How would you like your Paan Sir?
Paan (Urdu: پان) via ,Hindi: पान from Sanskrit parṇa ‘feather, leaf’ is a stimulating, psychoactive preparation of betel leaf combined with areca nut and/or cured tobacco. Paan is chewed and finally spitted or swallowed. Paan has many variations. Slaked lime paste is commonly added to bind the leaves. Some South Asian preparations include katha paste or mukhwas to freshen the breath.
It is mostly consumed in Asia, and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants, with or without tobacco, in an addictive and euphoria-inducing formulation with adverse health effects.
Some examples of paan’s numerous variations are:
Betel leaf filled with powdered tobacco and spices
Paan supari / paan masala / sada paan
Betel leaf filled with a mixture of chopped or coarsely ground areca nuts and other spices
Meetha paan / sweet paan
Betel leaf with coconut, fruit preserves, gulkand (rose petal preserves), various spices. May also include maraschino cherry. Alternatively, South Asian sweet paan may contain candied fruits and/or candy-coated fennel seeds.
Trento / olarno paan
A mint-flavoured preparation served with potatoes
Bengali paan is known as deshi mahoba, and has a delicate flavour. Maghai paan and jagannath paan are the signature varieties of Varanasi.
The flavour and potency of paan depends, too, on the betel cultivar used, and the age of the plant at harvest. In South India, paan prepared from small and fragile leaves is called chigrlayele. In India, black paan leaves—ambadi and kariyele, which are thicker than the green leaves—are often chewed with tobacco.