day) until the mixture turns from a pale lemon yellow to a more golden yellow.
- Your Panha mixture is now ready to be stored in the fridge and enjoyed over the days or weeks to come.
Serving the Panha:
To make a refreshing glass of Panha:
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of the Panha mixture to a tall glass.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Top with ice cold water.
Note: Keep a spoon handy. The jammy mango mix sometimes sinks to the bottom and needs an encouraging stir. Or you can just spoon the remaining bits into your mouth, as I sometimes do. Either ways, nothing gets wasted.