Paanagam or Paanakam – A traditional Health Drink

Paanagam in Sanskrit means Sweet Drink. It is offered as ‘neivedhyam’ or ‘prasaad’ to Lord Rama on his birthday – Raama Navami, that is celebrated on the 9th day [ Navami ] of the Chaithra Month of the hindus.
It can be made very quickly in easy steps [ just add & stir] and devoured even more quickly [ sip,sip,sip…]. Paanagam has great health benefits and tastes divine. Jaggery is rich in mineral salts and iron which help in strengthening the nervous system and preventing anemia.
Dried ginger powder or sukku as it is known in Tamil Nadu aids in digestion and its intake benefits people of all ages.

On the whole a very soothing and refreshing drink for summer.

Ingredients:

Jaggery – 1/2 Cup grated
Dried Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamon – 1/4 tsp
Salt – a Pinch
Lime – 1/2
Pachai Karpooram/ edible camphor. – a small pinch
Water – 3 cups

Method :
Add jaggery to water with rest of the ingredients.
Squeeze in the Lime.
Stir continuously till jaggery dissolves completely.
Strain and serve chill.

Tips:
Adjust quantity of lime and jaggery to suit your taste buds, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
If you feel the jaggery is not clean enough, you can mix it with water bring it to a boil, strain and mix rest of the ingredients after cooling.

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Fillings for Sandwiches

Sweet fillings:

For sweet sandwiches the normal everyday fillings include butter, jam and marmalade [ all flavors]
You could try adding dry fruits like chopped dates, walnuts, grated badam and kismis to the sweet sandwiches to add nutritional value.
Honey makes a wonderful sandwich spread for those who want to cut out on sugar and would like to experiment.
For those of you who like fruits you can also try placing soft fruits like thinly sliced kiwi, lichis and strawberries after coating the slices with honey.
Run out of jam and your kid insists on having sandwiches? Your saviour could be Milkmaid. Just apply a good coating of milkmaid on to the slices and watch them being devoured.

Savory Filling

Sliced vegetables like tomato, cucumber, onion and grated carrot make for great sandwich fillings. Coat two slices of bread with butter, place a slice of cheese on one and cover with vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper powder and cover with the second slice.your veggie sandwich is ready to be consumed. Add salt if required only, since the cheese slice would have a good amount of salt.

Mayonnaise, mustard and cheese are other ingredients that are commonly used as sandwich spreads.

Indian Chutneys are a hot favorite as sandwich fillings. Spicy chutneys can serve as a good base to make the sandwiches flavorful and tasty.

Mint Chutney
Mint + green chillies + salt + lime juice ground together as a thick paste makes an excellent base.
Mint can be substituted with Coriander too.

Tomato Chutney:
Fry finely chopped onions till they are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and a little bit of saunf and saute for a while. A garlic pod is optional and can be added to get he extra flavour.Add salt and chilli powder as per requirement. Cool and grind together into a fine paste without adding water and your filling is ready.

Potato Filling:
Boil and mash potatoes. Chop onions finely and fry till translucent. Add mashed potatoes, salt, garam masala powder and chilli powder and mix well. Garnish with finely chopped coriander. Take a slice of bread and coat it thinly with butter. Spread the potato mash on this and place the second slice covering this. Gently press and toast it. Or place on a hot tawa, add a blob of butter and turn it carefully around on low flame till becomes golden brown. Slice into pieces and serve hot with tomato sauce.

Onion fry:
Slice onions thinly lengthwise. Chop garlic finely. Heat oil add onion + garlic + salt + chilli powder and fry in low flame till the onions become golden brown and shrink in quantity. Need to ensure that the onions do not burn. Lightly butter bread slices and place this filling in between to get real spicy and differently tasting sandwiches.

Quick Fix filling:
Unacceptable as it may sound pickles at home make great fillers when you run short of regular spreads. Toast bread slices,coat them with a thin layer of butter and spread a nice layer of any pickle [ that is smooth without too many chunky pieces to it] on two slices. Press them together, dip in tomato sauce and bite into one of the yummiest sandwiches you have ever made.

