It’s amazing how we Indians offer so much to the gods and goddesses during festivals, which are equally delicious and healthy for human consumption. One such drink is this panakam – a special cooling drink from South Indian cuisine, popularly made during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami. As this festival mainly falls in the summer season, pankam recipe is really a good choice to beat the extreme heat during Indian summer.
What is Pankam?
Synonymous with the religious festival of Ram Navami in India, Panakam (Telugu), also known as Panagam (Tamil) or Panaka (Kannada), is a simple, refreshing and cooling drink from the food culture of South India.
Pankam recipes usually contain a molasses sweetened water with a hint of tang from lemon juice and flavored with spices such as ginger powder (ginger), green cardamom powder and black pepper powder.
When offered to Lord Rama during this festival, the addition of tulsi pata (holy basil leaves) also adds a signature flavor to it.
Traditionally, Panakam is first made as an offering to Lord Rama and then distributed to the devotees as Prasadam.
The method of preparing it is really simple and it can be made at home anytime. Due to the ingredients in it, the drink acts as a coolant for the body and thus, it is the perfect summer drink when served chilled or with some ice cubes.
Pankam recipe is super easy and you don’t really need to do much to prepare it. Soak the jaggery in water till it dissolves completely and then keep adding the rest of the ingredients like lemon juice, masala powder and salt.
Along with tulsi leaves, you can also add some edible camphor to it if you offer it to the deities.
In this pankam recipe, you can always change the amount of water, lemon juice and masala powder as per your requirement. During the Ram Navami festival, this drink along with Kosambari and Neer More is a popular offering to Lord Sri Rama.
Pankam recipe is so hassle free that it is done in 10 minutes. You really don’t have to rack your brain about preparing the same. You can chill the drink in the fridge when serving it to your family or friends.
As I said earlier, if preparing for Ram Navami or any other festival, you can add some tulsi patta (holy basil leaves) along with edible camphor in panakam recipe.
Homemade cool drinks like this Pankam are much more nutritious and better than soft drinks. There are no chemical flavors, preservatives or additives in such drinks. Thus, making them an absolutely healthy choice for human consumption.
Step by step guide
How to make Pankam
1. In a bowl, take ½ cup chopped jaggery and 2 cups water. You can add water as needed.
2. Mix very well and soak jaggery in water for 30 to 40 minutes or until all dissolved. If the molasses contains impurities, strain the solution.
3. Then, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or the juice of 1 medium lemon.
4. Next, add ¼ teaspoon of dry ginger powder (powdered ginger).
5. Then, add ⅓ to ½ teaspoon of green cardamom powder.
6. Add a pinch of edible camphor. You can add edible camphor if panakam is offered to deities. Edible camphor is optional and can be omitted.
7. Next, add ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper powder.
8. Add a pinch of salt.
9. Mix very well.
10. Offer pankama to the deities. While offering to the deities, you can add a few holy tulsi leaves (tulsi leaves) to it.
If serving to your family and friends, you can refrigerate or add some ice cubes to it.
- Molasses: If the molasses you have made contains impurities, you will need to filter the solution. You can swap jaggery with date jaggery but not sugar.
- Change: You can adjust the amount of water, spice powder and lemon juice as per your preference and requirement.
- Optional Ingredients: Edible camphor and tulsi leaves can be added to this drink, while offering to the deities. Otherwise, they are optional and can be skipped
- Quality ingredients: Use best quality and unused ingredients while offering this jaggery drink to the deities.
- Change: A variation of Pankam drink is made with tamarind. So swap lemon with 1 tsp tamarind (or as required). Remember to soak the tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes before extracting the juice and pulp.
- Scaling: You can easily scale this simple recipe by increasing or decreasing the ingredients proportionally.
More Indian summer drinks to try!
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Pankam Recipe | Pangam Recipe (molasses water)
Panakam also known as Panagam or Panaka is a traditional cooling drink of South India and is especially prepared during the festival of Sri Ram Navami. Pankam is very easy to prepare and is made with lemon juice, jaggery, ginger powder, green cardamom powder and black pepper.
Q. Time 10 minutes
total time 10 minutes
Prevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe
Take chopped jaggery and water in a bowl.
- Mix very well and soak jaggery in water for 30 to 40 minutes until it all dissolves. If the molasses contains impurities, filter the solution through a fine sieve.
Add lemon juice.
Then add ginger powder, green cardamom powder, black pepper powder and salt.
Yo can also add a pinch of edible camphor. Edible camphor can be added when offering panakam to the deities.
Mix very well.
- Offer pankama to the deities. If offering to the deities, you can add a few holy tulsi leaves (tulsi leaves) to the panakam. If serving to your family and friends, you can refrigerate or add some ice cubes to the panakam.
- You can add more or less water as needed.
- Make sure you use fresh lemons to extract the juice and not bottled lemon juice.
- Edible camphor is optional and can be omitted. If you don’t have basil leaves, you can skip it.
- You can add more or less jaggery as per your preference.
- You can also use date jaggery instead of jaggery.
- Pankam recipe can be easily scaled according to your needs.
Pankam Recipe | Pangam Recipe (molasses water)
No. per job
calories 144 9 calories from fat
% Daily Value*
thick 1 gram2%
1 gram of saturated fat6%
1 gram of polyunsaturated fat
1 gram of monounsaturated fat
Sodium 105 mg5%
potassium 16 mg0%
carbohydrates 35 grams12%
1 gram of fiber4%
34 grams of sugar38%
protein 1 gram2%
Vitamin A 1 IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1 mg67%
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 1 mg5%
Vitamin B6 1 mg50%
Vitamin C 4 mg5%
Vitamin E 1 mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
calcium 18 mg2%
Vitamin B9 (folate) 2 µg1%
iron 1 mg6%
magnesium 3 mg1%
Phosphorus 2 mg0%
zinc 1 mg7%
* Percent Daily Value is based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This pankam recipe has been updated from the archive first published in April 2017 and republished in March 2023.