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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rama Navami Neivedhyam - Paanagam, Neer Mor & Vada Paruppu

"श्री राम राम रामेति रमे रामे मनोरमे
सहस्र नाम ततुल्लयं राम नाम वरानने"

During one of our summer trips to India, we happened to be in Bombay (in my head it is still Bombay, not Mumbai!) for Janmashtami. We have a tradition of fasting till evening and offering neivedhyam to baby Krishna after reciting the Vishnu Sahasranamam. That year, my father - in - law explained the meaning of  a few lines from the shloka. Goddess Parvati asked the Lord if there is any easier/shorter way of gaining the benefits of chanting the Sahasranama as it may be difficult to recite the whole thing everyday. To this, the Lord replies with the aforementioned lines. The essence of this shloka is that chanting "Rama" just thrice  is equivalent to reciting the thousand names of Vishnu. Such is the power of Rama.

This has been a week of celebrations and festivities on consecutive days - first was hubby's birthday - so I baked cupcakes, the next day was Tamil New Year followed by Vishu Kani, so pigged out on vadai & paayasam! Yesterday was Rama Navami, but guess what, the neivedhyam for this occassion is pretty tummy friendly!

I made paanagam - which is a cool and refreshing thirst quenching drink - sweet and sour - perfect for the rise in temperature, neer mor - which is seasoned buttermilk, again chilled but a tad spicy and finally vadaparuppu - which I guess can be called a protein rich salad ;)

Usually, neivedhyams are rich in ghee and oil - sweets and fried stuff! This is one of those rare occasions when the neivedhyam has health benefits!

Paanagam is as good as an ORS solution - move over Gatorade and electrolyte, we have our own home made version!! In fact, when consumed along with vada paruppu, it supposedly aids in digestion. For that matter, so does neer moru - it is a South Indian version of the salty lassi and is often prepared on a regular basis and served at the end of dinner. It also helps with acidity. And hey guys - its yogurt (read PROBIOTICS) - need I say more?

So, without further ado, here are the three recipes.

Soaking Time: 30 minutes            Preparation: 15 minutes          Serves:4


For Paanagam:

Jaggery (Gur/vellam) - 1/4th cup, grated
Chilled water - 4 cups
Dry Ginger Powder (Saunth/Sukku podi) - 1/4th teaspoon
Cardamom pods  (Elaichi/Elakai) - 4
Holy Basil Leaves (Thulsi/Tulasi) - 4
Lemon - 1, juiced

For Vada Paruppu:

Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)  - 1 cup
Green Chillie - 1, small, chopped fine
Raw Mango - 2 tablespoons, chopped fine
Cucumber - 2 tablespoons, chopped fine
Ginger - 1/4thinch, chopped fine
Coconut - 1 tablespoon, grated
Cilantro - for garnish, finely chopped
Lemon - ½, juiced
Asafoetida (Heeng/Perunkayam) - a pinch
Salt - to taste

For Neer Mor:

Yogurt  - 1 cup
Chilled Water - 2 cups
Green Chillies - 1, small
Ginger - 1/4thinch
Roasted Cumin Powder (Jeera Powder) - ½ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - for garnish, finely chopped
For Tempering:
Oil - ½ teaspoon 
Mustard Seeds - ½ teaspoon
Curry Leaves - a few
Asafoetida (Heeng/Perunkayam) - a pinch


For Paanagam:

  1. Take the jaggery in a bowl and add the chilled water to it. Stir till all the jaggery dissolves and then filter out the impurities from the jaggery.
  2. Add in the dry ginger powder, cardamom pods and lemon juice, mix well and refrigerate.
For Vada Paruppu:
  1. Rinse and soak the moong dal for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add in all the other ingredients (raw mango, cucumber, chillies, ginger, coconut, cilantro, asafoetida, salt and lemon juice) and mix well.
For Neer Mor:
  1. Take yogurt, green chillies and ginger in a blender and give it a good swirl till the yogurt is well beaten.The chillies and ginger will also be coarsely ground by then.
  2. Add in water, roasted cumin powder, salt and cilantro leaves and give a quick whisk once more.
  3. Heat a little oil and add in the mustard seeds.
  4. Once the muster seeds crackle, add in the curry leaves and asafoetida and pour this tempering into the yogurt mixture.
  5. Mix well and refrigerate.

Offer neivedhyam and enjoy the prasadam...


You can add a bit of pachai karpooram to the paanagam if you desire.
For the neer mor, you can just blend in the  yogurt and water with a hand whisk, slit a green chillie and skip the roasted cumin powder if you wish.