August 3, 2011

Paan Ice Cream

Paan ice cream
Paan Ice Cream

One of my most magical childhood memories is sitting in the back seat of my parents’ red VW Golf during the mid-nineties, slowly peeling back the red-stained paper from a little bundle of ‘Special Meetha Paan’: Areca nuts, fennel seeds, shredded coconut and rose paste, smothered in a ‘secret’ syrup, then tightly wrapped in a peppery betel leaf.

Sweet Paan/Meetha Paan
Freshly prepared Sweet Paan from R. P. Barot and Sons ‘Pan Ghar’, Leicester

My last trip to everyone’s favourite paan house got me thinking; I was missing a trick. I’ve always loved the fresh flavours, but all that chewing can be terribly hard work. Then suddenly it dawned on me, why had I never made my own Paan Ice Cream?

What is paan?

It’s swelteringly hot over here (in comparison to last week’s pesky rain) and so I let myself go, forgot the diet for an evening and decided to finally give it a go. The first batch curdled on me because the milk I had steeped betel leaves in was too hot to add to the cold cream and custard. Boo, hiss. As this was not the time nor place for paneer, I binned it and started again.

The second batch was perfect; it had the right balance of sweet, aromatic and peppery. Sounds like my kind of ice cream.

Serve Paan Ice Cream as a refreshing after-dinner treat and an alternative to mints. It’s the most wonderful palate cleanser too, so a little bit between a starter and main course would go down a treat.

Here’s my recipe for Paan Ice Cream.

For more information on the history of paan, see my blog post for Food Network UK.

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30 responses to “Paan Ice Cream”

  1. notyet100 says:

    This looks so delicious,reminds me of pan kulfi sold in delhi

  2. Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny says:

    Wow what a gorgeous and colorful dessert! Looks amazing! 🙂

  3. Anncoo says:

    WOW! Looks cool. Please reserve some for me 🙂

  4. Five Finicky Eaters says:

    Sounds and looks wonderful, the colors (YUM)

  5. Patels_In_Canada says:

    To me custard is taking hot milk and adding custard powder. Once cooled the result is custard. Is that what you mean by "custard" in the recipe ? Please help in educating a novice cook. Would love to make this

  6. Nithya says:

    Wow. lot of icecreams in the blogosphere today and your version is pretty unique too 🙂 I dont like the smell of paan but guess my dad would love this version of icecream 🙂

  7. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says:

    wow, that sounds (I don't have a word of it), out of this world, looks super tempting and drool-worthy !!!

  8. Parsley Sage says:

    Outstanding! I've never tasted paan but I've read all about it. Sounds lovely in ice cream form! Buzzed 🙂

  9. Christine's Pantry says:

    Wow! Looks wonderful. Yum!

  10. Sharmilee! :) says:

    Wow this looks so colorful n yummy…interesting idea

  11. Sanjana says:

    So glad you all like it! It's really worth the effort and had great flavour.

    Patels_In_Canada: Exactly that. Allow the custard to cool completely before adding it to anything. I've used custard in this recipe to help bind the mixture together (as it contains cornflour) and we are not using eggs. Hope this helps!

  12. A Spoonful of Yumm says:

    i had paan icecream at a friends wedding reception first ! love it 😀 havent had meetha paan in ages

  13. Creamy says:

    Thanks for the ice cream! Seeing the picture already makes me want to eat it!

  14. Deepa says:

    Very very very ingenious!!!! Love the colours. I stumbled upon your blog from foodgawker. 🙂

  15. marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    This ice cream is beautiful & your blog is zoo fun. I will be linking back to this post today 🙂

  16. Procera says:

    Very colorful indeed! I love your blog. Keep it coming!

  17. breast actives says:

    This is such a good stuff and keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog and I am happy to come again to see new post.

  18. PJ says:

    I have never tasted this but it looks so gorgeous. Pics are so tempting. Am going to try this for sure….

  19. Rinku Naveen says:

    Wow! That looks yumm. Never heard of ice cream paan before. Would love to taste it.
    You have a lovely blog!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see R.P. Barot & Sons Pan Ghar on here. 36 years and still going:)

  21. Nisha says:

    Paan flavor in hookah was already surprising to me, and now Paan ice cream, wow, never knew this was possible!! Interesting, really wanna try!

  22. Sanjana says:

    Thanks for the fantastic comments. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

  23. ganga108 says:

    Lovely! I watched my Indian grocer making paan the other day, its an amazing process.

  24. mustardseed says:

    Oh Wow!! how amazing is that! LOVE the recipe!!!!

  25. Ishy says:

    Hi Sanjana lovely recipe! I want to try it, but where can i find rose petal paste in the uk, is it anywhere online?

    • Sanjana says:

      You can get it in large Indian/Asian supermarkets or paan houses. I’ve not been able to find it online – sorry. Hope you have some luck in shops.

  26. Ishy says:

    Thanks Sanjana! Is it the same as gulkhand by any chance?

  27. […] treasure trove of Gujrati dishes and it has some really quirky takes on traditional stuff like the Paan Ice Cream & Shrikhand Spice Lamingtons. Go check out her blog and share some love. Now back to those […]

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