Saturday, 23 April 2016

Kairicha Panha : A Summer Cooler

Panha or Kairicha Panha (कैरीचे पन्हे) or Aam Panna is a quintessential summer drink. It's cool, sweet, tangy and delicious. The raw mango (कैरी) gives it a tangy-sour flavour that's balanced with the sweetness of jaggery. In Maharashtra, everybody has their own 'family recipe' for Panha. Some families also prefer to add a few strands of saffron before serving. During the olden times, this was seen as a mark of prosperity, since these saffron strands were so expensive (and still continue to be pricey!). I personally don't like saffron in panha because I don't like to have the softened strands suddenly pop into my mouth while I enjoy the cooler! { Yes, I don't like chunky ice creams and steer clear from things like praline (chikki / चिक्की) and flavoured milk with whole nuts! The only spiced milk I like to drink is our recipe :) }

While making Panha, puréeing and straining the concentrate is optional. Some recipes merely mash the cooked raw mango and store it without puréeing but I find that this results in the dense pulp settling at the bottom of the glass.
The type of raw mango you choose will determine the sourness of the final concoction. For a mild tanginess, I would suggest using the Totapuri Mango variety

Recipe for Kairicha Panha:

Raw Mango, Chopped500 gms
Jaggery400 gms
Sugar50 gms
Cardamom Pods7-8
Water100 ml
SaltTo taste
Saffron Strands (optional)A few

How to make Kairicha Panha:

1.Wash, peel and roughly chop the raw mango, discarding the pith/ stone at the centre. Since we're using raw mango, it won't be as hard as in a ripe mango but it needs to be discarded nevertheless.
2.Roughly chop the jaggery and add it into a steel container along with the chopped raw mango, sugar and water. Crush the cardamom pods slightly in a mortar and pestle and pop them in as well.
3.Now place this container into a pressure cooker along with some water at the base of the pressure cooker. (Don't add more water to the mango-jaggery mix) and cook it till the mangoes are soft and mushy. This should take ~4 to 5 whistles.
4.Once cooled, remove the container from the pressure cooker and let it cool further on the counter. It should look like cooked mango pieces in a yellowish liquid.
5.Once completely cool, discard the cardamom pod pieces (remove as many as you can easily see. Don't fret about any pieces that you may have missed out upon.) and using a slotted or spaghetti spoon, collect and purée the raw mango pieces to a smooth texture.
6.Now strain the purée along with the leftover liquid from the container. Mix well. Once completely cooled, bottle this concentrate and keep in the refrigerator. This stays well for 2-3 weeks.

To have a glassfull of Panha, mix 1 part concentrate to 4-5 parts of cool water. The amount of water will depend upon the sourness of the raw mango. Next, add salt and powdered sugar (if required) according to your preference and mx well. You're done!

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