To paan or not to paan - the paan thread

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#1 Apr 30th, 2004, 10:32
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  • jean-gab is offline
#1
Hey people, if you're not used to it you have to test PAAN- this is amazing. Neither very good nor bad, just amazing. The preparation is incredible!

Paan is a leaf, in Mumbai you see it in every street (I heard you get it all over India)- they first spread some kind of honey on it, and then put many many things (mostly sweet - no idea what it is) they take from an impressive collection of small tins on it. The preparation itself is a ten-minute long show. Afterwards you just put it all in your mouth and it takes some time to eat...

Do someone know more about it?
#2 Apr 30th, 2004, 11:13
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  • SHIMLA is offline
#2
http://www.redhotcurry.com/health/ne...reness.htm#top

Chewing Paan is bad for health, besides spoiling one's teeth !
Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop !
#3 Apr 30th, 2004, 11:26
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#3
Great after a big meal!

I stay away from the tobacco stuff... seen one too many old guys with holes in their faces bcos of it... majorly unattractive and addictive.
Also good if my relatives shouldn't know that I've been smoking like damp kindling all day. ;-)
Just don't spit out of moving vehicles, or I'll track you down and make you lick it off my clothing (face would mean manslaughter)!!

what exactly is that white stuff they spread on the leaves?
#4 Apr 30th, 2004, 11:29
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#4
Last time in Mumbai (12/2002) I was told Paan had been banned. I couldn't find it
#5 Apr 30th, 2004, 11:36
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#5
Paan is a thing of mythic proportions, and is an integral part of everyday Indian life. Paan doesn't descriminate between rich & poor, stupid & intelligent, young & old. Every Indian will have had it at some point, else he is not an Indian. Hence, the shops around the corner which cell cigarettes, cholocates, bottled water are all known as 'paan shops' [I wonder what's the inspiration for our IM member 'paan wallah'].

But basically a paan has to have three things, paan (leaf, usually two, one on top of the other), chuna (calcium carbonate) spread over the top leaf, fine betel nut. Everything else start from here...

Paan is available in great varieties but usually in two categories. One without tobacco, and other with it.


One without Tobacco (saada paan = simple paan) is popular during family functions / festivals when people gather, have a great food and resort to paan eating on wholesale. It has great digestional value. It is needed since Indian food, especially on festivities is heavy.

In Rural India, many people start their day with a paan, may be later they will have some tea but paan comes first. Most need tobacco. It explains why corners of a wall in any Indian public building are usually red. Well, its not paint, it's tobacco.

The one with tobacco is more popular in day to day use, and is similar to people chewing tobacco. Lot of daily wage workers eat paan with tobacco. It's sort of intoxicant.

Other than that, there are a few medicinal values too, like helping
Stomach disorders
Headache
Constipation
Cold and Cough..

Some links ..
Betel
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bethel33.html

BETEL LEAF, herb articles, culinary and medicinal uses
http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/ne.../sample07.html

Many forms of paan have been available recently. There are a couple of other things like jarda, mava and very newly 'paan parag and Manikchand' available in market. They do spoil health, and are known causes of mounth cancer.
#6 Apr 30th, 2004, 12:45
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#6
Excellent description concoran.

I have only tried paan once, it was in Bangalore, it was triangular shaped and from point to point was about 6 cm.

I put the whole thing in my mouth and tried to chew, it was just too big (though it was tasty).

A few questions: -

Are we supposed to unwrap the leaves and chew the mixture inside or just chew the whole thing?

Was the one I tried too big or the wrong shape?

What are popular Indian names for particular mixes of paan? (I always worry that I will be given what the paan wallah thinks a tourist will like rather than a local favourite mixture).
#7 Apr 30th, 2004, 13:37
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#7
Well done Concoran.

I would further break the non tobacco Pan into two:
Sada paan
Meetha Paan (sweet paan): More ingrediants than Sada , bigger (thats what u had Steven). Apart from the standard ingrediants of Sada, it also have Cardamom, clove, other spice (don't know their name/ english names) and a paste made of rose petals.

Yes you are supposed to have the entire one, put the whole in your mouth and chew. Regulars, put the entire paan in one side of their mouth and chew it slowly, sometime for hours.

For tobacco paan, you are not supposed to intake your saliva and instead throw it out as sson sa it get accumulated and fils your mouth.

Another twist: Even the leaves come in various varieties and each has its own flavour, taste and usability (depending on what kind of paan). More regularly used are: Normal Leaf( big leafy green and looks more fresh), Banarasi (pale green/yellow and smaller) and then Maghai (dark green and big and it melts in your mouth)

Normal and Maghai are used for Meetha paan, and Normal and Banarasi is used for Sada paan & tobacco paan.

