Roasted Aam Panna ( Aka Smoked Mango Nectar )
An agonizing period of waiting followed till the tiny mangoes turned somewhat bigger and plumper. Not they hadn't ripened. But one could still savour them raw in the form of many chutneys, an occasional pickle or the most awaited combination with some salt and red chili powder. Such simple bliss. Sadly, it would easily turn into sheer agony when one went overboard with the mangoes or the red chili powder. And when such occurrences turned frequent, the elders would take turns ensuring that we did not venture too close to the mango trees.
But the elders were not the only ones who kept the kids in check. Tradition demanded that the first fruit be offered to Lord Krishna on Dola Purnima ( Holi ). And a rather strict grandmother ensured that the mischievous kids fell in line with that diktat of hers. The stories concocted by her would seem dubious in hindsight but at a young age, they instilled enough fear in mind to quell any lingering notions of mischief.
However, once the curfew on the green mangoes got lifted, they would lose their charm all too rapidly. Everyone looked forward to relishing the sweet flesh of the ripe yellow ones. And most of the ripening would be done at home. Once the mangoes reached a certain size and took on a particular hue, they would be plucked carefully and tucked into a dark corner within the house to ripen in the safety of those bamboo baskets. Apparently, homo sapiens are not the only species who enjoy this delicious fruit. Other species ( and your neighbors too ) can also take a shine to this rather yummy fruit . Hence, the extra protection, though painful at times, is always recommended.
But everything is forgotten once the mangoes start to ripen and fill the house/garden with their excruciatingly sweet smell. Suddenly mangoes are a part of every meal. For mango lovers like me, this period of sheer bliss is nothing less than an annual honeymoon. And a guaranteed one too. This is often followed by a period of abstinence (thanks to the overdose of mangoes) which is quickly replaced by renewed enthusiasm as the mango seasons draws to an end. And finally one says goodbye to the mango with a heavy heart. Sigh !!
But worry not. This is just the start of the mango season and the recipe that I am sharing is one made from the green mangoes. 'Aam Panna' or the green mango drink is sheer delight on the senses. It is a traditional summer cooler which is a great way to beat the heat without resorting to bottled drinks with loads of added chemicals. While panna is usually made from boiled mango pulp, I have roasted the green mangoes to infuse the flesh with a smokey flavor. Also, I have used jaggery instead of sugar which makes it all the more healthy.
Read on for this refreshing recipe -
Preparation Time - 15 mins
- 1 green mango
- 3 tsp jaggery or as per taste
- 2 pinch black salt
- a pinch of table salt ( recommended for the sour mangoes )
- 2 pinch pepper powder
- a pinch of cardamom
Note - The color of the panna will vary according to the sweetener used. Sugar will give it a pale yellow color while jaggery will give it golden brown to richer brown tones.