masala lemonade

This is the famous, traditional and very refreshing lemonade of North India and Pakistan. It is called nimbu pani or shikanji.

It is commercially available in bottled form under many brand names.

Limes could well be substituted into this recipe, or even mix limes and lemons. We use whatever looks good from the grocer.

This is a common street vendor offering and another example of my grandmother appropriating their business. There was no way she would allow her family to consume something uncooked, nor would she allow ice to be part of the preparation. She had the cook prepare this drink, conforming to her hygiene requirements before the children came home. Instead of adding ice to the drink, she insisted on it being kept on ice.

The important ingredients are black salt, jaggery, and chaat masala. These are available from good Indian grocers, or you could make your own chaat masala.

The taste is unusual at first, but really refreshing on a hot day, or to go with hot food. It has a salty, sweet and sour taste. You could serve this as a pre-dinner drink just with some papadoms and chutneys.

the recipe

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  • 2 lemons - juiced
  • 400 ml water
  • ½ tsp chaat masala - see recipe
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • 2 tsp jaggery - grated

to serve

  • 8 ice cubes
  • 2 slices lemon
  • 4 mint leaves


  • Combine all the ingredients in a jug and mix until the jaggery has dissolved.
  • Put ice cubes in two large glasses, add lemon slices and pour the contents of the jug into the glasses.
  • Garnish with mint leaves and serve.


  • For presentation, line the rim of the glass with black salt.

private notes

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Serving: 250 ml | Calories: 53 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 0 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 597 mg | Potassium: 149 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 7 g | Vitamin A: 85 IU | Vitamin C: 61.5 mg | Calcium: 34 mg | Iron: 0.9 mg

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