Skip to main content

Panaka Punch

This post would have never occurred to me, had it not been for a recipe for panaka  I came across in Madhur Jaffrey's James Beard award winning book 'World Vegetarian' (p. 644) . Its hard to retire quietly at 1.15 am when you see something that is so much a part of ones life, listed as 'Extinct'. A death knell so loud, that I had to vent about it immediately!

The Hindu festival 'Ram navami' is celebrated in the month of April all over India. One of the traditional festive offerings in South Indian temples & households for this event is 'panakam', a refreshing punch like drink made with ginger, gud (jaggery) and lime & flavored with cardamom. A time honored tradition kept alive for the past 3000+ (yes, three thousand) years.

Ideally I should have thought about posting this delicious refreshing beverage in the height of summer, but hey... summer or fall, it makes for a great drink.The recipe varies from household to household, but the taste is singularly delicious.

Disclaimer: I have taken some creative liberties with the basic recipe ( marked with a *), but these substitutions do not deviate from the flavor profile significantly.

You need:
3-4 tsp brown sugar* or Gud/jaggery  (available in Indian Stores)
1 tsp powdered dry ginger
2-3 pods cardamom seeds crushed
Juice of 1/2 a lime
water  as required
or
2 oz water +  lime flavored seltzer water as required*
Ice cubes


Heat the  brown sugar (or gud) and 2 oz water in a microwave for about 30 s till dissolved. add powdered ginger and crushed cardamom & steep for about 5- 10 min. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime in a  tall glass filled with ice cubes and strain the  syrup into the glass.Add the remaining water or seltzer as preferred. Garnish with a slice of lime. Stir & serve chilled.

(For The boozy version follow this link or this one from Monica Bhide's website. )

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Grilling - Grilled Halloumi with herb/avocado spread and pineapple

Depending upon cultures, its interesting to see how people react to the advent of summer. In India, It was to confine yourself indoors for the fear of getting a dark tan, stepping out with an umbrella to shield oneself from the intense sun and a host of 'cooling' foods such as Yogurt rice, and chilled fruits. The very idea of grilling anything out in the blazing sun would send a shudder down the spine. Grilling over coals was confined to cooler months and the rainy season when vendors would stroll the streets with carts full of corn to be roasted in a 'Sigri' (a Coal oven made of sheet metal). In sharp contrast, With the advent of Memorial Day in the US of A, there's a scramble to get the  grills and  barbecues readied for cooking foods the way our   cave men ancestors used to. Meat, Meat & more Meat, with a tiny footnote for grilling veggie burgers and marinaded vegetables.  Well, if you can't beat 'em, Join 'em! While that rallying

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Tweaking techniques for the twenties - Idli

  Just because something works doesn't mean it cannot be improved  - Letitia Wright (Shuri) , The Black Panther The iconic Idli has and always will be a signature Indian dish. As  a child, I'd watch my mother seat herself in front of the grinding stone  (attukal in Tamil) and spend the next couple of  hours making two different batters - one with parboiled soaked rice and the other - with hydrated Urad dal.  The starch batter usually went first, and was done relatively quick. the next one - with the lentils for some reason, took over an hour. By the time I grew up, the old grinding stone had been replaced with a blender. and my mother would ever so often wax nostalgic about the old stone ground batter and how the blender heated up the batter and made the idlies lumpy instead of the fluffy spongy ones she'd eaten as a child growing up in rural Tamil Nadu. As a teenager I once had the chance to make batter the traditional way and it was one serious workout but the texture of