Tips for Presentation:
Always coat the slices with a thin layer of butter and then spread your filling. This prevents the sandwiches from turning too soggy.
Always butter the sandwiches till the edges.
Always trim the crusts after the filling is done and before you cut it into required portions, squares or triangles.
Always ensure that the finished sandwiches are wrapped well to keep them fresh & prevent them from drying and crumbling.

Sandwich – Make over Tips

Sandwiches are easy to make and offer great scope for variety and improvisation in terms of flavor, fillings, taste and cooking methods. Here are a few tips that might come in handy to make better sandwiches.

Always use fresh bread. Never compromise on quality. For fancy sandwiches it is better if the bread is a day old or refrigerated for a few hours. Ensure the slices are thinly cut.
Experiment using variety of breads – Milk / Wheat / Fruit Loaves / Brown & Whole Wheat Bread.
Always ensure that the butter is at room temperature. It helps in spreading evenly. You can also mix it in a small bowl before spreading it on the slice.
If the crusts / edges are too thick or crisp cut them out.
Always cut finished sandwiches with a sharp or serrated knife.
Ensure butter , mayonnaise and other fillings are spread till the edges.
When you are making multi – layered sandwiches hold them in place by means of tooth picks or skewers.
When a variety of sandwiches are being made wrap them separately in aluminium foil to avoid mixing up aromas and flavours.
Fold the foil or wax paper well at the edges to keep them fresh and nice.

ABC – The Miracle Drink

With the onset of summer constant consumption of liquids is a must to keep the body hydrated. Fruit juices without additives like sugar or preservatives is most ideal. Given below is the recipe that promises you the best of health and taste.The ABC drink – a flavorful concoction of Apple, Beetroot & Carrot juice.

Health Benefits:
Researchers claim that constant intake of this juice will help prevent cancer, blood pressure and diseases of the kidney and liver.
Improves eyesight and helps relieve bad breath.
Helps strengthen Immune system
Eliminates Constipation
Helps to achieve healthy and glowing skin.

Ingredients:
Apple – 1
Carrot – 1
Beetroot – 1 small
Honey – to taste
Pepper powder – as required
Salt – a pinch
Crushed Ice

Method:
Peel the skin off the carrot & and beetroot and cut them into small pieces.
Combine these with sliced apple and blend well in a mixer to get a smooth liquid. Add water if required
Strain and add honey, salt & pepper powder as per taste.
Add crushed ice and serve.

Secret of Perfect Pooris

Ever wondered why your pooris went flat when you wanted to present your guests with the perfect looking ones?
For getting those round puffed up pooris, the trick is to add some yogurt and sugar to the dough !

Ingredients:
Wholewheat flour – 1 1/2 Cup
Fine semolina – 1 tlbsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Yogurt – 1 tlbsp
Warmed oil . – 1 tlbsp

Method:
Mix all ingredients and knead into a very firm dough with lukewarm water.
Cover and keep in a cool place till ready to be fried. [ Usually for about an hour]
Never use dry flour to roll out pooris .
It burns black in the heated oil and coats the pooris .
A little touch of oil usually is enough to roll out the pooris .
Fry in hot oil till puffed up and golden brown in color.

Potato Bhaaji

This potato bhaaji is extremely flavorful yet quick to make. Makes an ideal side dish for Pooris.The amount of seasoning you add will depend on the quantity of potatoes needed and the spice levels that you require.

Method:
Boil and cube potatoes .
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan and temper with mustard seeds , asafoetida , dried red chillies , curry leaves ,turmeric powder .
Add the potato cubes and keep turning over to coat all cubes with the seasoning.
Add some ginger paste , a touch of red chilli powder and salt to taste.
Serve warm, garnished with freshly grated coconut and finely chopped fresh coriander.

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey

Quick Cucumber salad

Healthy and delicious this simple salad can be had as a snack or as an accompaniment with a lunch or dinner menu.

Method:
Grate cucumbers
Add coarsely ground roasted peanuts , finely chopped coriander leaves,and some green chillies (if you like)
Add the following to taste : lemon juice, roasted cumin powder, salt and a pinch of sugar
Heat about a tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter
Turn off the stove and add curry leaves and pieces of red chilli and a sprinkle of asafoetida
Pour over the cucumber mixture
To be served at room temperature

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey