The Indian Wedding Tradition: Meetha Paan

Meetha Paan

One of the reasons we all love weddings is that they’re full of food and rituals. The vibrant atmosphere of the parties and the rituals— every tradition is pure bliss here. India has been greatly known as the land of cultural heritage. People of varying cultures, religious beliefs, and social values have been living together in peace. There are various desserts that you will find at each wedding across India. So, keep scrolling through to see a breathtaking example of the colorful Indian after-meal snack served in all of the Indian weddings, which is MEETHA PAAN.

meetha paan
Source – Your Food Fantasy

What is this MEETHA PAAN? It is a betel leaf that rises from the betel plant, which is a creeper. Its leaves are heart-shaped, green in color, and glossy in appearance. These betel leaves are served with a mixture of areca nut, originated in India (famous in Northern and Southern India, Kolkata and Banaras) on auspicious occasions. It can be used as an antiseptic and mouth freshener as well.

The betel leaf is considered to be a sign of good fortune. From a medicinal perspective, the betel leaf can improve the digestive system as the leaves help in proper digestion. According to Ayurveda, this leaf controls many health issues caused by air and cures issues like infected ears. It is believed that adding betel leaves will purify water, and betel nut, when placed on the betel leaf, plays an integral role in giving Dakshina to the Pandits.

Including the weddings, these paans are also sold in Paan shops known as Paan tapries present everywhere in the city’s by-lane. Though these tapries sell a huge variety of products, the real hero is our meetha paan. There are over about 32 varieties of paans being sold.

How To Make Meetha Paan?

Source – Making India

To prepare a meetha paan, we take the leaf and cut its stem because it is sometimes de-veined. The leaf is smudged with an edible lime paste, also known as Katha, which, in addition to a brown-colored paste extracted from the acacia tree, is mixed and spread all over the leaf. The stuffing requires a perfect mix of powdered coconuts, sweetened shavings of areca nuts, candied cherries, cinnamon, powdered almond and cashew nuts, gulkand, sauf, etc. Then, after applying all these spices to the leaf, it is folded into a triangular shape. 

This particular type of paan is popularly liked by all types of age groups and walks of life— from Lucknow’s nawabs to Bihar’s housewives. 

Styles Of Serving Meetha Paan

Banarasi Paan (Source – NDTV Food)
  • BANARASI PAAN: As paan making was first prevalent in the Varanasi or Banaras, this paan acquires a great place over there, but the process of making and the right way of serving makes it stand out from the other varieties of paan. The ingredients are the same as stated above with no changes, and this simple and sweet formula makes it quite a heart stealer.

Fire Paan (Source – Telangana Today)
  • FIRE PAAN: Would you dare even try this one? Ingredients such as powdered coconuts, cashew nuts, almonds with the blend of gulkand and Katha spell pure bliss, and the special cloves are added to it to provide it with a flaming shot. 

Chocolate Paan (Source – CookingShooking)
  • CHOCOLATE PAAN: Chocolate is a beautiful ingredient in itself, combined with the greatness of betel leaf and its ingredients make this paan a heavenly treat for sure! It provides you with a creamy, silky, chewy, and chocolaty texture to quench your mouth-freshening cravings. 

The Final Verdict

Source – The Spruce Eats

A lot of people believe chewing paan is a bad habit. Paan itself is tempting on its own, but the ingredients such as tobacco and supari or areca nuts make it addictive and toxic for health. According to Ayurveda, the chewing of betel leaf, excluding the toxic or harmful ingredients, can reduce blood pressure and strengthens our teeth. Even the paste of the grounded paan leaves can be useful as even a few drops of the paste can cure headaches and ear problems.

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