Shikanji

5 from 5 votes

Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi) is a refreshing Indian drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala powder (a unique spice mix), and club soda. This Indian version of lemonade is easy to make at home and gives instant relief from the scorching heat.

If you like to sip on summer drinks, here are some more options: Jeera Soda, Kulukki, Watermelon Mint Mojito, Virgin Mojito, and Apple Iced Tea.

Shikanji served in a glass.
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Summers in North India are harsh. The temperature reaches a scorching 118 F (48 C) or more, and it is essential to stay hydrated to combat it.

I remember coming home from school during summers and being handed a tall glass full of shikanjvi or aam panna to give instant energy and relief to the body from the scorching heat outside.

A pitcher of shikanji sat in the fridge all summer to sip throughout the day. Street carts would also pop up, selling this summer cooler stored in earthen pots to people who must step out in the heat for various inevitable reasons.

Now, I see many recipes on the internet that pass nimbu paani off as shikanji. No, those two are very different. The only but massive difference between these refreshing summer coolers is the addition of the spice mix. While nimbu paani is made using just water, lime juice, sugar, and salt, a spice mix (shikanji masala) is added while making shikanji.

So never call nimbu paani, shikanji. You will offend a Northener!

About Shikanji

Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi, Shikanjbeen), also called an Indian Spiced lemonade, is a refreshing drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala powder (a spicy spice mix), and water or club soda.

It is a popular summer drink in North India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Pakistan.

It is sweet, tangy, and spicy, creating a burst of flavors in your mouth. Sipping on a glassful of this Indian lemonade will refresh you like nothing else. Try It!

Ingredients

Homemade Shikanji Masala Powder is made by roasting and grinding some everyday whole spices such as whole coriander seeds (dhaniya beej), cumin seeds (jeera), and whole black peppercorns (kali mirch). It is mixed with Chaat Masala Powder, black salt, and regular salt.

Cumin seeds and chaat masala powder have digestive properties. They also make this drink tangy and refreshing.

Black salt (kala namak, rock salt) gives this drink a very earthy taste, which is very different from regular salt. It is salty and sour at the same time. Try not to replace it with common salt.

You can add some dry ginger powder (sonth) to this masala powder.

I always double or triple this spice mix recipe and store it in my pantry. It comes in handy whenever I want to make this drink.

The measurements in my recipe will give you shikanji masala to make 15-20 glasses of shikanjvi.

There is a very popular brand of shikanji masala called Jain Shikanji Masala. You can also buy it from an Indian grocery store if you want to save some time.

Lime Juice is the star ingredient of this drink. It adds the perfect amount of tanginess, making it refreshing and delicious. Only freshly squeezed juice works in this recipe. Don’ use bottled juice: it will spoil the taste.

You can also use lemon juice instead of lime for a milder taste.

Tip: To get the maximum juice from a lime, roll it on the counter with firm hands before cutting it.

Sugar: Granulated white sugar is added to sweeten the drink. If you want it to dissolve quickly, use powdered white sugar (not confectioner’s).

You can also use powdered jaggery, coconut sugar, or honey instead of sugar if you want a healthier alternative. 

Mint Leaves: Fresh mint leaves add a very refreshing flavor.

Water or Soda: If you like fizzy drinks, top the nimbu shikanjvi with chilled club soda. Otherwise, water is fine, too. Add a few ice cubes to the glasses to make the drink chilled.

You can also use sparkling water, Coca-Cola, Sprite, or ginger ale instead of water or club soda. I sometimes add chia seeds soaked in water to it, too.

How To Make Nimbu Shikanji

Make Shikanji Masala Powder

Add the following ingredients to a skillet.

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds

Roast on medium heat until very lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Stir continuously while roasting.

Roasted cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns and whole coriander seeds.

Once roasted, add them to the small jar of a mixer grinder (or a coffee grinder) along with the following ingredients and grind to make a fine powder.

  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon black salt
  • 1 teaspoon regular salt

This measurement will give you shikanji masala powder enough to make 15-20 glasses of shikanjvi. Use as much as required, store the rest in an airtight container for up to 15 days, and use later.

Roasted ingredients added to a grinder along with chaat masala, black salt and regular salt.
Ready shikanji masala.

Make Nimbu Shikanji

Take 2 tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon lime juice to each glass.

Add 2 tablespoon granulated sugar to each glass and mix with a spoon until the sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar if you like your drink sweeter.

Sugar and lime juice mixed in a glass.

Add ½ teaspoon shikanvji masala that you made earlier and 2-3 fresh mint leaves to each glass.

Shikanji masala and mint leaves added to the glass.

Add ice cubes as per your liking.

Ice cubes added to the glass.

Top the glasses with chilled water or club soda. Give a quick stir and serve immediately.

Ready shikanji.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make it ahead?

Absolutely yes. I always like to make a big pitcher and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Make sure to stir it well before serving. You can also freeze it in popsicle molds for a fun treat for kids.

Pro Tips By Neha

Replace lime juice with lemon juice for a milder taste.

Add a little fresh ginger juice for a spicy kick. To make ginger juice, grate a small piece of ginger using a grater. Squeeze the grated ginger; the juice will drip down.

Replace plain water with coconut water or orange juice for a taste change.

To make an adult version, add a splash of your favorite alcohol, such as vodka, white rum, or gin.

Add some sabja seeds (falooda, tukmara, basil seeds) to this drink for their health benefits. They swell up like chia seeds when added to a liquid, giving the drink a great texture. You can add ½ teaspoon per glass. Just keep in mind that sabja seeds takes 10-15 minutes to swell up. So, use them accordingly.

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Nimbu Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi) is a refreshing Indian drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala powder (a unique spice mix), and club soda. This Indian version of lemonade is easy to make at home and gives instant relief from the scorching heat.
5 from 5 votes

Shikanji Recipe (Indian Masala Lemonade)

Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi) is a refreshing Indian drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala powder (a unique spice mix), and club soda. Make it using my easy recipe.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients 

For Shikanji Masala

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds (dhaniya)
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  • 1 teaspoon regular salt

For Shikanji

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (or lemon juice for a milder taste)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • ice cubes (as required)
  • chilled club soda or water (as required)
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Instructions 

Make Shikanji Masala Powder

  • Roast cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, and whole coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until very lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Stir continuously while roasting.
  • Once roasted, add them to the small jar of a mixer grinder (or a coffee grinder) along with chaat masala, black salt, and regular salt and grind to make a fine powder.
  • This measurement will give you shikanji masala enough to make 15-20 glasses of shikanji. Use as much as required, store the rest in an airtight container for upto 15 days, and use later.

Make Shikanji

  • Take 2 tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon lime juice to each glass. Add 2 tablespoon sugar to each glass and stir using a spoon until the sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar if you like your drink sweeter.
  • Add ½ teaspoon shikanji masala and 2-3 mint leaves to each glass.
  • Add ice cubes as per your liking.
  • Top the glasses with chilled water or club soda and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Adjust the shikanji masala, salt, and sugar as per your taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 82kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1170mg, Potassium: 83mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 144IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 2mg
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2 Comments

  1. I had forgotten this drink and the recipe brought back some fond memories. time to refresh memories…….Thanks

  2. 5 stars
    very beautifully written, detailed and comprehensive.

    will try and give feedback on the recipe.