Hyderabad: Hyderabad has been known not just for its biryani, but for its ‘paan’ as well. That too, for a variety that goes much beyond the ‘meetha’ and ‘saadha’. And now, ‘fire paan’ is the latest craze.
Made by adding a special mixture to the betel leaf that consists of mint chutney and fruit flavours, the paan contains a few dry cloves which are set on fire, and then the paanwala literally thrusts the burning paan into the customer’s mouth. The heated cloves bring an additional flavour to the paan, say connoisseurs of the variety.
Srinivas Kothapally of Dimmy Paan Palace in Sindhi Colony, who has been busy catering to lovers of the ‘fire paan’ ever since he started offering it, says it’s more popular among the young crowd.
Dimmy’s offers 46 varieties, with the ‘fire paan’ being the most popular these days.
“The ingredients used in the ‘fire paan’ are different flavours that are added based on the interest of customers. Gulkand, cloves, mint, kesar and dates are the main ingredients. The price of the ‘fire paan’ begins from Rs 30 and goes up to Rs 50, depending on the type and size,” he says.
“Fire paan cannot be prepared as a normal paan, where sugar overrides the taste of cloves. The special mixture has to be prepared by expert paanwallahs,” he says.
“Many see paan chewing as a bad habit, but a paan is all about sweet fragrance and freshness. The quality of a paan depends on the quality of leaf you choose and more importantly the ingredients,” he adds.
Meanwhile, dietician Gandhari Gayatri says chewing paan stimulates the release of saliva, thus helping digestion.
“Betel leaf contains close to 85 to 90 per cent of water. It has high moisture content and a low calorie count. Betel leaves are loaded with nutrients vitamins C, B1, B2, B3 and A, besides some calcium and iodine,” she adds.