April 18, 2013
A variety of cool drinks made with tart fruits and leaves and fermented drinks called kanjikas made from cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, leaves and roots are described in Bhojana Kuthuhalam.
Cool drinks prepared with the addition of sugar, spices, tart liquids such as lemon juice, tamarind juice and yogurt are called panaka.
Pure sugar dissolved in cool water with the addition of cardamom, cloves, edible camphor and pepper is called sarkarodaka. It is light, cool and tasty, imparts taste and is strengthening.
Six parts of sarkarodaka mixed with one part of lemon juice is considered the best among cool drinks. It is called nimbuphala panaka and it imparts taste and helps digest all types of food.
It is said that the legendary hero Bhima of Mahabharata is said to have first prepared this strength giving drink prapanaka. Raw mango is boiled in water and squeezed tightly by hand. This liquid is mixed with sarkarodaka to make prapanaka.
Ripe tamarind is mixed with water and squeezed. The liquid extracted this way is mixed with sugar, edible camphor, cloves and black pepper to make amlikaphala panaka. This cool drink alleviates vata and stimulates digestion.
Coriander leaves macerated thoroughly on a stone and filtered through a cloth is mixed with sarkarodaka. This is called dhaniya panaka is excellent for alleviating pitha.
Very sour thick yogurt prepared preferably from buffalo milk is mixed with one fourth quantity of water and strained through a pure cloth into an earthenware pot. Fried asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and salt are stirred into it to make takrapanaka from buttermilk. This drink cures abdominal disorders and nourishes the body.
Cereal and legume kanjikas:
The liquid from cooked cereals or vegetables when allowed to ferment is called kanjika. It is hot and light and imparts taste. It favors good digestion and alleviates diseases of the stomach.
Kanjika prepared with fried balls of ground urad dal is said to be superior in its properties.
Raw barley with husk is cut into small pieces and gruel is prepared and allowed to ferment. It is called tusodaka. It is cordial and stimulates digestive fire.
When gruel is prepared from de-husked barley it is called sauvira. It is recommended for body ache and poor digestion.
Gruel made with de-husked wheat when fermented is called aranala.It is similar to sauvira in properties.
Fermented gruel prepared from rice flour or a variety of millet called kodrava (Paspalum scrobiculatum) is called dhanyamla. It is light and nourishing.
Fruit, vegetable, leaf and root kanjikas
Unripe mango is ground along with water, mustard and salt. It is strained through a clean cloth and garnished with fried asafoetida. It is called jhali. This drink clears the throat and when drunk slowly imparts taste and stimulates digestion.
Juice extracted from the leaves of radish is mixed with mustard and allowed to ferment. This kanjika is called sandaki. It may also be prepared by mixing juice extracted from mustard leaves with rice flour and allowed to ferment. It is heavy but imparts good taste.
Sukta is gruel made by fermenting the gruel made with root vegetables or fruits. Salt and oil should be added to it before consumption.
Katika is an exotic drink made with buttermilk, butter, ten different spices, three types of fruits, rock salt and elemental pure sulphur. It is considered very wholesome. The spices include black pepper, wild pepper, dry ginger, long pepper, roots of long pepper, asafoetida, coriander, cumin and rosy leadwort flower (plumbago indica L). The three fruits are black myrobalan, pomegranate and Indian gooseberry. To prepare this drink grind all the spices and fruits along with sulphur and rock salt. Mix it with butter and stir into buttermilk. Boil the buttermilk for ten minutes and then remove from the fire. Cool and serve.
Achaya, K.T. Indian Food: A Historical Companion. Oxford University Press 1994
Pillai Suranad Kunjan (Ed/Pub) Bhojanakuthuhala of Raghunatha Suri, Part One, University Manuscript Library, Trivandrum, Sanskrit Series No: 178. University of Travancore 1956.