If you're from Pakistan or India, you know what this recipe is about from just the title. We are making Pakistani lemonade, or "skanjabeen", or "nimbu pani", aka lemonade that actually tastes good. Let's go!
WHAT IS PAKISTANI LEMONADE?
Calling it "Pakistani lemonade" feels a bit strange, if I am being honest, because growing up, it was just "lemonade". It was the drink of choice in my family for the ultra hot and humid summer days, and every Ramadan, we had to have a large pitcher of lemonade to open our fasts with.
But then, I moved to the US for my undergrad. I still remember the day - it was the first football match of the season at Vanderbilt University, and it was HOT. There was such a crowd in the stadium and I felt parched. I saw a stand serving drinks that had a large sign for lemonade. My spirits rose. I needed that lemonade. That lemonade was going to make everything ok.
So I chipped out 3 or 4 dollars (yikes) for one cup. And, with the highest and most innocent expectations, brought the cup to my lips and took a large sip.
What WAS that!?
It just tasted like... sugar. and lemon. But in a really strange way.
And that was my rude introduction to American lemonade. Not my thing, at all.
Look - if you're from the US or love American lemonade, more power to you. I by no means am trying to disrespect it as I know every culture / country has their own preference for flavors. But to my taste buds, this lemonade just doesn't feel right. It's missing a crucial ingredient....
Yes, salt. You need salt in lemonade. It's what balances it and makes it delicious.
If you already know what Pakistani lemonade is, great.
If you don't, maybe, just maybe, try it before you get mad. Maybe you won't like it just as I don't like American lemonade. But maybe you'll love it and your life will never be the same again. 😉
Okay - enough with the dramatics - let's get into the recipe.
Here's what you need:
- Lemon juice: freshly squeezed is definitely the way to go
- Sugar: of course. I see some recipes using simple syrup or other kinds of syrup but that's unnecessarily complicated. Just use plain sugar and a blender will blend it in easily
- Salt: Now, don't skip this ingredient! I know it might sound strange, but without it, it's not Pakistani lemonade
- Ice: as much as you like
- Mint leaves: this is optional, as I know not everyone likes mint (including my husband). But, to me, mint is an essential in lemonade. It adds that extra kick of freshness and tastes so so good.
HOW TO MAKE PAKISTANI LEMONADE
It's just as simple as putting everything in a blender and mixing it up. But here are my 2 most important tips:
- First add just a little water to blend, and then dilute with more water. This is important because you need to taste the lemonade and adjust it to your liking, and there's nothing worse than adding too much water and then having to add more lemon juice, sugar and salt. Also, when I make mint lemonade, I find that my blender doesn't blend in the mint well if there's a lot of liquid. It does a much better job with a small amount of water first, for some odd reason.
- TASTE, TASTE, TASTE. For both sugar and salt, first add a smaller amount (especially if you're new to Pakistani lemonade). I suggest starting with 4 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon salt, and then tasting and adjusting from there. This is not only important because everyone has different taste preferences, but also because not all lemons are created equal. Some lemons are a lot more sour than others, and following my exact quantities may not give you the optimal outcome.
You will need:
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- A blender - I love using my nutribullet for this!
- Lemon squeezer - optional, but makes it so much easier
That's all! I hope you try this recipe and like it, especially if it is your first intro to Pakistani lemonade.
If you don't like it... well, it's okay, I had to try American lemonade too :pPrint
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