Paanakam – Another Summer Cooler

Usually in Tamilian weddings, as soon as the groom ties the mangalsutra, a sweet drink is offered to all the guests – paanakam. Earlier it would be just jaggery mixed with water and some cardamom powder but nowadays the all pervading sugar is used. Its made for Rama Navami and in several temples and homes its also served as a summer cooler.

For Rama Navami this year, I made the Paanakam with a twist ! Added Sabja seeds, lemon juice and a pinch of dry ginger powdered.

Paanakam - Summer Cooler
Paanakam with a twist

Paanakam as a Summer Cooler

Summers in Delhi NCR are harsh and rather than just drinking gallons of water its important to find interesting cooling drinks. The twist that I did to the paanakam made it into a summer cooler. The recipe I used is as follows –

Lemon: 3
Sabja seeds:1 TSP soaked in water for 10 to 15 minutes
Jaggery powder: 3 TSP 
Dry ginger powder - 1/2 TSP
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Water: 3 glasses

Mix all the ingredients till the jaggery powder dissolves. You can have it at room temperature or add an ice cube. 

You can also use cold water. Check out the Paanakam recipe on Raks Kitchen.

In one of the WhatsApp groups that I am a part of, someone posted that they would make Paanakam with Moong dal. Haven’t heard of it, but do share the recipe if some reader has it.

Benefits of Sabja Seeds

The Sabja seeds are raw basil seeds. These come from the sweet basil plant and not the holy Tulsi plant. When they are soaked in water, they become plump and translucent. When I was a child, Amma would give this to me everyday. I loved it just because of how it changed into translucent pearls.

I stopped having the Sabja seeds after we left from Dehu Road. Got re-introduced to them in 2008 when I met Vijaya Mami. Since then, we always have sabja seeds especially during summers.

Some of the benefits of Sabja seeds are –

  1. Its a good source of Minerals, especially Magnesium.
  2. Rich in flavonoids and polyphenols.
  3. Its a plant source of Omega-3

In India its used in “Faloodas”… that rich and decadent ice cream sundae thats so typically Indian.

My earlier post on another Summer cooler – Bael Sherbet.

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