Temperatures have reached new records this summer in most areas of the island. It must not have been an easy feat for devotees to cover miles on foot over burning asphalt to offer prayers on the occasion of Thaipoosam Cavadee. Bearing the weight of the cavadee – a wooden structure highly decorated with flowers, fruits and pictures of Lord Muruga – the devotees converge towards their local temple where they are served lunch and panakon after prayers. Traditionally made from fresh tamarind and lemon juice, this refreshing drink is believed to have been brought by our ancestors from South India. Soaked basil seeds/ tocmaria are sometimes added to enhance the texture, however, the beverage should invariably be served chilled on the same day it is made with as many ice cubes as one can handle.         ‬

PANAKON

Ingredients:

4 cups ice cold water

1/2 cup lukewarm water

150g fresh tamarind

2-3 medium lemons

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/8 teaspoon dried ginger

1-2 cardamom pods

Ice cubes, crushed

Method:

  • Peel the fresh tamarind and stir the pulp in 1/2 cup warm water until well infused.

  • Halve the lemons and squeeze them to extract juice. Add the juice to the tamarind.

  • Stir in sugar until dissolved and add the dried ginger and crushed cardamom pods.

  • Add the remaining cold water and then strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve.

  • Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Shake well and serve over ice; 4 servings.

Pious Thaipoosam Cavadee