Shikanji or Shikanjvi (India’s Take on Lemonade)

Shikhanjvi or Shikanji - Indian Lemonade
Shikhanjvi or Shikanji – Indian Lemonade

In Mumbai, summers can be brutal. The heat along with the high humidity means that we sweat buckets and are in danger of being dehydrated. But we have a traditional solution for this situation. In Mumbai, (till a few years ago at least) water was freely available. Many eateries would give a glass of water to anyone who asked, not just patrons. There are people who set out a “matka” or a clay pot with water for communal use and ensure that it is always full. Then there are other remedies like Chaas or Sugar Cane Juice.

Perhaps the most common remedy is Nimbu Paani or Lemonade that is is sold on street corners; especially in summer. Unlike the western lemonade, nimbu paani has both salt and sugar. The North Indian Shikhanji (aka Shikanjvi) takes this idea further and uses black salt and pepper as well. As a result, it has a sweet and salty tasty with just a hit of pepper and is a fantastic thirst quencher.

Recipe for Shikanji or Shikanjvi

Serves: 4

Time: 10 Minutes


  1. Lemon – 2
  2. Sugar – 3 tbsp
  3. Black Salt or Regular Salt – 2/3 tsp
  4. Black Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  5. Cold Water – 4 Cups
  6. Ice cubes – As required


  1. Dissolve the sugar in water.
  2. Add lemon juice, black salt, and black pepper powder.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Divide into 4 equal portions.
  5. Add ice cubes, if required.
  6. Serve chilled.


  • Try using honey instead of sugar. It takes this simple shikanji to another level.



I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.