Banarasi Paan….

Varanasi or Banaras takes a lot of pride in its famous Banarasi paan. Paan is a combination of betel nut, areca nut, mouth-freshening spices, slaked lime paste, catechu paste and sometimes tabbaco – all wrapped in a betel leaf. Paan is generally consumed after meals as a mouth freshner.  What makes Banarasi Paan special is their unique preparation. The betel leaves are perfectly cleaned and chopped betel nuts are dipped in water for days to remove their astringency. Catechu (Katha) is soaked in water for a few days, then in milk and then boiled and spread in a utensil. After that, it is tied in a thick cloth and placed under a heavy rock and then under hot ashes to remove its astringency. All this procedure gives it a bright red color when it is grinded into a paste. Not just that, the pickling lime (Choona) used in the Banarasi Paan is made with milk and curd. Tabbaco or surti used in this Paan is a plain one which is less harmful to health as compared to yellow surti used in other tabbaco paan. The ingredients are mixed at the time of serving the Paan which enhances the taste.  Banarasi Paan is famous for its awesome taste and is a must-taste delicacy in Banaras.