"Aam" is Hindi for Mango, and "Panna" translated literally is "Emerald".
So the next time you spot young green mangoes, think of all the wonderful possibilities you can bring in your kitchen with young raw mangoes. Including a very desi reason of a glass of chilled Aam Panna, something that many Indian homes rely on to beat the searing heat of the mid 40°C of the Summer months.
My Mum would make a big jug of this Aam Panna or Aam Poda Shorbet (Roasted Mango Sherbet) during the months of late April and May when raw mangoes were showing up in the bazaars in abundance.
Green Mangoes are a source of pectin and some good acids, plus the essential nutrient of Vitamin C.
During the summer months, when dehydration is almost inevitable, the Aam Panna helps to quench thirst while working on your body to prepare it to fight against excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron. So you see, apart from being high on the taste quotient, the humble Aam Panna is well-respected health-wise too.
I am not a big fan of sour mangoes, but the roasting of the green mangoes on an open gas flame adds a smoky flavor I simply cannot resist. Plus the balance of salt (I use black salt) and sugar tempered with some dry roasted cumin seeds makes the Aam Panna an all time summer favorite.
Ingredients for Aam Panna are:
3-4 green mangoes
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
Black salt to taste
2-3 cubes of ice
Smoke or roast the raw mangoes. Hold the mangoes over a low open gas flame. Rotate frequently. I used my stove-top rack (remember that roti mesh?). It should take about 20-30 minutes for raw mangoes to cook till the core.
The skin will pop to let out juices and will char on all sides. Poke a fork to know if the mango is cooked till the insides.
Let the mangoes cool down completely before handling them.
Meanwhile, dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan and crush them coarsely.
Peel the mangoes and squeeze the pulp out of them. No need to show any TLC when you are squeezing, do it with all the energy that you can muster. As if you are very, very angry at the mangoes…or the summer!
Discard the pits.
In a blender, mix the mango pulp, five-six cups of water, ice cubes, black salt, sugar (I used quarter cup of fine sugar) and give it a good swirl. Add the crushed cumin seeds and give it one last whoosh.
Pour the Aam Panna in glasses and serve. You can even sprinkle a few flakes of cayenne chili. Enjoy the sweet-salty and smoky-citrusy taste of this raw mango delight.