It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition. -Henry James
Within hours of giving birth to Little Mirchi I remember my mom arriving with a tiffin box filled with homemade food, lactation tea, warm milk and homemade Panjiri. Those first few weeks were rough and I was so lucky to have my Mom by my side to help, support and feed
me us. Every morning while making tea for herself she would insist I start the day by drinking a warm cup of milk with a healthy serving of her Panjiri.
Panjiri is nutritious mix with its origins in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s comprised of dry fruits, nuts and spices and is considered a “superfood” while a new mom is recovering after giving birth when she needs to regain her strength and energy for her new born baby. The ingredients help to promote circulatory and lymphatic flow (breastmilk production) and help clear the uterus and excess fluid from the mother’s body after birth. Panjiri is a common snack in Northern India during the winter months to help warm the body and aid in aches and pains.
Like many age-old family recipes, there are many variations for panjiri, with each family having their own unique blend of spices. During my Moms last visit I asked her to make a new batch for us, to last through the winter months. I give a small spoon of Pinjiri to Little Mirchi (now 20 months) every few days. She loves the nutty minty taste and I love knowing that it will help keep her warm.
Note: If you are not nursing and/or plan on giving this to children leave out the Gum Arabica (the ingredient that helps the uterus contract, assisting in healing).
All ingredients should be readily available at your local Indian grocery store.
1/2 cup ghee or butter
1/3 cup makhana (puffed lotus seeds)
1/4 cup char magaz (melon seeds), dry roasted
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed powder
1 cup brown sugar or ground coarsely gud
1 cup unsalted almonds, dry roasted
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, dry roasted
1/4 cup unsalted cashews, dry roasted
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon ajwain (carom seed), dry roasted
1 teaspoon elaichi (cardamom)
1 teaspoon sounf (fennel seed)
2 tablespoon gond/ gaund (gum arabica/edible gum crystals) –only if preparing for postpartum use.
In a coffee or spice grinder coarsely grind the nuts, ajwain, sounf, elaichi and char magaz. Set aside.
In a deep pan on medium heat, melt the ghee or butter. Once hot add the gond (gum crystals) and fry, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Once the crystals puff up, remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside on paper towel. In the same ghee/butter, fry the makhana until golden in color. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside on paper towel. Once cooled, grind both the gond and makhana to coarse powder and set aside.
In the same ghee/butter used above, add the whole wheat flour and flaxseed powder. Stir continuously and cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture is pale golden in color and looks like damp sand. When the flour and ground flaxseed powder are fully roasted, add all the other ingredients. Mix well and turn off the heat.
Allow the Panjiri to cool to room temperature before serving. (If serving to a new mother, serve with a warm glass of milk.) Store in airtight container.