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 (vegan, gluten-free).
About Nimbu Shikanji
Nimbu Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi, Shikanjbeen), also called an Indian Spiced lemonade, is a refreshing drink made using lime juice, shikanji masala (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. You will also find many street-side carts selling this refreshing drink in large earthen pots during the hot summer months.
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 this summer cooler sat in the fridge all summer to sip throughout the day.
I am sharing my mom’s masala shikanji recipe in this post. I am sure you will love it!
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Make it in a large pitcher if making it for a crowd.
If you like to sip on summer drinks, here are some more options for you
- Jeera Soda
- Watermelon Mojito
- Virgin Mojito
- Apple Iced Tea
- Aam Panna
- Kiwi Cooler
- Cucumber Mint Cooler
- Watermelon Juice
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, black salt, and regular salt.
Cumin seeds and chaat masala powder have digestive properties, and 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: Lime is the star ingredient of this drink. It adds the perfect amount of tanginess, making it refreshing and delicious.
You can also use lemon in place of lime for a milder taste.
Tip – To get 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. You can use powdered, white sugar (Not Confectioner’s sugar) if you want it to dissolve quickly.
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 to make a different variation. I sometimes add chia seeds soaked in water to it too.
How To Make Shikanji
Make Shikanji Masala Powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
to a skillet and roast on 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
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1 teaspoon regular salt
and grind to make a fine powder.
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, and use later.
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.
Add ½ teaspoon shikanvji masala that you made earlier and 2-3 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
No, it has added sugar, which is not suggested if you are on a weight loss journey. The ingredients used to make shikanji have many other health benefits, though.
Yes, this drink is loaded with the goodness of lime, black salt, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Drinking it daily is very good for your body.
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 (shikanji masala) is added while making shikanji.
Pro Tips By Neha
Replace lime juice with lemon juice for a milder taste.
Add a little fresh ginger juice for a spicy kick.
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.
Add a teaspoon of sabja seeds (falooda, tukmara, basil seeds) to this drink for their health benefits. They are great for cooling the body, aiding digestion, and have anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. They swell up like chia seeds when added to a liquid and give a great texture to the drink.
Once you have learned to make the classic nimbu shikanji, try some variations. Here are a few ideas.
- Anar – Add pomegranate juice and pomegranate kernels.
- Pineapple – Add pineapple juice and chopped pineapple.
- Blue Curacao – Add some blue curacoa mix.
- Blue Pea Flower – Steep some dried blue pea flowers in water and use the water to make the shikanji.
- Green – Blend cilantro, mint, and ginger in a blender. Add this mix to the drink.
- Kala Khatta – Add kala khatta mix to this drink.
- Berries – Cook some chopped strawberries or raspberries with sugar. Add this mix to the shikanji.
- Jamun – Add some Jamun puree to it.
- Watermelon – Replace water with fresh watermelon juice.
- Mango – Add some mango puree to the recipe.
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 nimbu shikanji, add it to the glasses with the other ingredients and make the drink.
You can also make a big pitcher of shikanjvi and refrigerate it for up to a day. If making it in advance, use water instead of soda water, as the soda will fizz out with time, and nimbu shikanji will not taste great.
Freeze the leftovers in popsicle molds for a summer treat.
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Nimbu Shikanji Recipe (Indian Masala Lemonade)
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
- 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)
Make Shikanji Masala Powder
- Roast cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, and whole coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until very slightly 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 and store the rest in an airtight container and use later.
- Take 2 tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon lime juice to each glass. Now 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.