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 super easy to make at home and gives instant relief from the scorching heat (vegan, gluten-free).
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 Nimbu Shikanji
Nimbu Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi, Shikanjbeen) which can also be 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 also in 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 back 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. 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 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.
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 then 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 regular salt.
You can also 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: Sugar is added to sweeten the drink. You can use powdered granulated sugar (Not Confectioner’s sugar) if you don’t want to keep stirring the sugar until it dissolves.
You can also use powdered jaggery, coconut sugar, or honey instead of sugar if you are looking for a healthier alternative.
Mint Leaves: Fresh mint leaves add a very refreshing flavor.
Water or Soda: If you like fizzy drinks, then top the nimbu shikanjvi 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 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 Nimbu Shikanji
Make Shikanji Masala Powder
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 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, and 1 teaspoon regular salt and grind to make a fine powder. Shikanji masala is ready.
This measurement will give you shikanji masala powder enough to make 15-20 glasses of shikanjvi. 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 granulated sugar to each glass and mix using a spoon until the sugar is dissolved. You can add more sugar if you like your drink sweeter.
Add ½ teaspoon shikanvji masala that we 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
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.
No, it has sugar added to it 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.
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.
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 seeds, tukmara seeds, basil seeds) to this drink for their health benefits. They are great for cooling the body, aids digestion, and have anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. They swell up just 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, just 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 shikanji will not taste great.
Freeze the leftover 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
- 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 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. Shikanji masala is ready.
- 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.