Our yard had a few mango trees and every summer we had a steady supply of mangoes. Our puppy Juhi was busy every summer because she had a full time job of barking at little kids who threw stones at our mango trees. My dad used to fume at those kids because he had to park his car under the hot summer sun away from the mango tree shade. Like they cared that he was fuming at them. Haha!
Remember those days when we used to eat green mango slices smeared with chilli powder and salt?. That is finger licking yummy. This is one of the few instances where I wouldn’t mind people licking their fingers in public. One summer, the eldest cousin in the family swore that the taste of a mango reduces if it is cut with a knife. He insisted that we should either break it by throwing it on the floor or bite it and eat… No knives allowed. I remember how all the younger kids (me included) immediately started throwing our mangoes on the floor while our parents stood there shaking their heads that all lessons about hygiene flew out the window in an instant. Hey they should be happy that we were indoors and not in the garden.
We used to bury the mangoes in boxes or jute sacks with rice (uncooked rice) to ripen them faster. If a buried mango is forgotten, it could rot and spoil the rice. But I don’t remember that happening because we were always digging the rice bin for mangoes daily.
Aam Paana is a refreshing mango drink that protects us from heat exhaustion / heat stroke during summer. Raw green mangoes are cooked and mashed to prepare this drink. This king of all fruits is high in vitamins and fiber. This yellow fruit helps with vitamin A deficiency and is very good for eyes.
Consuming ripe mangoes will make body hot so we have to cool the body by consuming buttermilk or water. Adding milk to mango pulp and drinking it as mango lassi will also help us to keep our body cool.
However green mango cools the body and aam paana made with green mangoes is very refreshing during summer.
Recipe for Aam Paana
I used kili mooku variety of mango. It is called kili mooku (parrot beaked) because of its shape.
Different varieties of mangoes have different levels of sourness. This variety is mildly sour.
Wash and cut mango. If yours is a small family, half a mango is enough to make aam paana.
So I used part of this mango to make South Indian Wedding Pickle – 5 minutes Instant mango pickle
Do try that also. It is also finger licking good.
Pressure cook till it becomes soft.
Peel the mango and remove the skin and pit of the mango.
By now the pulp will be soft enough to be mashed with a spoon.
There are a lot of recipes available for aam paana. Each recipe calls for a list of spices that have to be dry roasted and ground.
I follow this recipe where I dry roasted and ground cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper corn and cardamon.
I love the taste of cumin seeds and it is very good for health. In Tamil, cumin seeds are called “Jeeragam” that means perfected body ( seer + agam) . It cools the body and cleanses the blood. That is why many south Indians boil their daily drinking water with some cumin seeds.
I blended the powder with the mango pulp and few mint leaves for a minute. Some add sweeteners like sugar or jaggery and some add a pinch of salt alone. I prefer a little of both. So my aam paana will not be as sweet as a fruit juice.
Filter the pulp and store in the fridge.
Dilute with water and enjoy tasty aam panna with ice cubes.
If you live in Tamil Nadu, the government has a scheme named “Urban horticulture development scheme” that helps people set up gardens.
Here is a nice video that shows how kids can grow mango tree from a seed. Do try this with your kids this summer. It is the process that counts. So it does not matter even if they try and the plant does not survive. It will still be a nice learning experience and they will learn to care for plants better. Okay okay that is how I (a plant murderer :( ) satisfy myself when our tiny saplings die.
This is how mangoes are cultivated in India using Ultra high density mango plantation technology to increase the profit margin of farmers.