Aam Panna

Aam Panna or Panha is a very popular and sought after drink in Northern India especially during the summer months. Made from raw mangoes and spruced up with spices and fresh mint this drink is refreshingly tasty and healthy too. It can be made both by roasting raw mango over an open flame to give that distinct smoky flavor or by boiling chunks of raw mango in water, although the former method is preferred by most people. For most people living in North of India a glass of this tasty beverage is a must everyday.


Green / Raw Mangoes – 2
Water – 4 cups
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – As per taste
Black salt/ rock salt / kala namak – 1/2 tsp or as required
Crushed Ice – Optional
Mint leaves – To garnish

Wash and towel dry the mangoes.
Heat over direct flame till the skin is charred. After it cools peel the skin and squeeze out the pulp.
Or alternatively cut the mangoes into large chunks and pressure cook them for 5 to 8 mins. Or boil them till they are soft.
Remove and cool. Blend the mango pulp in a blender along with roasted cumin powder, sugar, rock salt and a little water.
Sugar and salt need to be added in stages according to taste.
Strain the blended pulp if needed and add rest of the water and crushed ice. Mix well.
Serve chilled garnished with a sprig of mint.


You can also get creative and add other spices and herbs to try new variations.
Ajwain [ roasted & crushed] and green pepper are a few other suggested options


TO BE or NOT TO BE – A Vegetarian

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Being a vegetarian simply means abstinence from animal food. It should not however be confused with Veganism which excludes animal – derived products as well. Vegetarianism is catching up. Not just because it is healthier but because of people’s awareness that being vegetarian is something deeper. It carries a deeper philosophy encompassing environmental concerns, compassion for the animal world and a healthier world. It is not about a habit – It is a life style.

Health is a major factor contributing to the conversions. Consumption of animal fat and proteins raise your risk of contracting Cancer, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hypertension, Cardio Vascular diseases to name a few. It is common knowledge that vegetarian food has all the ingredients required to maintain a healthy body and Saints of yore are striking examples of this with proof of their health and longetivity.

Another factor is respecting and preserving one’s environment. Experts opine that live stock farming takes up huge chunks of land, water, fertilizers and other resources meant for cultivating food meant to feed humans. Live stock need to be fed and large areas are tilled and farmed with animal feed products. Huge areas of wilderness are converted into grazing areas and farm lands disturbing the balance in the eco system. Ground water pollution due to animal waste is a huge problem to be tackled.

On the ethical side Bernard Shaw’s quote perhaps sums it all.
George Bernard Shaw

“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth – beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals – would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?”

Some other reasons that propel people towards this diet us economics [Meat is certainly very expensive], religious beliefs, traditional and cultural background.

Below is a list of famous vegans / vegetarians spanning across varied professions and cultures:
Alicia Silverstone (Actress)
Benjamin Franklin (Scientist and diplomat; inventor of the lightning conductor)
Charlotte Bronte (Author)
George Bernard Shaw (Dramatist, novelist)
Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Company)
Mahatma Gandhi (Politician, pacifist)
Albert Einstein (Scientist)
H.G. Wells (Author)
Greg Chappell (Australian cricketer)
Hans Christian Andersen (Author of fairy tales)
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian painter, architect and engineer)
Linda Blair (Actress)
Martin Luther (German church reformer; founder of Protestantism)
Martyn Moxon (English cricketer)
Pamela Anderson (Actress)
Paul McCartney (Musician)
Plato (Greek philosopher)
Plutarch (Greek philosopher and biographer)
Prince (Musician)
Pythagoras (Greek mathematician and philosopher)
Ricky Williams (Professional American football player)
Scott Jurek (Ultra marathon runner)
Sir Isaac Newton (English physicist and mathematician)
Vincent Van Gogh (Impressionist painter)
Voltaire (French author)