The Good Old Paan (Betel Leaf)….

August 21, 2006 at 3:27 pm 3 comments


Betel Leaf creeper  

Betel Leaf (Paan) Creeper from my garden                                                           

The Betel Leaf (Piper Betle) – Paan as it is popularly called in India is a perennial evergreen Herb, with beautiful heart shaped leaves. The one you see here in the photo is a betel leaf creeper from my garden. It grows as a slender creeper and hence is sometimes also called as Nagvelli– meaning Serpent like creeper in Sanskrit. It grows like wild fire…

          Betel leaf has been a part of the Indian culture for ages. Most of the Indian rituals, include offering Paan-Supari (Betel Leaf and Areca nuts) to God or even the guests. So for every pooja or any other festivitive in my house I pluck the young  leaves, wash them, dry them and keep a supari (areca nut )on it and a Coconut and offer it to God.

                      Betel leaves are used as mouth freshners, as antiseptic, carminative and are also used in the treatment of coughs and colds-very handy to have them in the kitchen garden! I still remember when I delivered my baby my mom would give me a mix of roasted Fennel seeds, Seasme seeds, Carom Seeds and a streak of Chuna(quicklime) all wrapped up in the Paan after my meals. This Paan wrap aids in digestion and the Chuna (quicklime) acts as a source of the much needed Calcium.

Assorted spice







 Assorted spices arranged in a Thali(Plate) at our local Paan shop

Paan along with mix of some spices (masala), is one of the most popular mouth fresheners in India and is usually consumed at the end of a sumptuous Traditional Indian meal. Normally, Paan is served after meals during weddings and receptions. It is believed to aid in the digestion of the heavy curried food consumed  that is very much a part of Indian festivities.We make a simpler version of the Paan masala at home on ocassions, but the taste of the Paan available at the Paan shops is unmatched.

 Assembling the paanIt is a treat to watch the Paan wala (the expert assembling the Paan) go about his business of mixing the spices in the right quantities within seconds. First a few streaks of a slurry of Chuna (lime), then comes the Catechu  slurry. Areca nuts (cut into pieces or  thin trims)are a major ingredient of the Paan.Then depending on your choice (such as Meetha /Sweet or Sada /Plain) or many such types other spices such as candied dates, Gulkand(rose petals in sugar syrup), dessicated coconut, small peppermint balls, Cardamom …..the list goes on…are added.

The leaf is folded in a typical triangular fashion , secured with a Clove or a toothpick and a candied cherry for decoration and Voilá!! ….your Paan is ready.

ready to eat

I hope this will be accepted as my contribution to the wonderful Green Blog project by LG of Ginger and Mango.

Entry filed under: Miscellaneous.

Monsoon Magic Spiced Walnut Ring

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sakshi  |  August 21, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Yummmmmmmmmm. Pan!
    Miss this the most.
    We don’t get this in my town. Last time I had it I was back home 😦

    @that’s sad…the best u can do is visit this blog whenever u feel like having one!!:)

  • 2. InjiPennu  |  August 21, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Hi ! I loved your entry! Bowled over! I am soo impressed! Thanks a lot!

    @Hey thanks a lot . U r very kind, but I need that encouragement!!🙂 thanks again.

  • 3. Ashwini  |  August 22, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    Thats such a lovely truly Indian entry Madhuli….love the meetha gulkand filled paan. I used tto always ask the paanwala to add more to mine :-)\
    PS – welcome to blog world!

    @Yes Ashwini that’s my favourite too!!!And thanks a lot for your warm welcome.


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August 2006




Find my recipes at The Urban Spice


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