Panakam Or Gur (Jaggery) Sharbat


India has a culinary culture where the beverages had an important place. Among the many varieties of cold and hot indigenous, traditional beverages sharbats were considered best not just as refreshing drinks but also as medicinal remedies. Most of the sarbats were decoctions / infusions of fruits, flowers, herbs, roots grown locally in a specific region.. They were prepared according to the season. Each sharbat had a therapeutic use. I read somewhere that sharbats were introduced by Mughal emperors in India in 16th century.

In North India, where I live, I grew up with sharbats made with rose, khus, hibiscus, mint, lemon, bael, raw mango or kachcha aam, phalsa, sattu, ilmi or tamarind, gur, badam, sandalwood, amla, kewra, ginger and many other things.  In summer months sharbats were served during festive occasions, religious ceremonies and to house guests apart from their daily use in homes. These specially made serbats helped to combat the merciless heat of Northern Indian Summer.

In other regions also Sharbats were part of the daily cuisine among other beverages.

Gur ka ghol  or gur ka sharbat may not sound fancy but it is delicious taste and has tremendous benefits in terms of keeping the body cool, purifying blood and helping in the digestion. It also helps to ward off dehydration. In rural areas Gur ka ghol was served to anyone who came home from sweltering heat of summer. Gur and water was given separately also. The tradition still continues in many areas but now the commercial drinks are taking over slowly replacing the traditional ones which is a sad thing.

The gur sharbat we drank was prepared with grated jaggery dissolved in water and spiked with black rock salt, lime and mint.

The closest thing to it I found in Old Delhi’s Mohalla Pahadi Imli in chawari bazaar’s chitli Qabar area. The guy makes fantastic gur ka thanda sharbat.

Here we will be making Panakam, a variant of our North Indian Sharbat. Panakam is made in South India during Ram Navmi and is an important Naivedyam. It is not just a summer cooler but it also brings down the body’s heat and stimulates the digestive system. A traditional remedy to prevent dehydration and heat strokes.

Each ingredient in this drink has a purpose and usually it should not be replaced with anything else. You can call it an ayurvedic energy booster.

Panakam / Paanakkam 

Ingredients :

Jaggery Powder or Grated Jaggery – 3 heaped table spoons

Dry Ginger powder – 1 teaspoon (You can use fresh ginger juice too)

Freshly crushed black peppercorns- 1/2 teaspoon

Green Cardamom – 3-4 crushed

Holy Basil or Tulsi leaves –  2-3

Salt –a pinch

Water – 2 Cups

Lemon (Optional) –   2-3 wheels slightly muddled

Ice Cubes

 

Steps –

Dissolve Jaggery powder or grated Jaggery in half cup of tepid water. I use tepid water to quicken the dissolving process.

Let it set for 15-20 minutes.

Crush dry ginger ( sonth) ( if using whole), black peppercorns ( kali mirch)  and green cardamom ( choti elaichi)

Once the jaggery dissolves completely, strain the liquid through a fine mesh to remove all impurities.

In a pitcher add rest of the water. Add the jaggery liquid, crushed spice mix, salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice if using.

Stir properly  and refrigerate. The flavours from the spices will slowly get infused in the sharbat.

Take it out just before serving and add lots of ice chunks or cubes.

You can either strain the sharbat or serve it as it is.

Garnish with lemon wheel, Tulsi leaf and green cardamom pods.

This needs to be served chilled.

 

  1. Adjust the sweetness with the quantity of jaggery. The sweetness will depend o nthe quality of gur used. Always prefer untreated, chemical free jaggery.
  2. You can add edible Kamphur too to make it taste like the original panakkum. I don’t prefer it.
  3. The amount of water used will determine the taste. Adjust spices, sweetness etc according to that.
  4. Always strain the jaggery liquid so no impurities remain.
  5. Pepper gives it a unique taste but do not over spice. Use in moderation.
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Cooking With Millets – Recipe – Jowar Ke Laddu ( Sorghum Flour Laddoo)


I have decided to do a few posts with one of the millets as a main ingredient. Millets were once part of our daily food routine but then the usage of these traditional grains slowly dwindled away as rice and wheat took over. With recent studies about rice especially polished rice and increase in gluten intolerance a lot of people are going back to cooking with millets like finger millet, pearl millet, sama etc.for healthy living. The humble grain that was always stereotyped as food for underprivileged is now making it to the health food racks of super stores. I am glad that for whatever reason ,at least the millets are back and it is a good sign. I am reading and learning more about them as I experiment more with each one.

Millets are far more nutrition dense than rice or wheat. One can pound/grind them into flour or pop them to make delicious dishes. Their use is not limited to make rotis or flatbread. They are rich in magnesium so a good choice for those with diabetics. They also have high levels of calcium, folic acid, dietary fiber, zinc, iron, B vitamins esp niacin and B6 among other things. Easy to digest, they can be eaten by all age groups.

I have started using millet flour for making pancakes, muffins, breads,  flatbread, dosa, laddus, idlis, paisam ( with sama) etc. The whole grains like bajra I use for khichadi, upma, Ragi ( finger millet) as a health drink in milk is one of my favorites. As I earlier said, the use of millets is not limited to rotis these days. I use mixed millet flour in winters to make theplas, rotis, bhakris etc.

Jowar flour ( sorghum flour) Laddus (laddoo)

Diwali is round the corner and I am making some healthy mithai these days in small quantity everyday. Today’s special is Jowar Laddoos or Sorghum flour laddoos. I used to make multi grain indian style granola or panjeeri every winter in large amount but now I make a little. I feel these laddus are more convenient to carry around and boys like them. Though the besan laddu remains a favorite  along with the wheat flour + green gram or moong bean laddu.

