Panakam (பானகம்) is a jaggery based cooler, which serves as a soothing drink on hot summer days. Traditionally, a salad called ‘vada payaru’ (வட பயறு) and buttermilk are made along with ‘panakam’ (பானகம்) on Sri Rama Navami (ஸ்ரீ ராம நவமி) day. Panakam can also be made as an offering to Lord Vishnu while performing pooja. Panakam is easy to make and is still popular in villages. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised when a new modern restaurant in Chennai served ‘Panakam’ as welcome drink! Well, you can always reinvent age old recipes. Now let’s see how to make this traditional drink.
Ingredients: (serves two)
Jaggery (வெல்லம்) – powdered, ½ tumbler or 100ml measure
Dry ginger powder (சுக்கு பொடி) – ½ teaspoon
Cardamom (ஏலக்காய்) – 2 no
Camphor laurel (பச்சை கற்பூரம்) – a pinch (optional)
Basil leaves (துளசி இலை) – a few
Method: Remove cardamom seeds and powder them finely using the mortar and pestle. Powder dry ginger separately and keep aside.
Dissolve powdered jaggery in 2 tumbles (400ml) of warm water. Filter through a sieve to remove any impurities. Add cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and camphor laurel. Mix well. Garnish with basil leaves and serve chilled. You may refrigerate panakam for 10-15 minutes before serving.
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