The assortment of Indian street food and the rich variety of snacks and quick meals never leaves tourists with a lack of options (and this paan recipe is living proof). Sure, you can find a lot of spicy curries, delicious kebabs, mouth-watering pastries, and tasty sweets, but there are also some savory snacks that might not be the tastiest thing in the world for foreigners but locals just love them. One of these street food inventions is the sweet paan recipe.
You can easily spot street food vendors offering their version of paan everywhere in India and this savory snack is one thing that all Indians from around the country like to have after a hearty meal. If you want to know why that’s the case and learn how to make paan at your home in less than 5 minutes, keep reading.
What is Paan?
Paan is a savoury snack that combines betel leaf and areca nut as the basic ingredients and is consumed in many countries in South and Southeast Asia. It’s mainly consumed for its stimulant effects and after chewing, it’s either spat out or swallowed. The basic version of betel leaf and areca, obviously isn’t very tasty, especially to foreigners but our sweet paan recipe features a sweet variation commonly known as Meetha Paan.
Paan is a favorite after-meal snack for most Indians because it plays a three-fold role. It’s a good breath-freshener, a digestive enhancer, and its sweet flavor is the perfect way to round up a heavy meal.
The origins of betel chewing are closely tied to the Neolithic expansion of the Austronesian people. This habit spread in the Indo-Pacific somewhere between 3,500 and 3,000 B.C. and from here, it spread to the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, from where it followed the Silk Road to Persia and the Mediterranean.
Ever since, the so-called paan has been used in religious rituals (ex. Deewali Puja), as well as festivities and celebrations and today, chewing betel leaves is not only a tradition but also a symbol of Indian hospitality.
Today, paan is equally popular in both, North and South India but there are different variations of the traditional paan recipe in many other Asian countries, or even in places inhabited by Asian immigrants. And when one thing is popular in so many different regions, it’s natural to expect that there will be a lot of variations.
In some parts of India, it’s a tradition to chew paan with tobacco while in most of South India, paan is enhanced with coconuts. In Asian countries, paan is usually consumed without tobacco, and in Papua New Guinea, people consume paan that consists of betel nuts. And with so many different variations, it’s no surprise that paan is known under many different names, including vetrrilai (Tamil), killi (Telugu), sireh (Malay), sirih (Indonesian), bulath (Sinhalese), mark (Lao), foah (Dhiveli), etc.
Moreover, paan comes in various flavors. Some like the basic version (sada paan), others like it with tobacco, sweet, with chocolate, with rasmalai, etc. Our sweet paan recipe refers to a common variation known as Magahi paan or sweet paan. Magahi is an expensive variety of betel that can be found in central Bihar and is sweeter, softer, tastier than any other variation of paan I have tried.
Where to Get Paan
In case you’re wondering where to find ready-to-eat paan, if you’re traveling to India or Southeast Asia, paan stands are an inevitable decoration to most local streets. There are some places like CP in Delhi where you can find a fire paan (or frozen paan) and have it shoved into your mouth by a street vendor.
Alternatively, if you’re wondering where to find the ingredients, you can probably get some betel leaves at the nearest vegetable market. If you have a big Asian/Indian community (or farmers market) nearby, you’ll probably be able to find the leaves and all other ingredients there. The other ingredients include gulkand (a sweet preserve of rose petals), fennel seeds, coconut, cloves, dried fruits, and additional spices (if you decide to use them).
- Betal Leaves
- 1 Tsp Dessicated Coconut (per piece)
- 2 Tsp Gulkand (per piece)
- 1 Tsp Mouth Freshener (per piece)
- 1 Tsp Lime Juice/Edible Chuna (per piece)
- 1 Cherry per piece
- Tutti Fruity
1. Take a betel leaf and spread some lime juice or edible chuna in it.
2. Fold the leave into half.
3. Cut the stem off.
4. Shape the leave like a cone.
5. Add the mouth freshener, tutti fruity, coconuts, and gulkand into the cone.
6. Seal the leave and fold it into a triangular shape.
7. Place the cherry on the top in the middle and add a toothpick
9. Repeat 1-8 as many times as pieces of paan you need.
10. Serve and enjoy
Serving Size:30 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 7Total Fat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0.4mgCarbohydrates: 1.2gNet Carbohydrates: 0.7gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1.5gProtein: 0g
A Few More Things You Might Need For Paan Recipe
How did you like our sweet paan recipe? Did you ever try paan? Do you have your own paan recipe and would like to suggest some modifications? Let us know in the comments!
Finally, if you liked this recipe, also check out some of our other Indian recipes!
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