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Nimbu Shikanji - Spiced Indian lemonade

Nimbu Shikanji (Masala Shikanji, Shikanjvi) is a refreshing Indian drink made with lime juice, Shikanji Masala (a unique blend of spices) and sparkling water. This Indian version of lemonade is easy to make at home and provides instant relief from the scorching heat.

It is a popular summer drink in northern India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, and also in some parts of Pakistan. During the hot summer months, you can also find many carts on the side of the road selling this refreshing drink in large clay pots.

I remember coming home from school in the summer and being handed a large glass of Shikanji or Aam Panna to immediately rid the body of the scorching heat outside. There was a jar of these summer coolers in the fridge all summer long to sip throughout the day.

How to prepare Shikanji Masala?

Shikanji Masala is made by roasting and grinding some everyday whole spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns. It is then mixed with Chaat Masala, black salt and regular salt.

Cumin seeds and Chaat Masalahave digestive properties and also make this drink tangy and refreshing.

Black salt, also known as kala namak or rock salt, gives this drink a very earthy taste that is very different from the taste with regular salt. It is salty and sour at the same time. If possible, try not to replace it with regular salt.

I always double or triple this spice mix recipe and keep it in my pantry. It comes in handy when I want to make this drink.

The amounts in my recipe make Shikanji Masala to prepare 15-20 jars of Shikanji.

There is a very popular brand of Shikanji Masala called Jain Shikanji Masala. You could also buy this at an Indian grocery store if you want to save some time.

In this post, I am sharing my mom Flory's Shikanji Masala recipe. I'm sure you'll love it!

Ingredients for Nimbu Shikanji

Lime: Lime is the main ingredient in this drink. It adds the perfect amount of effervescence that makes it refreshing and delicious.

For a milder flavor, you can use lemon instead of lime.

Sugar: Cane sugar is added to sweeten the drink. You can use fine sugar (not powdered sugar) if you don't want to keep stirring the sugar until it dissolves.

Mint leaves: they add a very refreshing flavor.

Still or sparkling water: if you like carbonated drinks, prepare the Nimbu Shikanji with chilled sparkling water, otherwise still water is fine. Make sure you add a few ice cubes to the glasses to enjoy the drink chilled.

You can also use club soda, Coca Cola, Sprite, or ginger ale instead of water to make a different variation. I also sometimes add chia seeds soaked in water.


What are the health benefits of Shikanji?

Since lime is the main ingredient here, this drink is rich in vitamin C, which helps in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, immune system and wound healing. Not to mention, it is also very good for skin and hair.

The ingredients used in Shikanji such as cumin, mint and lime can also help in weight loss..

Can we drink Shikanji Masala every day?

Yes, this drink is loaded with the goodness of lime, black salt, cumin and coriander seeds. Drinking it daily is very good for your body.

What is the difference between Nimbu Paani and Shikanji?

The only difference between these refreshing summer coolers is the addition of the spice blend. While Nimbu Paani is made with just water, lime juice, sugar and salt, Shikanji is made by adding a blend of spices (Shikanji Masala).

What is Indori Shahi 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 from milk, saffron, cardamom powder, sugar, salt, yogurt and nuts.


After you have mastered the preparation of Nimbu Shikani, you can try some variations. Here are a few ideas::

  • Pomegranate - Add pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds.

  • Pineapple - Add pineapple juice and chopped pineapple.

  • Blue Curaçao - Add some blue curaçao mix,

  • Green - Blend cilantro, mint and ginger in a blender. Add this mixture to the drink.

  • Berries - Cook some chopped strawberries or raspberries with sugar. Add this mixture to the Shikanji.

  • Watermelon - Replace water with fresh watermelon juice

Storage suggestions

You can prepare a large amount of Shikanji Masala and store it in a glass container at room temperature for up to one month. Whenever you want to serve Nimbu Shikanji, just add it to the jars with the other ingredients and prepare the drink.

You can also prepare a large jar of Shikanj and store it in the refrigerator for up to one day. If you prepare it in advance, use regular water instead of sparkling water, as the sparkling water will bubble out over time and Shikanj will not taste good.

Freeze the rest in the freezer in ice lolly moulds for a summer treat.


For Shikanji Masala

  • 1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

  • ½ tsp whole coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp. Chaat Masala

  • 1 tsp black salt (Kala Namak)

  • 1 tsp table salt

This amount makes enough Shikanji Masala to prepare 15-20 jars of Shikanji. Use as much as needed and store the rest in an airtight container to use later.

For Nimbu Shikanji for 2 people

  • 2 tbsp. lime juice (or lemon juice for a milder taste)

  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar

  • 1 tsp. Shikanji Masala

  • 5-6 mint leaves

  • Ice cubes (as needed)


Prepare Shikanji Masala

Toast whole cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, and whole coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Stir constantly while roasting.

Once the spices are toasted, put them in a mortar or spice grinder along with Chaat Masala, black salt and regular salt and grind everything to make a fine powder. Your Shikanji Masala is now ready.

Prepare Nimbu Shikanji

Take 2 tall glasses and add 1 tablespoon of lime juice in each glass. Now add 1 tablespoon of cane sugar to each glass and stir with a spoon until the sugar dissolves. If you like your drink sweeter, you can add more sugar.

Add ½ teaspoon of Shikanji Masala and 2-3 mint leaves to each glass.

Add ice cubes to taste. Fill the glasses with chilled water or lemonade and stir gently.

Serve Nimbu Shikanji immediately.


  • Prepare the Shikanji Masala and store it in a cool, dry place. You can use it for up to 1 month.

  • You can also use jaggery powder, coconut sugar or honey instead of sugar if you are looking for a healthier alternative.

  • To get maximum juice from the lime, roll it on the counter with firm hand pressure before cutting it.

  • You can also use club soda, CocaCola, Sprite or ginger ale instead of water or lemonade to make a different variation.

I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.

Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).



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