The good thing here is the use of unrefined organic jaggery granules which I bought from I Say Organics. Usually I use the organic flour too. Jaggery adds to the nutritive value along with dates, and a mixed bag of nuts, and seeds. You can add them as per your liking. Use of jaggery also ensures less use of fat 9 ghee) as binding agent so these are low-fat laddus.

You can use jowar pops and flour both for these. It take just about 15 minutes to make 10-15 laddus.You can use palm jaggery or the sugarcane jaggery. I use both depending on availability. The laddoos are good source of iron and that’s why highly recommended for women.

Ingredients:

Jowar ( Sorghum ) flour – 1/2 cup

Jaggery – 1/2 cup

dates –  chopped roughly 2 tablespoon

sesame seed (white ) 1 tablespoon

mixed nuts – walnuts, almonds, peanuts

Raisins – 1 tablespoon

Seeds – melon seeds or magaz – 1 tablespoon

Ghee – 2 -3 tablespoon

Method –

If you are using Jowar grains then you will need to pop them first. Heat a pan well and toss a handful of grains. Never crowd a pan for roasting grains. They won’t get roasted evenly and might get burnt too. A quarter cup of raw grain will give you a cup of popped grain so measure and use accordingly.

Alternately use the jowar flour which is easily available in winter all over India.

In a heavy bottom non stick pan dry roast the flour on slow heat. Never hurry with these things. Good dish requires patience and passion.

Once the flour starts to give out a roasted aroma and turns slightly brown remove it from the heat and keep aside.

Dry roast all the nuts and seeds separatly. Chop the dates roughly. If you are using jaggery blocks then grate or pound them a bit.

Now, In a grinder add the roasted nuts,seeds, raisins and dates and the jaggery. Grind till everything mixes into a smooth guey texture.

In a bowl , spoon the roasted jowar flour and this mixture. Mix it with your fingers. Actually rub it in.

Now heat the ghee. Once it is hot just pour it over the mixture and mix thoroughly. Quickly make lemon size balls and keep in a plate.

Your delicious power packed laddoos are ready. Let them cool and then enjoy the earthy flavours.

You can store them in air tight containers and eat one or two everyday. Children love it so encourage them to have these healthy sweets. You can carry them in your bag while travelling.

Enjoy something healthy this diwali. 

Twist Of Taste – Sweet Thalipeeth With Jaggery And Dates


I made three variants of thalipeeth yesterday . Today I remembered how we used to eat jawar(Sorghum), bajra(Pearl Millet) and makki(Corn) ki roti with gur and sometimes milk. We called it Churma.

Also the delicious puranpoli and the north Indian version gur ki roti made with coarse wheat flour and then I remembered making the sweet thalipeeth years ago. No one liked the taste of it in my in-laws’ Punjabi household so I ate the entire lot and never got a chance to make it again.

I find it very nutritious and savoury though it has a unique taste and if you condition yourself then it will be tad bit difficult to digest the fact that thalipeeth can be made sweet too 😀 I am sure there might be some original recipe for sweet thalipeeth but I am not aware of it so if you know one, please share.

I love its sweet, gooey, crunchy, biscuit like crumbly texture and find it full of robust flavours.

I tried it again today with fresh dates and organic jaggery powder ( shakkar). I also add dried figs, raisins etc. It all depends on my mood that day and availability of the ingredients.

The fun part is it is not fried like shakarparas or muthias we used to make at home.

The #Twistoftaste tag is inspired by Chef Vikas Khanna, that’s not my original term so all credits to him. 

Here is how I make sweet thalipeeth.

You can make a regular bhajani ( thalipeeth flour) minus the spices for this one.  Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Chickpeas(split), white Indian lentil ( split and skinned urad), and wheat all in equal measure. Dry roasted individually till they change color and a nice aroma starts coming. They are then mixed and ground till a fine flour is obtained.

To make Sweet Thalipeeth

Ingredients –

Bhajani or Thalipeeth flour – 1 cup

Jaggery or shakkar – 1/2 Cup

Soft Fresh Dates – de-seeded and cut finely

Raisins – 2 tablespoon

( you can substitute dates with dried figs or anything you desire)

Ghee / Clarified butter – just a little

You can add a few fennel seed for flavour.

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Method –

In a large plate mix the flour, jaggery powder or grated jaggery, raisins, finely chopped dates and mix. Now take warm water and slowly add it to the flour mix to make a smooth dough. It will be sticky, gooey and a little tricky so add water slowly and keep mixing and kneading with fingers.

Once the dough is properly made cut it into small balls. TT ball size if you want the thalipeeth small like I do or you can make them a little bigger too.

Put a non stick frying pan or a skillet on high flame and drop a little clarified butter in it.   Make small pancakes with the dough balls by either patting them with fingers between hands or with a rolling-pin. Apply a little warm ghee if it’s too sticky. make some cuts or small holes so that it cooks uniformly.

Carefully transfer the thalipeeth or pancake to the frying pan and cover it with lid. Keep the flame medium – low so the thalipeeth doesn’t burn and cook properly. Sweet will make it burn easily.

Flip it and brown it from the other side too. Brush a little ghee if it sticks to the pan. Handle gently as it will tend to break.

Once done take it out in a plate. If you like it warm and soft you can eat it with hot ghee or wait for sometime for it to cool and become a little firm. I like it biscuit like and store it in an airtight box in fridge. I warm it for a few sec on a skillet just to bring it to room temperature before eating. You can crush it and add hot milk and eat it from the bowl too. Depends how you enjoy it.

Let me know if you try this recipe and if you blog about it leave a link in the comment section.

Eat it when you feel the need for a snack. It is filling and healthy too.

Bon Appetit!