Delhi Paanwali's Tribute To G20 Summit, Gold, Silver-Laced Paan

The recently concluded G20 Summit 2023 gave India a platform to showcase the variety, value and heritage of Indian cuisine. From renowned chefs like Kunal Kapur, Anahita Dhondy and Ajay Chopra whipping up millet dishes for the First Ladies to Delhi’s luxury hotels creating special Indian regional menus, the national capital has offered up some of its best creations to mark the G20 Summit 2023. Joining the ranks of these food creators is Anu Lalwani Surana, who has crafted a G20-Special Paan

For those unaware, Anu Lalwani Surana, who runs Yamu’s Panchayat, a Paan parlour in New Delhi’s Connaught Place, is known for her incredibly delicious and highly valuable special Paan creations. The G20 Paan, the making of which she showcased through a video posted on Instagram, looks even more resplendent than her other creations. While the silver and gold leaves on the G20-Special Paan are most easily notable, there are plenty of other classic ingredients that went into it. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Foods and Flavours

The video starts with a simple betel leaf, on which traditional Chuna and Kattha are rubbed generously. A whole layer of edible silver leaf coating is then applied to the Paan leaf, followed by classic Paan toppings like Heera-Moti (a mixture of fennel, coriander, licorice, jintan, menthol and salt). This is followed by multiple flavoured chutneys, Supari, Chini Bhura (a grated sugar mix), Nariyal Bhura (a coconut mix), Kesar or saffron, a golden elaichi or cardamom and plenty of Gulkand. 

The incredibly stuffed and flavourful G20-Special Paan is then rolled up and covered in edible gold leaf, pierced with a flag of the G20 Summit 2023, and served on a plate with dry ice for effect. Not only does this G20-Special Paan look like a gourmet dish served at the end of a meal but is also a true reflection of India’s rich culinary culture where Paan holds a special place. 

Not only are betel or Paan leaves considered to be auspicious according to Hindu mythology, but Ayurvedic texts from ancient times also highlight its many medicinal benefits. Paan leaves have been laced with betel nuts and hundreds of other ingredients found across India to create a bite-sized vegetarian dish that is traditionally consumed as a mouth-freshener at the end of meals. It is also believed that the ingredients in a traditional Paan can also aid digestion by getting the digestive enzymes to work faster. 

Thus, Paan has been a part and parcel of Indian culture and heritage for centuries now. From songs dedicated to the most famous Paans in India, including Benarasi Paan, to Paan parlours like those run by Anu Lalwani Surana creating some with global infusions and expensive ingredients, Paan has now turned into not just an item at the bottom of banquet menus but something tourists and foodies travel from far and wide to savour.