Fusion Fix: Paan Ice Cream

2013 Oct 11 - by dulhan
A popular way to finish off a delicious Indian dinner is to eat a fresh, crunchy meetha paan to cleanse the palate and aid with digestion. Paan, often sold on Indian roadsides, is a betel nut leaf filled with tobacco or betel nuts, gulkhand (rose jelly), badishep (roasted fennel seeds), fruit preserves, nuts, and spices.

Paan can be served in many varieties, from tobacco paan to paan supari. Meetha paan is the only sweet form of paan - but you can find it in more than just a large leaf!

Thanks to the effects of today's globalizing world on fusion foods, meetha paan can now be consumed in the BEST form yet - ice cream!

Nirvanaah! in Sunnyvale, CA, is truly a paradise for Indian sweet lovers - it features multiple, unique South Asian flavors such as chikoo, sitafur, falooda, and numerous kulfis, that you'd be hard pressed to find at any other ice cream shop.

Photo courtesy of cheffile.com

The Scoop:

Nirvanaah!'s meetha paan ice cream is a heavenly treat with a familiar taste and a unique texture. Pieces of the paan itself, along with bites of gulkhand, can be found in small swirls across your creamy scoop of ice cream.

With every bite, you can taste the true spice and sweet of the meetha paan - whether you are chewing on a piece of badishep or savoring a piece of tutti frutti jellies.

The ice cream mimics the characteristics of a real meetha paan itself, in that the ingredients are sporadically mixed throughout the treat. It is truly a dessert for the adventurous - those who like exploring different tastes and textures in every spoonful!

I personally believe that the authenticity of the meetha paan ice cream is validated by its lack of "ice cream" flavor. There is no base flavor for the ice cream - so there are no hints of vanilla or any other common ice cream tastes.

By eliminating any additional seasonings, Nirvanaah! has allowed its meetha paan ice cream to shine in its pure glory - with all the bold spices and sugary sweets of the real deal.

At the same time, I believe the ice cream could have been enhanced by more Western influences. The only intercultural concept swirled into this ice cream is its creaminess - which compliments the freshening flavors with an additional sweet glaze.

I would have loved to see this fusion fix go a step further by perhaps mixing in some familiar touches to the extraordinary paan ice cream - resulting in something like chocolate or caramel paan ice creams.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Overall, paan ice cream is a treat you do not want to miss - whether you are a seasoned paan lover or an experimental dessert fan. The refreshingly sweet and smooth ice cream is truly at home in a place called Nirvanaah! - and I urge you all to grab a scoop if you are ever nearby!

What other fusion ice cream flavors do you love?