In today’s article I bring to you the step by step traditional panakam recipe. It is also known as panagam or paanakaram in South India.
Panakam, a Sanskrit word and in simple word ‘a sweet drink’ is one of the traditional drinks usually served on Sri Rama Navami festival. In the summer festivals of Tamil Nadu paanakam or paanakaram is served as naivedyam or prasadam.
Sri Rama Navami – Lord Rama’s Birthday
Sri Rama Navami (Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami) is celebrated on the ninth day of the Chaitra Masa (first month of Hindu calendar) after Tamil New year day. This year Ram Navami falls on 15 April (Friday).
Sri rama Navami is celebrated as Sri Rama’s birthday. But in South India, Rama Navami is also observed as wedding anniversary of the Rama and Sita symbolizing good relationship of husband and wife.
Why Lord Rama born on a Navami Day?
People who follow Hinduism look at Ashtami and Navami day of every month as unfortunate days and generally won’t fix any auspicious events on those days. So our unlucky Ashtami and Navami got very upset and went to Maha Vishnu to convey their worries.
To make them happy and to celebrate victory of good over evil, Maha Vishnu incarnated on the Earth as Sri Rama avatar on Navami day.
Fasting and feasting – essence of Ram Navami
Every festival comes with special foods to feast on.
The birth of lord Rama is celebrated by a whole day fasting, singing bhajans, chanting mantras and having a feast after sunset.
Post marriage, I always made sure I follow most of the rituals and enjoy preparing most of the festival foods.
As rama Navami is a summer month festival, the main naivedyam foods are panakam (sweet drink), neer moore (buttermilk) and kosumalli or kosambari (cucumber-moong daal salad).
What do panakam symbolize?
We all know that Lord Rama was sent to the forest in exile for had 14 years. Since it was difficult to get drinking water during the hot summer, he used to go in search of rivers to quench his thirst.
To symbolize this, panakam is served on Ram Navami day to quench one’s thirst during hot summers.
Panakam, my divine childhood memory drink:
Strolling down memory lane, I still remember my Appa who is a great devotee of Sri Rama is very particular on telling stories about Sri Rama and made it a point that we chant “Sri Rama Taraka Mantram” daily.
Sri Rama is our Ishta and Kula Daivam so we used to celebrate Sri Rama Navami whenever we are in my dad’s ancestral home and used to serve panakam which is stored in large earthen pots to everyone visiting our home on those days.
I used to love having this naivedyam. It tastes divine!!!
Facts and health benefits of panakam recipe:
Panakam cannot be side-lined as just a coolant or summer drink.
Heat during summer alters the vaatha and kapha doshas present in the human body. This imbalance upsets the jataraagni which leads to loss of appetite.
Panakam with its unique ingredients rejuvenates and stimulates the digestive system leading to a healthy appetite.
In olden times, panakam was consumed to prevent the human body from chicken pox as chicken pox gets contracted easily during summer months.
Apart from that panakam,
- Is a tasty and healthy drink
- Is a natural thirst quencher
- Contains no added preservative or chemicals
- Helps to beat the summer heat by bringing down body heat
The ingredients of panakam are jaggery, pepper pods, ginger, tulsi, lemon and cardamom.
Health benefits of jaggery:
- Rich in iron and magnesium
- Natural source of minerals and vitamins
- Cools down the body
- Prevents constipation due to the presence of natural fibre
- Cleanses our body
Health benefits of black pepper:
- Excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium
- Has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties
- Natural way to cure cold, cough and congestion
Health benefits of ginger:
- Rich in potassium and also contains vitamin A, C and E
- Excellent home remedy for colds, cough, and congestion.
- Good for indigestion, nausea, pregnancy related morning sickness and motion sickness
Health benefits of lemon:
- Rich in Vitamin B and C complex
- Has antiseptic properties
- Controls high blood pressure
- Good for indigestion and constipation
Health benefits of cardamom:
- Rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and Vit C
- Treats teeth and gum infection
- Good for chest congestion
- It’s also good for treating digestive ailments
Health benefits of tulsi:
- Tulsi is rich in calcium and iron
- Tulsi is a good source of vitamin K and vitamin A
- It has antibacterial effect, thus protecting against bacterial infections
- It cures colds, cough, and congestion
Step by step panakam recipe preparation method:
It’s one of the easy peasy recipe.
Take 1/3 cup of crushed or powdered jaggery and soak in 1 1/4 cup drinking water for 10 to 15 minutes. Once dissolved completely, filter down the impurities using a fine mesh.
To this add lemon juice taken from one lemon, 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger powder (or grated fresh ginger), two pods of crushed cardamom, a pinch salt and mix well.
Garnish with a few tulsi leaves. Refrigerate it and serve.
- Grated Jaggery – ⅓ cup or less than that
- Drinking water – 1.5 cup
- Lemon juice – from 1 lemon
- Elachi – 1 or 2
- Dry ginger powder or fresh grated ginger - ¼ teaspoon
- Crushed pepper corn (optional) -1/4 teaspoon
- Tulsi leaves – few leaves
- Salt – a pinch
- Soak crushed or powdered jaggery in 1.5 cup drinking water for 15 minutes
- After that mix the jaggery water nicely and using a fine mesh filter it to remove the impurities
- To this add lemon juice from a lemon, dry ginger powder, crushed cardamom, crushed pepper, a pinch salt and mix well
- Garnish with tulsi leaves and mix well.
- Refrigerate it and serve chilled
- Panakam tastes best when chilled
- If you have earthen pots or copper utensils, pour in those and chill it; indeed our traditional way to have panakam
- Filter one more time after refrigerating panakam before serving to kids
Do you prepare panakam at your home? Is it the way I made or is there any variation in your panakam recipe?
Do share with me in comments.