paan in a glass or a paanshake
I love the gooey honey clad gulkand wrapped up in betel leaf along with everything else that goes into it.
Before I was married, I had never tasted paan. It was not something my dad would eat or let us eat. Since we had never tasted it, we did not miss much. Back then, I did not think too highly of paan eaters, probably because by the chauraha (where four streets meet) of our house, we had a paan shop and I would always see loafers standing there, chewing paan and spitting it by the road side. I never really liked the red color it bestowed. North Indian weddings always had a paan counter, my mother would always like to take a spoon of saunf ( fennel seeds), me too. That’s all my tastebuds knew about Indian after mint.
I think it was sometime after our engagement, my better half asked me if I wanted to eat meetha (sweet) paan after dinner. My response was a no with a hint of displeasure. That did not deter him or maybe he did not take the hint. He order a metha paan and I did take a bite which changed my entire outlook of this poor little harmless betel pocket. I was then told there are several kinds of pan and not all pans are equal. The one that we usually order is almost like a dessert, with gulkand and some after mint and wrapped in tender betel leaves.
Gulkand is rose petal jam made from a combination of honey and sugar. It’s aromatic and extremely delicious.