Panchamrutham is a sacred and traditional sweet offering in Hindu religious rituals, particularly in temple worship and festivals. A quick, no-cook sweet dish often made for morning prayers to serve as prasad or neivedhyam on auspicious days such as Vijayadashami, Diwali etc.
Ideal healthy sweet dish to make at home when you don't want to guilt trip your guests to indulge in a large piece of frosted cake! Panjamrutham is the best way to go as the serving portion size is very small yet satisfies the sweet tooth.
In traditional Hindu religion Food offered to the deity is called neivedya, for the pooja (prayer).This offering is regarded as pure and sacred. After the rituals are performed it is distributed to the devotees known as prasad or bhog.
The Panchamrutham recipe given below is an ancient recipe made in my family for generations. The name comes from the Sanskrit word pancha meaning five and amrutham meaning nectar.
Five nectars in panchamrutham are fruit, dates, jaggery, honey and ghee. Jaggery and rock candy/ kalkandam add more sweetness and volume to the prasadam. Camphor and cardamom add aroma and flavor they elevate this special dessert to the next level making it divine. Truly fit for serving to the God.
The recipe may vary from region to region as per the ingredients availability. While the dairy based panchamruthams are made for idol worship(abhishekam) in some regions in others the panchamrutham is used as neivedhayam and given as prasadams to devotees. This contains more of NUTRIENT RICH super food as ingredients. This recipe of panchamrutham is made in most South Indian homes during traditional festivals. Remember prasadam is made very sweet hence served only in very small quantities. One or two spoons only.
Palani Sri Murgan temple, in Tamil Nadu, India, is world famous for serving the best panchamrutham prasadam made with the finest ingredients. It stays fresh for months without refrigeration. Consume this prasadam in empty stomach( a teaspoon only) in the morning after bath and prayers. This rejuvenates the body and mind.
The panchamrutham is made to satisfy your five senses too. Your eyes, mouth, feel -visually rich and appealing sweet taste with various textures blended into one. Your nose will love the aroma of cardamom and camphor. Ears hear the crushing of rocky candy while eating.
Ingredients and Health benefits :
If you were to look at this immune boosting super food mix scientifically provided it is consumed empty stomach in the morning. Ghee coats the inner lining of your stomach acting as a barrier there by help in regenerating new cells, dates, raisins etc add iron and fibre. Honey soothes your throat and stomach and banana of course aids in digestion.
It is soft and crunchy melt in the mouth very sweet dish - As the saying goes amruthams are not to be over indulged in hence serve very little only!
- Banana - Manzano banana variety is used here.Traditionally kadali,rasakadali,poovan pazham or njalipoovan varieties are used . Tart varieties and bananas with more water content are avoided. Small yellow banana / cherupazham, robusta, Cavendish, macho etc are avoided for this recipe. Banana is rich in potassium and a good mood booster.
- Dates - Potassium, magnesium and iron. It improves the hemoglobin count in blood.
- Rasins - Have antioxidant properties. A natural remedy for insomnia, can aid digestion, boost iron levels.
- Honey - lower blood pressure, improve blood fat levels, regulate your heartbeat, and prevent the death of healthy cells. All this improves heart function
- Jaggery- Pure jaggery is rich in iron and anti oxidants, Reduces Menstrual cramps Palm jaggery produces happy hormones, which help relieve mood swings and menstrual pain.
- Ghee- ghee is an excellent source of butyrate, the short-chain fatty acid that is crucial to maintaining optimal digestive health. Butyrate provides energy for the cells in the colon, helps support gut barrier function and fights off inflammation.
- Rock candy / kalkandam -Pure sourced rock candy is an excellent throat soother.
- Cardamom - The sweet aromatic spice that has cooling properties and acts as a breath fresher too.
- Edible camphor - Effective decongestant, induces stomach fire aiding in digestion, body odor fighting, cools nervous system etc are just a few of its uses. More info here
Steps pics for making panchamrutham :
For best results use fresh ingredients.Simply mix all the ingredients as much mashed as you want. I recommend leaving banana as such as too much mashed can turn the panchamrutham into a gloopy blob. Unidentifiable ingredients may not be appetizing unless it is a fruit jam.
Pure panchamrutham ingredients and origins :
The finest ingredients were procured locally and internationally in the olden times for religious worship
- Banana - Traditionally cultivated kadali,rasakadali,poovan pazham or njalipoovan varieties are used. (Sweet variety with least water content more of powdery texture.)
- Dates - Organic Afghan dates were used. Definitely brought by the sea route traders to South India in the olden times.
- Rasins - Dried black grapes with seeds were used. Again introduced to the natives by the invaders from Afghan and Iran in the 1300 AD
- Honey - A rare variety of honey procured from stingless bee hives. These bees feast on wild flowers. This is called cheruthen.
- Jaggery- Pure jaggery in the olden times was made from the thickening of palm sap molasses.
- Ghee- Ghee made from a specific local short variety of cow called Vechur pashu. The high fat content and medicinal properties make it most sort after.
- Rock candy / kalkandam -In the olden days, the sap from the shoot of palm trees was cooked and left to harden for 40 days. When fully crystalized it's preserved for medicinal purposes for years without any preservative.
- Cardamom - Kerala is known to produce the best cardamom in the world. It is grown in the hummus rich soil of mountains regions and Western Ghats.
- Edible camphor /kapur or karpooram - The kapur trees are found in evergreen forests of Agasthyamalai phyto-geographical region of southern Western Ghats. Edible camphor is obtained by a simple yet laborious distillation process from boiling the ground tree trunk.
Serving and storage:
Serve - Serve 1 tsp per head of panchamrutham in the palm as prasad (palm of the right hand only) or on a small piece of banana leaf. A dollop on top of vanilla ice cream would also taste superb. For prasadam a savory protein rich legume dish is also made along with this to balance the flavors called sundal. A large scoop of sundal is also goes along with the sweet serving. Here I have made peanut sundal.
Storage - Leftovers are good for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Simply mix and bring it to room temperature before serving.
Make ahead - Fresh is best. You may gather all the ingredients measure and keep it ready, cut the dates and keep it ready ahead of time but mix fresh for best tasting panchamrutham.
Other pooja prasadams that are popular on this blog:
- 3 Banana use raskathali,poovan pazham or njalipoovan
- 5-6 Dates - chopped
- 1-2 tbsp Raisins yellow and black
- 2 tbsp Jaggery powdered Sharkara
- 1 tbsp Honey
- small pinch Edible Camphor pacha karpooram - a small pinch(optional)
- 2-3 pods Cardamom freshly powdered
- 1-2 tbsp Ghee
- 2-3 tsp Rock candy Kalkandam
- Mix all the ingredients together and cut the banana and add and mix gently. If you like the banana pieces completely mashed then mix well until mashed.
- Transfer into the bowl used for prasadams for prayer. Do the pooja (offer to the lord) then serve one spoon per head.
A delicious panchamrutham recipe you have got to try.