Panakam or Panagam is a lemon & jaggery based drink made as a neivedhyam or prasad for Sri Rama Navami & other festivals. Panakam is also a great summer cooler & thirst quencher during the hot summer days.
I make panakam on other festive occasions like Tamil New Year, Varalakshmi Vratham, and Navratri as only jaggery based dishes are most commonly made for neivedhyam.
In my native place, the ‘Chitthirai Thiruvizha’ is celebrated with much fanfare, especially the 'Chithra Pournami' which falls in the Tamil month of Chitthirai is very auspicious as the "Ther" function is held on that day.
All the people from the four "Mada" streets around the temple would volunteer in making this "Panakam" and "Kanji" on this day to serve the devotees who visit the temple on this day.
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We kids back then used to have a field day and would fill ourselves with several cups of this panakam and kanji that we would skip breakfast & lunch on that day.
At night, on the big grounds next to the temple, they will screen old devotional Tamil films, giving us the feel of today's open-air drive-in theatre.
The kids would fall asleep during the course of the movies, and we can see the elders carrying their sleepy kids on their shoulders heading home after the screening.
The grounds were surrounded by lots of neem trees that would keep us all cool, preventing the heat and humidity of the hot summer months of April & May.
Those were nostalgic times that I got to cherish to last me a lifetime.
Using jaggery in drinks during the summer reduces the tiredness and refreshes you instantly.
Jaggery is also a rich source of iron. When you combine jaggery with lemon, your body absorbs both iron and vitamin C immediately.
The cardamoms, edible camphor and dry ginger powder used to make panakam improve digestion greatly.
Lemons: I used well ripe lemons to make panakam. Using semi-ripe lemons or lime will give a bitter taste to the juice.
Jaggery: I have used jaggery to make this panagam. But you can also use sugar, cane sugar, palm sugar or honey.
Spices: The spices used are what make panakam irresistible. I have used cardamom, edible camphor, dry ginger powder and a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness.
Other ingredients: I have added fresh neem flowers and tulsi leaves, but you can totally skip them if you do not have them on hand.
Simply mix everything together and pass through a sieve and serve as such or chilled. See the detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
You can also use sugar or honey or any sweetener of your choice instead of using jaggery when having as a drink to quench your thirst.
The quantity of sweetener added will depend on how sour the lemons are. So do a taste check before drinking and increase jaggery or lemon juice according to your preference.
This panakam recipe is
- Nut Free
- Zero Oil / Oil-Free
Any citrus fruit works well to make panakam. You can use oranges, pineapple, sweet lime (sathukudi or mosambi) & citron (narthangai). Just make sure to use the fruits that are ripe for the best-tasting panakam.
You can use any sweetener of your choice, or you can also totally skip it as well.
Make a big jar of panakam & keep it refrigerated to sip on it throughout the day to feel refreshed instantly on hot days. It is best if you can make it fresh every day.
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Panakam Recipe - Panagam Recipe
- 2 large lemons
- 4 cups water
- ½ to ¾ cup grated jaggery
- 2 green cardamoms crushed
- 1 pinch edible camphor or pachcha karpooram
- ¼ teaspoon dry ginger powder or sukku podi
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh neem flowers or veppampoo
- few tulsi leaves
- Take water in a vessel or jar and add jaggery to it. Mix well for the jaggery to dissolve completely, and pass it through a sieve to filter out any impurities.
- Squeeze in the lemons into the jaggery sweetened water. Add cardamom, edible camphor, dry ginger powder, salt, neem flowers, tulsi leaves and mix well.
- Check for taste and add more lemon juice or jaggery to suit your preference.
- Serve this panakam immediately or chilled in tall glasses.
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