Nimbu shikanji or shikanjvi is a refreshing Indian drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala (a unique spice mix), and club soda. This Indian version of lemonade is super easy to make at home.
If you like to sip on summer drinks, here are some more options for you – Jeera Soda, Kulukki, Watermelon Mojito, Virgin Mojito, Apple Iced Tea, Aam Panna, Kiwi Cooler, Cucumber Mint Cooler, Jaljeera, and Watermelon Juice.
About This Recipe
Nimbu shikanji (shikanjvi) which can also be called an Indian lemonade is a refreshing drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala (a spicy spice mix), and water or club soda.
It is very popular in the Northern part of India and some parts of Pakistan and is made in most households during summers. You will also find many street-side carts selling this refreshing drink in some of the North Indian states.
I remember coming back home from school during summers and being handed a tall glass full of shikanji or aam panna to give instant relief to the body from the scorching heat outside. There was a pitcher of this summer cooler sitting in the fridge all summer to sip throughout the day.
I am sharing my mom’s recipe to make shikanji in this post. I am sure you will love it!
Lime: Lime is the star ingredient of this drink. It adds the perfect amount of tanginess making it refreshing and delicious.
Shikanji Masala: Lime juice is mixed with a spice mix which is also called Shikanji masala. This masala is made by roasting and grinding some everyday whole spices such as coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns. It is then mixed with chaat masala, black salt, and regular salt.
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.
Sugar: Sugar is added to sweeten the drink. I like to use powdered sugar (grind regular sugar in a grinder) as it gets easy to dissolve in water. DO NOT use confectioner’s sugar, which is also sometimes called powdered sugar. It comes with added cornstarch and will alter the taste of the drink.
You can also use powdered jaggery or honey instead of sugar if you are looking for a healthier alternative.
Mint Leaves: It adds a very refreshing flavor.
Water or Soda: If you like fizzy drinks, then top the shikanji with chilled club soda, otherwise water is fine too. Make sure to add a few ice cubes to the glasses to make the drink super chilled.
You can also use coca-cola, sprite, or ginger ale instead of water or club soda, to make a different variation. I sometimes add chia seeds soaked in water to it too.
How To Make Nimbu Shikanji
Make Shikanji Masala
Add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, and ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds to a skillet and roast on medium heat until very slightly browned (2-3 minutes). Keep stirring them while roasting.
Once roasted, add them to the small jar of a blender ( or a coffee grinder) along with 1 teaspoon chaat masala, 1 teaspoon black salt, and 1 teaspoon regular salt and blend to make a fine powder. Shikanji masala is ready.
Use as much as required and store the rest in an airtight container and use later.
Take a tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon lime juice to each glass. Now add 2 tablespoon powdered sugar to each glass and mix using a spoon until sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar if you like your drink sweeter.
Add ½ teaspoon shikanji masala that we made earlier and a few fresh mint leaves to each glass.
Add ice cubes as per your liking.
Top the glasses with chilled water or club soda. Give a quick stir and serve immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
As lime is the main ingredient here, this drink is rich in vitamin C which helps in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, and wound healing. Not to forget, it is very good for your skin and hair too.
The ingredients used in shikanjvi like cumin, mint, and lime aids in weight loss, and therefore if you are on the journey of losing weight, include this drink in your daily diet.
The only 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 is added while making shikanji.
There is another version of this drink called Indori shahi shikanji which is very different from the regular version. It is sold on the streets of Indore, a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is made using milk, saffron, cardamom powder, sugar, salt, yogurt, and nuts.
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 variations, add muddled berries (raspberries, blueberries), jamun puree, watermelon juice, etc to it.
Replace plain water with coconut water or orange juice.
Add a splash of your favorite alcohol like vodka, white rum, or gin to make an adult version.
Double or triple the recipe if making it for a gathering.
You can make a big batch of shikanji masala and store it for up to a month in a glass container at room temperature. Whenever you want to serve shikanji, just add it to the glasses with the other ingredients and make the drink.
You Might Also Like
For Shikanji Masala
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1 teaspoon regular salt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (powdered)
- 5-6 mint leaves
- ice cubes (as required)
- club soda or water (as required)
To Make Shikanji Masala
- Roast cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, and whole coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until very slightly browned (2-3 minutes). Keep stirring them while roasting.
- Add the roasted spices to the small jar of a grinder along with chaat masala, black salt, and regular salt and grind to make a fine powder.
To Make Shikanji
- Take 2 tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon lime juice to each glass. Now add 2 tablespoon powdered sugar to each glass and stir using a spoon until sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar if you like your drink sweeter.
- Add ½ teaspoon shikanji masala and a few 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.