My customised fav paan is, Banarasi Leaf, no betal nuts (dry or wet)..make it like a Saada Pan and then add a little of the rose petal paste..roll it and wow...tastes Yummmm

Enjoy...
Vinay

PS: Bija, how come you got into the Pan parag pan masala thingy???
If Life is a journey....travel on...and on..on..on.....
#8 Apr 30th, 2004, 14:39
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#8
how much do you pay for a non-tobacco paan on the street? I got one (Meetha Pan) from my hotel's tobacco shop for RS 25... prob'ly overpriced! also tried one after-wedding paan (after a wedding reception naturally)

never thought it could be dangerous to health!!!

the guy in the tobacco shop told me that paan was the after-meal stuff for digestion. he was also selling all kinds of saunf so i trusted him

i also think that because of so many different ingredients in paan (my tobacco shop friend used at least 10) it satisfies craving for different tastes and prevents overeating
#9 Apr 30th, 2004, 15:19
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  • concoran is offline
#9
Quote:
Originally posted by volga_volga
how much do you pay for a non-tobacco paan on the street? I got one (Meetha Pan) from my hotel's tobacco shop for RS 25... prob'ly overpriced! also tried one after-wedding paan (after a wedding reception naturally)

never thought it could be dangerous to health!!!

the guy in the tobacco shop told me that paan was the after-meal stuff for digestion. he was also selling all kinds of saunf so i trusted him

i also think that because of so many different ingredients in paan (my tobacco shop friend used at least 10) it satisfies craving for different tastes and prevents overeating
Volga, a meetha paan at any pan shop shouldn't cost more than 4 bucks. If you paid 25, you probably did so in a 5* restaurent. Can't blame them either.

Paan as such is not dangerous to health, infact it has good medicinal values. But if you over do it (like beer), it is.

Paan shop vendors are very perticular whether to include tobacoo or not. If you asked for a meetha paan (== saada paan = simple paan), they may include one hundred ingredients (based on geography) , but will never include anything intoxicating (tobacco). They stick to their rules

In simple terms, asking for a saada paan is like asking for some soda (pepsi or coke). but when you upgrade(?), you need to be specific (510, 320 etc. not sure what they mean,but they do mean something).

'Meetha paan is for wimps' is a buzzword if one wants to draw you into their fold.
#10 Apr 30th, 2004, 15:23
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  • vinayverma is offline
#10
The cost of Meetha Paan varies from region, city, ingrediants and ranges from Rs. 3 to Rs. 501+
On the street, say Jorbagh market/khan market in Delhi Meetha would cost Rs. 10-12 and a saada Rs. 4.
#11 Apr 30th, 2004, 15:37
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#11
You might want to check out EM Foster's essay 'Pan.' I forget in which collection it is available but you will find it somewhere amidst his essays and non-fiction.

Apana
#12 Apr 30th, 2004, 15:45
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#12
Quote:
Originally posted by steven_ber
Excellent description concoran.

I have only tried paan once, it was in Bangalore, it was triangular shaped and from point to point was about 6 cm.

I put the whole thing in my mouth and tried to chew, it was just too big (though it was tasty).

A few questions: -

Are we supposed to unwrap the leaves and chew the mixture inside or just chew the whole thing?

Was the one I tried too big or the wrong shape?

What are popular Indian names for particular mixes of paan? (I always worry that I will be given what the paan wallah thinks a tourist will like rather than a local favourite mixture).

- You are not supposed to unwrap anything. Just grab it and put it in mounth. Usually, if it is a sweet paan, sugary taste will prevail and hopefully you will feel happy. After sweetness dries, it's the taste of paan (leaf) that will remain. In any case, a simple taste of paan + betel nut +CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) is the one remains forever.

- If you ate a tobacco driven paan, you better be careful if you are first timer. It usually causes you to throw up. But once you get used to it (like one gets to chewing tobacco), it's not a problem.


There may be different names for different kinds of paans based on geography, I am not sure.
But steve, if you ask any pan wallah for a perticular type of tobacco, he will not mistake you.
#13 Apr 30th, 2004, 15:47
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  • concoran is offline
#13
Quote:
Originally posted by Apana
You might want to check out EM Foster's essay 'Pan.' Apana
I very well remember reading it, and tried to remember who wrote it exactly. Glad you reminded me. If I find it, i will be happy to transcribe.
#14 Apr 30th, 2004, 16:43
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#14
Quote:
Originally posted by steven_ber
Are we supposed to unwrap the leaves and chew the mixture inside or just chew the whole thing?
You are supposed to chew the whole thing and make it obvious to all that you are chewing paan- rather like a cow chewing cud -; let the red juice dribble from the corner of your mouth; and keep spitting on the road from time to time ! During un-decipherable conversation you are suppposed to ensure that a speck or two hits the opposite person's face and you are also supposed to grin from time to time, displaying your stained teeth !

This is the scenario in Myanmar, where the whole nation seems to be chewing paan at any given time ! Disgusting !
#15 Apr 30th, 2004, 17:45
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  • jean-gab is offline
#15
I didn't suspect so many of you beeing paan specialists... thanks to you I could identify what I ate: Meetha Paan.
thx!
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