Bel ka sharbat! Have you ever heard about such drink? Did you ever try this? This bael sharbat is not just delicious but healthy one too. You may think why have I mentioned bel ka sharbat aw well as bael sharbat? Are these two different? Actually, these two are same. In Bengal, people say it as bael sharbat or beler sharbat or bel pana. Whereas in Bihar, Jharkhand it is known as Bel ka sharbat. In Odisha it is popular as bela pana. But preparation of bela pana is slightly different from Bengali style Beler sharbat. Bael (bel) is called wood apple in English. So this way you can say this is a simple wood apple drink.
Bael plant is a very important plant for Hindu people. Its leaves are used in puja/worship whereas unripe bael fruit is essential for puja of Devadidev Mahadev or Shiva. Not only that ripe bael (bel fruit) pulp is also used to make delicious & healthy sharbat. Many people like this wood apple drink during summer days because it is healthy & keeps our body hydrated and also help to feel refreshed.
Spicy or sweet bael sharbat?
But I think bel ka sharbat (wood apple drink) is not equally popular drink across the country. Not only that, preparations of bael sharbat are different from region to region. Some people prefer sweet & simple taste but some people prefer spicy bel ka sharbat (wood apple drink). I personally do not prefer spicy taste but still sometimes I tried spicy bael sharbat. In Bengali, mostly simple less spicy & sweet bel ka sharbat is prefered. But in Bihar, Jharkhand & Uttar Pradesh many people love to jajeera/chaat masala/roasted cumin to make this spicy.
Bel ka sharbat in Delhi
I have noticed one bael sharbat (wood apple drink) seller in Kirti nagar where I found the seller added chaat masala & little extra roasted cumin powder. I found that street drink seller a few years back when I was staying in Delhi. But nowadays I hardly see such bel ka sharbat selers in Kolkata. When I was in Delhi I found that many delhi people did not even hear about bael fruit. When I said wood apple then they raised their eye brows. I felt wood apple is not that popular fruit what it is in Bengal or other neighboring states.
Bela pana (wood apple drink) in Odisha
There is another version of bael fruit made drink which is popular in Odisha. This type of bel sharbat (wood apple drink) is different from any other region. Here milk is used instead of water. This type of sharbat is known as Bela pana. This type of special bael sharbat is served on the ocassion of Pana Sankranti. Pana Sankaranti is genrally celebrated in Indian state Odisha but the day is also celebrated in many other Indian states as Poila Boisakh in West Bengal, Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab, Bishu in Kerala etc.
Bel ka sharbat recipe / Bael sharbat recipe / Wood apple drink recipe
- Pulp of 1 wood apple fruit /bel/bael
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt as needed
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinches of chaat masala/roasted cumin powder/jaljeera, optional
- 3 glasses of chilled water
- Break hard skin of wood apple/bel, extract its pulp and remove seeds
- Add sugar, salt, lemon juice
- Then add pinches of chaat masalal/roasted cumin powder/jaljeera, if needed; optional
- Pour 3 glasses of water
- Blend with had blender or manual blender
- Serve chilled, add ice cubes if you want