Pana Sankranti, also referred to as Maha Vishuba Sankranti is the Hindus Odia New Year festival in Odisha. It is celebrated on the first day of the traditional solar month of Mesha. The festival is celebrated with visits to Hanuman temples, as the day is considered to be the birthday of Hanuman. In Odisha, the Hindus visit temples like Taratarini Temple, Cuttack Chandi, Biraja Temple, Samaleswari Temple, and Sarala Temple. In some parts of Odisha month-long festivals are celebrated such as the Jhaamu Yatra, the Patua Yatra, Chadak Parva, the Meru Yatra festival.
Pana Sankranti is similar to Hindus New Year festivals such as Baisakhi in northern and central India, Pohela Boishakh in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Bihu in Assam. A tradition of preparing a special drink prepared with mango, milk, yogurt, coconut called Pana is observed, thus the name Pana Sankranti. It is offered to deities and then served by all. It is prepared in the hot summer and is one kind of fresh and cool drink that cools down your body.
Every household in Odisha prepares different types of Panas. Each one of them satisfies your taste buds and leaves you with a fresh taste. Here is a list of recipes, I would like to share.
1. Bela Pana
Bela or wood apple has great medicinal benefits. The fruits are helpful in gastric or digestive problems. It is simple and tasty. Begin with mashing the fruit pulp in sufficient water and taking the juice out of it. Strain the pulpy juice using a muslin cloth. Now add crushed cardamom, black pepper and a small amount of sugar / jaggery and mix well. You can add some banana to it if you want to. Add some shredded coconut and serve fresh.
2. Amba Pana / Aam Panna
Since summer is all about Mangoes. People prefer enjoying Amba Pana as a refreshing summer drink. It has a tangy-sweet taste. To begin with, you can roast the mango on a gas stove or cook the mango in water till they become soft. Put all the fruit pulp, black pepper, jaggery, roasted cumin powder, and sugar/jaggery in a mixer and mix well. Take out the concentrate mixture in a vessel and add cold water and mix it well. Garnish with some mint leaves and serve.
3. Dahi Pana
Dahi Pana is every household’s favorite in scorching summers. It is simple, easy to make and refreshing. Start with whipping sugar and curd together till sugar dissolves completely or you can use jaggery. I prefer jaggery. Add grated coconut, some cashews, black pepper, and chilled water to make it to an even consistency. You can add some chopped fruits if you would like. Ready to drink. Also, you can have a different variation of Dahi Pana using salt, lime juice, and mint leaves.
4. Chatua Pana
Chatua or well known as Sattu in some part serves as food to many across the country. It is very simple and quick. Dry roast the Wheat grains, Bengal gram, cashews. Cool them and grind them to make a powder. You can also use the readymade powder available in the market. Mix it with milk, mashed bananas, jaggery, and black pepper. Dress it with some cashews and serve. You can add some shredded coconut too.
5. Chhena Pana
People prefer this drink while they are fasting. It is a simple dish made of Chhena (Cottage cheese), jaggery, milk, water, mashed bananas. Mix Chhena, jaggery, mashed bananas with milk. Add a small amount of water if you prefer. Spice it with crushed cardamoms, black pepper, crushed dried ginger powder (1tsp). Serve it in a glass and garnish it with some Chhena and chopped fruits.