Recipes: Sweet Aval or Poha

During the last Krishna Jayanthi festival, while I was speaking with my mum, she told me that Lord Krishna loves aval or poha which are flattened rice flakes and that I should include this dish when I make my neividhyam to the Lord. I had not made this recipe before so I asked her the recipe and this is what she told me. The result was a sweet dish which was not too rich and once that took me barely 15 minutes to make. All the ingredients are usually pantry staples, so if you are in a hurry and have these ingredients on hand, you can make a quick offering to God in 15 minutes or less. The colour of your dish will depend on your jaggery, so try and get the darkest jaggery you can find.

Sweet Aval or Poha


  • 1 cup aval or poha
  • ½ cup powdered jaggery
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 5-10 cashew nuts


  • Wash the poha well, drain and keep it aside
  • In a pan, heat the ghee and when the ghee heats up, fry the cashew nuts to a golden brown colour. Drain into a kitchen towel and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add the powdered jaggery and 1 tbsp of water and bring the jaggery to a nice rolling boil.
  • When the jaggery has completely melted, add in the washed and drained poha and mix well.
  • Add the cardamom powder and coconut and mix well.
  • Add in the fried cashew nuts, mix well and switch off the gas.
  • Remove to a serving dish and serve hot.

Note: I used organic powdered jaggery, so I didn’t have to strain it. If you are using the lump jaggery, chop enough to make ½ a cup and heat it with a tablespoon of water. Once the jaggery syrup has cooled down, strain it to remove any impurities and continue with the recipe.

Recipes: Traditional South Indian Summer Coolers – Panakam

It’s been really hot these days here in Singapore and the week before last, when the festival of Ram Navami came around, I was really happy to make this traditional cooler as an offering to the Lord. This along with another summer drink called Neer Mor is traditionally offered as neividhyam or offering.

As I’ve previously mentioned, Ram Navami almost always came during the fag end of our annual exams back in India and was never really celebrated with pomp in our home, but my mum always used to make these coolers, which as a child, I rarely appreciated. As an adult, I love this drink and look for opportunities to make it.

The ingredients in this no cook drink probably are there for a reason. In the summer months, it is excessively hot in South India and each of these ingredients are meant to reintroduce sugar and hydrate you. Panakam brings down body heat and helps in preventing the human body from chicken pox in the summer. Jaggery purifies the blood, and is rich in iron, magnesium and anti-oxidants. Cardamom and ginger aid digestion, while lemon is rich in Vitamin-C and B-complex.



  • 1 cup chopped jaggery
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (saunth)
  • 1/2 tsp julienned ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp rock or pink Himalayan salt


  • Finely chop the jaggery and keep it in a large pan. Pour around 1 cup of medium warm water into the jaggery and let the jaggery melt.
  • If you feel that the jaggery has impurities, then strain the melted jaggery into a jug.
  • To the strained jaggery, add the remaining ingredients and then pour in the cold water.
  • You can play around with the ingredients, adding more or less, depending on your taste.
  • Serve cold. This really hits the spot on a warm summer day.


  • Do not substitute jaggery for sugar. At a pinch, perhaps palm sugar may work, but the taste would not be the same as the panakam made with jaggery.
  • Use the darkest coloured jaggery you can find, because the colour of the drink is completely dependent on the colour of the jaggery used.