If you're looking for a refreshing and delicious drink to beat the heat, my nimbu pani recipe is the perfect solution! This traditional Indian limeade/lemonade strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tangy and is sure to quench your thirst and leave you feeling refreshed. It is made with fresh lime juice (or lemon juice), sugar, a hint of salt, and a few optional spices.
Nimbu pani, also known as shikanji or shikanjvi, is a popular Indian-style limeade/lemonade made with fresh lime or lemon juice, water, salt, sugar, and optional spices. This refreshing drink is a summer staple and is enjoyed in households throughout India.
Interestingly, in India, the Hindi word 'nimbu' is used interchangeably for both limes and lemons. The smaller, green, unripe lemons are often used in place of limes, while ripe, yellow limes are also used. The lack of a clear distinction between the two in Indian cooking makes Nimbu Pani a versatile drink that can be made with either lime or lemon juice.
While nimbu pani is a popular summer drink in India, its recipe can vary greatly from region to region, with each household having its own favorite way of making it. In this post, I am sharing my family-favorite recipe for this refreshing and energizing Indian limeade. Whether you're looking for a hydrating drink to beat the summer heat or need a quick pick-me-up, this nimbu pani recipe is sure to hit the spot. So, read on to discover the ingredients and variations to make this delicious and versatile drink.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Hydrating: Nimbu paani is an excellent source of hydration during the hot summer months. The combination of salt and sugar in the drink helps replenish electrolytes.
- Delicious: This tasty and flavorful drink combines the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors, making it a popular choice among people of all ages.
- Easy to make and customizable: This drink is simple and easy to make and requires just a few basic ingredients. This recipe is highly customizable and can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. I have included some variations below.
- Nutritious: It is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. It also contains antioxidants that help boost the immune system and promote overall health.
What sets this nimbu pani apart from regular lemonade is the use of 'kala namak' or Indian black salt/Himalayan black salt. This sulfurous and pungent-smelling salt is an essential ingredient in making the flavorful masala shikanjvi and cannot be skipped. While the rest of the ingredients in Nimbu Pani can vary and be customized according to personal preference, kala namak is a must-have ingredient.
This versatile black salt is commonly used in Indian cooking, especially in chutneys, snacks, kachumber salad, and raita. It is also sprinkled on fruits to enhance their taste and flavor. Interestingly, black salt has been mentioned in Ayurveda and is believed to be a cooling spice that has medicinal properties.
Lime: This is the main ingredient. As I mentioned, both lime and lemon can be used to make shikanji.
Kala namak: Black Indian salt or black Himalayan salt is an essential ingredient and cannot be skipped.
Sugar: I use raw sugar in this recipe; however, plain white sugar can also be used.
Mint leaves: This is optional and can be skipped.
Spices: Ground cumin, ground pepper, and salt.
Useful tips and variations
Do not skip black salt: All spices are optional except black Indian salt. This is the only essential spice.
Use fresh lime or lemon juice: The key to a good Nimbu Pani is using fresh lime or lemon juice. Avoid using bottled or concentrated juice as it can alter the taste.
Adjust sugar and salt: The amount of sugar and salt can be adjusted to your taste. If you like your shikanji sweeter, you can add more sugar, and if you prefer it tangier, you can add more lime or lemon juice.
Use chilled water: Nimbu Pani tastes best when it is chilled. Use chilled water or add ice cubes to the drink.
Add fruits for extra flavor: You can add sliced fruits like oranges, strawberries, or watermelon to your Nimbu Pani for an extra burst of flavor and nutrition.
Make nimbu soda: This variation involves adding soda or sparkling water instead of plain water to it to give it a fizzy texture.
Ginger shikanji: In this variation, ginger juice is added to shikanji, which gives it a slightly spicy and tangy taste.
Make it a cocktail: Elevate this classic nimbu paani by turning it into a refreshing cocktail with a splash of vodka or gin.
Serve it up with this delicious Indian popcorn at bbq and gatherings.
More refreshing summer drinks
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This refreshing shikanji helps you stay hydrated and gives you energy during hot summer days. It is also a very good source of vitamin C and also aids digestion.
It is very similar but some spices may vary depending on the region. This drink is popular as shikanji in North India and nimbu panu in the Mumbai region.
Yes. This Indian limeade can be made and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. However, if you are planning to make it ahead, do not add the mint leaves. Add them just before serving.
Kala namak is sulfurous pungent-smelling black Indian salt that is used in Indian cooking and comes from the Himalayan region. It is commonly used in chutneys, snacks, kachumber salad, and raita. It is also sprinkled on fruits to add taste and flavor. Black salt has been mentioned in Ayurveda and is considered a cooling spice that is used as a healing agent.
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Nimbu Pani / Shikanji (Indian Limeade)
- Combine lime juice, water, sugar, salt, black salt, ground pepper, cumin powder, and mint leaves in a jug. Mix well.
- Taste and adjust the sugar as per your preference.
- Pour ice cubes in glasses and put the nimbu paani on top. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively, chill in the refrigerator and serve as needed.