I love having a thanda meetha paan after a heavy meal, the burst of flavour it creates in my mouth, and the way its cool and sweet juices flow into my throat. I love the paan-flavoured ice cream that select parlours serve. I have dreamt of making meetha paan ice cream at home for so very long, but it is something I got around to only recently. It turned out so beautiful, I wonder why I didn’t make it much sooner!
For the uninitiated, paan aka betel leaf is a digestive very commonly partaken of in India, in different ways for different people. Some love it loaded with lime (sunnambu) and betelnuts (paaku or supari). Some like to eat just the leaf, without any filling in it. Some, like me, love meetha paan, a sweet and delish version made with a filling consisting of dry dates, dry coconut, rose petal jam and small minty-flavoured balls, among other things. A meetha paan is, I think, the mildest version of paan that you can get at any of the local paanwallahs, from any corner of India.
To create my meetha paan ice cream, I walked up to one of the paanwallahs in my neighbourhood and picked up some meetha paan from him. Back home, I dissected the meetha paan, and used the different parts in different ways to make the ice cream. If you don’t have access to a paanwallah, you could use those packets of meetha paan filling that are commonly available in departmental stores.
The ice cream tasted absolutely delish, full of the flavour of meetha paan, nice and refreshing. It made for a gorgeous dessert after meals, particularly in these hot months of summer.
Now, let me get around to the recipe for my meetha paan ice cream.
Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):
- 200 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
- 200 ml fresh cream (I used Amul)
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons of gulkand aka rose petal jam, or to taste (I used Bhagyalakshmi)
- 4 meetha paan (bought from a local paanwallah)
- Open up all the meetha paans and scoop out the filling into a large mixing bowl. Chop the cherries that come with the meetha paan into small pieces, and add them to the mixing bowl too. Grind the betel leaves from the meetha paan coarsely in a mixer, along with about two teaspoons of the fresh cream – add this mixture to the mixing bowl too. Discard the toothpicks that come with the paans.
- Whip the rest of the fresh cream till it is soft and fluffy. Don’t overdo it, though. Add the beaten cream to the mixing bowl.
- Add the salt, gulkand, and condensed milk to the mixing bowl.
- Whisk everything well, lightly. When everything is thoroughly combined together, pour the mixture into a clean, air-tight box. Keep the box into the freezer, and let the ice cream set at the highest temperature. It should take about 3 hours for the ice cream to set fully.
- Get the box out of the freezer only when you are ready to serve the ice cream, because it melts really fast. Serve immediately.
1. You could add green food colour to make the paan ice cream look exactly like the one you get in restaurants. I skipped that.
2. I didn’t add any nuts to the ice cream, because I didn’t want to dilute the flavour of the meetha paan in any way. Do add them, if you want to.
3. I didn’t add any additional sugar, because I didn’t feel the need to do so. If you don’t think your ice cream is sweet enough, do add some sugar.
4. Adjust the quantity of meetha paan and gulkand as per your taste preferences. The quantities stated above were just perfect for us.
5. I ground the betel leaves coarsely because I wanted to get little bits while eating. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, grind them into a fine paste.
Did you like the sound of this meetha paan ice cream? I hope you will try this out too, and that you will love it just as much as we did!