New Leaf: Five Great Paan-Infused Preparations
A post-meal palate cleanser and digestive aid, the paan elicits extreme reactions of love and loathing. Those who love it are only too happy to seek out and binge on its various reinventions. Here are five innovative culinary twists on the meetha paan that could convert reluctant eaters into intrepid fans:
Masala Chocolate Om Cold & Sweet Pan
The loyalties of Kemps Corner’s and Breach Candy’s paan eating crowd are evenly divided between the paan-selling Muchhad siblings and the 60-year-old Om Cold & Sweet Pan, which sells one of the best khus khus-infused cold and sweet paans in the city. Stall owner Ramesh Thadani has a penchant for serving paan in a number of inventive ways that include cold and sweet paan gola (see below), chocolate paan, and masala chocolate. The latter is a square shaped dark chocolate with a rich and sticky gulkhand and khus khus filling, which Thadani makes at his home. You can also buy paan-flavoured chocolate at MT Madon & Co., a chemist located opposite St. Stephen’s Church on Nepeansea Road (Tel: 2367 0558). The chemist is expecting its next delivery of paan chocolates on Thursday, July 19. Rs10 per masala chocolate at Om Cold & Sweet Pan. Rs20 per paan chocolate at MT Madon & Co.
Om Cold & Sweet Pan, 91, Nanik Nivas, Shop No.6A, opposite Tata Garden, Warden Road. Tel: 2361 5479.
Paan Macaroon Le15 Patisserie
One of our favourite innovations to come out of the Le15 kitchen, the dessert successfully marries the delicate French confection with the traditional Indian palate cleanser. The white chocolate ganache, sandwiched between parrot green and neon pink shells in each macaroon, carries the flavour of a meetha paan derived from paan masala and an extract of paan leaves. Rs60.
First Floor, Palladium, opposite Indigo Deli, near T. G. I. Friday’s, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 97692 86544. Also at Ground Floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 97692 86544.
Paan Shot Punjab Grill
We’re never so eager to get to the end of a meal as we are at Punjab Grill. Their complimentary beverage, the frothy paan shot blends milk and sweet paan but leaves out the supari. It’s served to aid with the digestion of their heavy north Indian fare. Such is its popularity that Punjab Grill’s regular customers often drop in at the Palladium and Juhu outposts of the restaurant, only to get their fix of the shot. Free.
Third Floor, Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 4347 3980. Also at 9 Gulmohar Road, Juhu Supreme Shopping Centre, opposite Sujay Hospital, JVPD Scheme, Juhu. Tel: 4243 3100.
Cold and Sweet Paan Gola Om Cold & Sweet Pan
Paan laddoo is a more fitting description for this addictive hand-rolled mixture of shaved coconut, betel leaves, gulkhand and prunes, which unlike a gola has no ice and isn’t served on a stick. Stall owner Ramesh Thadani prepares a fresh batch daily that he wraps in foil and stores in a cool box. If you love paan, but not the resulting mess, paan gola is the thing for you. Rs10.
91, Nanik Nivas, Shop No.6A, opposite Tata Garden, Warden Road. Tel: 2361 5479.
Calcutta Meetha Paan Ice Cream Ice Cream Works
The seven-month-old ice cream parlour’s Calcutta meetha paan ice cream is flecked with paan leaf, and the dal and fennel seeds that make up paan masala. The bestselling offering remarkably preserves the freshness of a meetha paan. Paan ice cream is also available at Ice Dreamz, the ice cream parlour outside Samrat restaurant in Churchgate, where it is made using a digestive after-mint mix (mukhwas) of plain and sugar-coated fennel seeds, dal and sesame seeds. Rs58 for a single scoop at Ice Cream Works. Rs55 for a single scoop at Ice Dreamz.
Ice Cream Works, Shop No.1, Shiv Kutir, near Lakme Beauty Salon and Natural Ice Cream, 278 Veer Savarkar Marg, Shivaji Park. Tel: 2446 2626. Also at Glamour Ice Cream, near Cafe Coffee Day, Chowpatty. Tel: 2362 0104/2369 0104; and PVR Food Court, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 2499 3333.
Ice Dreamz, Prem Court, outside Samrat restaurant, near Ritz Hotel, Jamshedji Tata Road, Churchgate. Tel: 4213 5408.