Panna!

May. 7th, 2017 12:49 pm
questioncurl: a platter of food and fruits, with a notebook, on a blanket (food)
[personal profile] questioncurl
 I finally made it. It's not actually that complicated, and it's the perfect drink for this part of the summer when the dry heat feels like living in a dehydrater. It's sweet-tart and has all cooling* ingredients—raw mangoes, black salt, zeera and water. Only the sugar is warming.* Recipe behind the cut. 

glass jug and glass of bright yellow mango panna

What you need:
*
cold water
* sugar 
* black salt
* cumin seeds
* mint leaves (optional)
* raw mangoes—the bigger ones that are ripening are better than the tiny bullet-hard ones

What you do:

1. Wash the mangoes. I used about 2 kilos of mangoes, but this was a LOT.
    
a glass bowl of washed green mangoes

2. Roast the mangoes. Traditionally this is done over charcoal or a wood fire. I put them directly on to a gas flame and rotate them using tongs till the skin is crisp and black all over. At a pinch you can microwave them, but the skin won't char and you won't get a smoky flavour in the finished drink so this is very much a last resort. 


 a blurred photo of a green mango roasting on a gas stove

black, charred mangoes


3. Let the mangoes cool a little and then peel them. The peel comes off very easily but tends to crumble. Try to remove as much of it as possible, but a few pieces left in only add to the smoky flavour.

peeled bright yellow mangoes

4. Now put the mangoes in a deep pot and pour cold water over them, enough to cover them completely. With your fingers crush the pulp into the water and remove the stones. You can scrape any remaining pulp off the stones with a  spoon if needed.

5. Add sugar and black salt. For sugar, add roughly 1/4 the amount of pulp (eg: 1 kg of pulp = 250 gms of sugar) but add more if it's still too tart—I had to this time because the mangoes were just too sour. The black salt is to taste. You can always add more later if you like, but definitely put some in at this stage, or it will taste uncooked.

6. Add more water, as much as the pot will reasonably hold, and boil. Simmer over a low heat for at least an hour. It will cook down, but shouldn't become a paste. You can add more water if the pot is small and looks like it will stick. I stirred it on and off, but if there is enough water, you don't have to hover over it constantly.

7. In a separate pan, dry-roast a handful of cumin seeds. Grind them roughly (in a mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon, just enough to release the taste. Putting them in a mixie or coffee grinder is overkill) and add to the panna when it's done. (After this, I went and lay on the floor for a while, even though it was late at night. It's too hot to function without lying-on-cold-surface breaks)

8. Cool completely and bottle. When drinking it, you should mix it with more cold water, black salt to taste, and a few sprigs of mint.    

 * Cooling/warming foods -- this is a concept from ayurveda/umami/other sorts of traditional sciences. Basically, every food has a cooling or warming property, which has nothing to do with whether it is actually hot or cold itself. It's the affect the food has on the body when eaten or spread etc. For example, sugar and ginger are warming -- they heat you up on the inside after you eat them. So do milk, turmeric, cinnamon and ripe mangoes. But yoghurt is cooling, as are cucumbers, melons, lemons, and spices like cumin and black salt. There must be lists of this stuff somewhere, but generally one learns it by osmosis ('don't eat mangoes in the middle of the day! don't you know they'll make your insides boil?')** and, eventually, starts being able to guess/infer the properties of foods that are new to you.
**this one will never be forgotten, because my sister literally was covered in boils after sneaking away to eat mangoes in the middle of a scorching summer afternoon
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