About This Recipe
In the blazing yellow heat of the high Indian summer, aam panna is a gloriously cooling green drink made of unripe mangoes, spices, salt, and sweeteners. Dehydration is a constant danger in hot climates, and over time, Indians have developed a range of cooling beverages to deal with this. A homegrown electrolyte booster, aam panna has variations across India, but a jar of the concentrate is often on hand anytime a guest comes in from the sun. Offering someone the liquid relief of a cold drink on a hot day is a special way to connect and resonates with so many cultures around the world. I add lemongrass for that little something extra!
Raw mango is traditionally regarded as a cooling ingredient in India. In Ayurveda it is recommended for gut issues and it’s also rich in calcium and vitamins A and C — all great for skin, hair and bones. It also has compounds such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene to protect against age-related macular degeneration and could protect against prostate cancer. The citral in lemongrass has antifungal and antimicrobial properties, and the plant also contains quercetin, kaempferol, and other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. As a diuretic, it can help flush toxins and maintain digestive health. Aam panna can prevent dehydration and maintain electrolyte balance.
Note: For a perfectly balanced glass of aam panna, add 150 ml of the concentrate to 200 ml water to make the drink. This recipe will give you 5 tall glasses.
Equipment: Pressure cooker (optional), blender
- 2 to 3 (500 g) unripe green mangoes
- 1 stalk of lemongrass
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp Indian black salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup (190 g) organic jaggery
- ½ to ¾ cup fresh mint leaves
Step 1Rinse the mangoes and place them in a traditional pressure cooker. Smash the bulb of the lemongrass and add it in as well. Add the water and pressure-cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 whistles. Let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker. Alternately, boil the mangoes and lemongrass in a stock pot until soft enough that a toothpick goes through easily. Remove the mangoes and let cool.
Step 2Once the mangoes are cool enough to handle, use your hands or a spoon to remove the pulp into a blender jar or food processor. Compost the skin and any seeds.
Step 3Add black salt, cumin, jaggery, and mint to the mango pulp and blend until smooth. Use leftover water from the pressure cooker or stock pot if necessary to help get a smooth but thick concentrate. Taste and adjust spices, salt, and sweetener, if needed.
Step 4Store the aam panna concentrate in the fridge in an airtight glass jar for up to a month. To serve, add 3 to 4 Tbsp of concentrate to a glass. Add ice cubes and fill the glass with chilled water. Stir to combine. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Substitutions: Use your preferred sweetener to taste.