March was a month of crashing mangoes. In the short burst of spring the air was filled with the sticky scent of mango blossoms. Within a few weeks the same branches are bent low with fruit, eager to shed their weight. Temperatures climb higher every day and we yearn for cold, liquid comfort for our parched throats. Happily, the bounty of sour, raw green mangoes is perfect for making big jugs of tangy, salty-sweet aam (mango) panna, a traditional, much-loved summer drink.
In the scorching Indian heat, when the body is leached of fluid and essential salts, I want a refreshing, replenishing summer drink in my fridge. To make aam panna, raw mangoes are cooked to soften their hard flesh into a pulp. Peeled and pureed, the resulting concentrate is a thick, viscous liquid. Aam panna is seasoned with Himalayan black rock salt, (kala namak) sugar and powdered cumin, to counter the sharp sourness of raw mangoes. Black salt, according to Ayurveda is said to cool the body and its mineral-rich composition has many health benefits. It’s sulfurous taste is distinctive. Mixed with cold water, this yields many glasses of delicious, tangy aam panna.It still has a tongue-clicking tartness but with alternating waves of sweet and salt.
I like aam panna to be balanced with equal amounts of sweetness and savoury flavours. But you can choose to use only salt or sugar if that’s your preference. It allows you to play with flavour, by adding crushed mint or finely chopped green chillies or honey instead of sugar. I’m thinking of adding a dash of vodka to jazz it up for Sunday brunches or club soda for a fizzy version.
During the hot summer months, long before sodas and bottled drinks existed, ingenious home cooks used raw green mangoes, available in plenty (most homes had their own mango trees), and turned them into something that’s not just delicious but also healthy. And every year, we turn to these simple, traditional recipes that have become synonymous with the hot season. I enjoy repeating these rituals. They bind me to my roots and reinforce a way way of life, that is rapidly changing. And as another summer looms large, I’m drinking glassfuls of aam panna, silently grateful for its invention.
Aam Panna (Green Mango Cooler)
- 3 medium green mangoes
- 5 tbsps or more according to taste sugar
- 2 tsps rock salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 700 ml water
- Boil the mangoes in a large pot of water for 15-20 minutes until their skin has burst and they have softened.
- Remove the mangoes from the hot water and cool to room temperature.
- Peel the cooled fruit and extract all the flesh in a bowl. Squeeze the stone to yield all the squishy pulp around it.
- Add sugar and salt to the pulp and whizz with an immersion blender (you can also do this in a food processor), till the sugar has dissolved and you have a thick, soupy liquid.
- In a jug, dilute this concentrate with 700 ml cold water, season with cumin powder, mix and chill till ready to serve.
Stephanie | Worth WhiskingApril 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm
This drink looks truly refreshing, Supriya! Mangoes have become a favorite fruit, and I’m interested in trying this recipe. Your prose is lovely, by the way. Very nice writing style.
quichentellApril 18, 2017 at 10:18 am
Thank you for your kind words Stephanie. Will check out your blog
Dawn - Girl Heart FoodApril 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm
What a refreshing cooler! I’ve never had anything like this before! I bet it tastes delicious 🙂
quichentellApril 18, 2017 at 10:21 am
Thank you Dawn. Do try it. Blitz in a few mint leaves for a delicious twist.
heather (delicious not gorgeous)May 5, 2017 at 4:14 am
i’ve never heard of this! i’ve been sitting in my mango lassi bubble for too long (; it sounds so cooling, especially if you add mint!
quichentellMay 9, 2017 at 7:22 pm
Try it Heather. With a dash of vodka if you like
Ashika @ Gardening FoodieMay 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm
WOW Supriya,This looks so cool and refreshing. I have a mango tree in my garden, but have just been using the mangoes to make pickle. Thank you for sharing a delicious recipe
Oh and I love the name of your blog… it is so cute.
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm
Thank you Ashika!
Milena | Craft BeeringMay 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm
I am crazy about cumin and very intrigued by adding it to this mango drink. I love it when sweet and salty are in balance too. I need to buy some green mangoes next time I am out shopping for green papaya.
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm
Milena, cumin is great with tangy drinks. In India it is also used to flavour spiced chaas (buttermilk), another great summer refresher.
David @ SpicedMay 11, 2017 at 5:02 am
That photo of the mangoes on the tree is crazy! We just don’t have mango trees in our area. But fortunately, they are pretty easy to get in the store. I’ll have to grab some to make this cooler sometime this summer. It sounds refreshing and delicious! 🙂
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm
Thanks David. Let me know how it turns out.
Kim | The Baking ChocolaTessMay 11, 2017 at 6:43 am
Looks so refreshing and it sounds wonderful!!
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm
Thank you Kim!
AkaleistarMay 15, 2017 at 7:34 am
That looks so refreshing!
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm
Do try it Akaleistar, if you can get your hands on raw mangoes
Angie@Angie's RecipesMay 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm
I didn’t know that you can use green mango this way…the drink looks so refreshing!
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm
Glad you like it Angie 😀
marcieMay 16, 2017 at 12:04 am
I just love mangos and this drink looks beyond refreshing!
quichentellMay 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm
Thank you Marcie!
Agness of Run Agness RunMay 21, 2017 at 9:35 pm
This is such a refreshing beverage for the hot days! Mangos rule!
quichentellMay 25, 2017 at 11:08 am
You’re right Agnes, they do!