Made using hill lemons, hemp seeds (bhang), and a few more simple ingredients, Sana Hua Nimbu (Nimbu Saan), is a winter delicacy from the Kumaon cuisine of Uttarakhand. Here is a traditional recipe to make it (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Sana Hua Nimbu
Sana Hua Nimbu or Nimbu Saan is a Kumaoni winter delicacy. It is basically thick raita made using wild hill lemon segments mixed with hemp seeds (bhang seeds), yogurt, jaggery, and a few spices.
This age-old recipe from the Kumaon cuisine of Uttarakhand has a great balance of sweet and piquant flavors that will definitely satisfy your taste buds.
It is popularly eaten as a snack while taking in the sun on cold winter days which helps stimulate the appetite and also enhances immunity. Nimbu Saan also gives warmth to the body.
Hill Lemons – This recipe uses hill lemons, traditionally known as galgal or chukh. They are pulpy, juicy, and large-sized just like small mangoes.
Hemp Seeds – Also known as cannabis seeds, bhangira, or bhanga, they are a must ingredient in this dish. Hemp seeds are warm in nature and provide warmth to the body to adjust to the extreme cold conditions of the mountains. They are extremely rich in protein and essential fatty acids and add a nutty flavor to this dish.
Unlike the bhang leaves, bhang seeds are not psychoactive and even kids can eat them.
Yogurt – Use plain yogurt (curd, dahi).
Jaggery – Adds sweetness and balances the flavor!
Mustard Oil – It is optional but a dash of mustard oil is highly recommended. It gives a sharp taste to the raita making it taste even more delicious.
Others – You will also need cumin seeds, garlic, green chilies, cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), and salt.
You can also add grated or finely chopped mooli (radish), blood oranges, or banana to this raita to make a variation and add an additional layer of flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apart from this Sana Nimbu, you can use galgal to make fresh galgal juice, galgal pickle, galgal mint coriander chutney, and galgal jam.
Yes, sure. Use the large lemon varieties that are not very tart to make this dish.
Sana Nimbu is traditionally served on its own as a snack, which is consumed taking in the sun on a cold afternoon during winter.
You can also serve it as a side dish with your Indian-style meals.
Nimbu Saan is best served fresh. Do not store it for more than 2-3 hours.
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Kumaoni Sana Hua Nimbu Recipe (Nimbu Saan)
- 1 large Kumaoni lemon (galgal, chukh or hill lemon)
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (cannabis seeds, bhangira, or bhanga)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons powdered jaggery
- 1 cup thick plain yogurt (curd, dahi) (chilled or at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon mustard oil (optional but recommended)
- Dry roast hemp seeds and cumin seeds on low heat until they are fragrant and start spluttering (4-5 minutes), stirring continuously.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the seeds cool down.
- Add the roasted seeds, garlic, green chilies, coriander, and ¼ cup water to a blender and blend to make a coarse paste. Set aside.
- Cut the lemon into halves longitudinally (lengthwise). Peel off the rind and separate the segments, discarding the seeds and parchment-like skin. We only need the pulp.
- Add the lemon pulp, hemp seeds paste, salt, jaggery, and yogurt to a bowl and mix well.
- Drizzle mustard oil on top and serve.