Panjiri

Recipe 5 minPreparation Time 25 minCooking Time
Panjiri

Panjiri

5 minPreparation Time 25 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

A sweet, buttery crumble with rivaling nutty notes, this panjiri recipe is one of the tastier postpartum foods I had as a new mom. It’s now a family breakfast thing — we eat a spoon or two straight up, or sprinkle it over porridge or smoothies. Panjiri comes from undivided Punjab and, according to archaeologist and anthropologist Kurush Dalal, may date back at least 2,000 years. Panjiri even finds mention in the Mahan Kosh, the first Punjabi language encyclopedia compiled in the early 20th century. Traditional recipes call for toasted wheat flour, gond (edible gum), dried fruit and nuts, and a mix of warming, digestive spices such as cumin, aniseed, coriander seeds, and saunth (dried ginger). Panjiri recipes change with every village and home across the subcontinent. This version from the southwestern Karwar region uses suji (semolina) instead of wheat flour. It also skips the usual spices, as the same spice mix goes into a postpartum confinement tea made in the region.

The Benefits

An artisanal nutritional supplement of yore, panjiri need only be added in small quantities to your family’s diet — especially for young children or pregnant and nursing mothers — to reap the health benefits of its macro and micronutrients, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds. While whole wheat flour is the traditional North Indian choice, the semolina base in this recipe — milled from durum wheat — is higher in protein and minerals such as iron, zinc, and potassium.

Note: While you can use the approximate volume measurements provided for this recipe, volume may vary widely depending on the size and type of nuts and dried fruit you are using. We recommend using the weight measurements if possible; if not, go ahead and use volume — this recipe is quite forgiving.

This version of panjiri relies on dates and raisins for sweetness. Increase their quantity or add a sweetener of your choice if you’d like it sweeter. You can customize this recipe by adding ingredients such as peanuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and tiny quantities of your preferred spices. 

Ingredients

Makes 30 oz (830 g)
  • 2 Tbsp ghee, plus more as required
  • 2/3 cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) almonds
  • 2/3 cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) cashews
  • ¾ cup (3.5 oz/100 g) walnuts
  • ¾ cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) pistachios
  • 2/3 cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) raisins
  • 1 cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) kharik (dried yellow dates), deseeded and quartered vertically
  • 4 Tbsp (3.5 oz/ 100 g) gond (gum Arabic)
  • 3/5 cup (3.5 oz/ 100 g) fine suji (semolina)
  • 2 cups (1.76 oz/ 50 g) makhana (foxnuts)

Directions

  1. Step 1
    Heat 1 Tbsp of ghee in a kadhai or a medium-size pan. Add the almonds and sauté on medium heat, stirring continuously for about 1 to 2 minutes or until they are evenly brown and toasted. Remove the almonds using a slotted spoon, and drain them on a paper towel. Ensure the almonds are spread out, not crowded. In the same pan, one type of nut at a time, toast the cashews, walnuts, and pistachios, each until golden brown and fragrant. Adjust the heat for each nut: Denser and bigger almonds and cashews on medium heat, smaller, more delicate pistachios on low heat. Top up the ghee as needed, 1 tsp at a time, just enough to coat the nuts for even toasting. Drain the nuts on separate plates or a large tray to avoid crowding. This will ensure that they remain crispy.
  2. Step 2
    Sauté the sweeter ingredients, one by one. First, fry raisins on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add more ghee, if needed, and shallow fry the kharik on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until golden and crisp. Fry the gond, which will puff up, in batches on medium-low heat. Fry a little at a time, remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a plate to cool down.
  3. Step 3
    Now add the semolina to the same pan and cook for 1 minute on medium-high heat, stirring continuously. Add 1 Tbsp of ghee and continue cooking on medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until it's golden-brown and fragrant. Stir occasionally to avoid over-browning at the bottom. Turn off the heat and leave the semolina in the pan.
  4. Step 4
    Alongside the semolina, set up a large pan or kadhai on the stove to pan roast the foxnuts. Heat 1 tsp of ghee and roast the foxnuts on medium-low heat, occasionally stirring, until they are crisp. To check, pick one and crush it between your fingers. If it crumbles, it's ready.
  5. Step 5
    In a mixer-grinder or a food processor, grind together the almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, kharik, gond and foxnuts to a fine powder. Depending on the size of your jar, you may need to grind in batches.
  6. Step 6
    Empty the contents into a large bowl. Add the roasted semolina and mix well. Leave it to rest for a few minutes until completely cool. Transfer the panjiri to a bottle or jar with an air-tight lid. Refrigerate for up to three months.

Substitutions: For a gluten-free version, replace semolina with bajra (pearl millet) or ragi (finger millet) flour. Chana sattu (roasted chickpea flour) works well, too

Level up: Spice up the panjiri with 1 to 2 tsp of powdered cardamom or fennel

Try it with: A warm glass of milk on a chilly day, or sprinkle some over Greek yogurt