The Indian Paan Story - What is Paan and Types of Paan (Bida)

The Indian Paan Story - What is Paan and Types of Paan (Bida)

The Indian Paan Story

Chewing paan (betel leaf + araca) in India is a tradition, culture rather than a habit. Betel leaf is a integral part of deep rooted hindu tradition in important accosasions, paan is important after a good meal. Without the flavour induced by Paan, betel leafs are just another leaf. The meal gets completed only after chewing a paan. Paan helps in digestion and is also a mouth freshner.

What is Paan?

Over centuries paan consumption has evolved and new and innovative flavors are available in the market. Paan culture is still alive across India.

Paan is a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut and sometimes also with tobacco. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects. After chewing, it is either spat out or swallowed. - Wikipedia

After adding the various ingredients to the betel leaf, it is folded into a triangular shape called a "Bida" or "Gilauree". Meetha paans are usually wrapped with silver paper and topped with a cherry as well. The skilled paan maker is known as a paanwala in North India.

Paan chewing secretes juice which is not healthy to swallow and it is spat out. Paan spitting is banned in many public places because it causes cleanliness issues.

Benefits of Paan

Inspite of drawbacks of paan there are few health benefits when consumed in less quantity
After a heavy meal paan helps in digestion
Paan is a mouth freshner
As natural lipstick (paan chewing leaves behind rich red hue on your tongue and lips)

Health Effects of Paan

Over eating of paan continously for a prolonged period of time causes health issues
Chewing paan is a major cause of cancer
Pregnant ladies should avoid chewing paan

Different Types Of Paan

Different types of paan

Sada Paan

Basic version of paan. It is prepared with betel leaf + areca nut + slaked lime paste.(Cardamom or clove is also addes as per preferance)

Meetha Paan

It is a sweet paan with along with the above some spices like fennel seeds, cinnamom powder etc, gulkand, tutty fruity etc being also added.

Tambakhu Paan

It is a sada pan to which tobacco leaf powder is added.

Ingredients Used In Paan

Betel leaf (choose from Country / Sweet Leaf)
Areca nut- (Both roasted and unroasted seeds) also called as betel nut
Slaked lime paste - made with water
Gulkand - rose petals candied in sugar
Grated coconut
Spices - fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon powder, cloves, nutmeg powder etc.
Tutty frutty
Syrup of powdered rose leaves
Menthol powder
Camphor powder
Dried dates
Hara patta - dried green leaves

Latest innovation in paan has given many unique and interesting flavors.

Chocolate paan
Ice paan (served chill)
Ladoo flavour paan
Strawberry, pineapple, butterscotch flavours
Tobacoo paan has many variations which we are not covering.

We have covered only the surface of paan culture and types of paan. You get many options and flavours depending on the local taste and culture. Chew responsibly and enjoy your paan.