Traditionally in India, after a woman gives birth, the nursing mother is given panjiri. While seemingly healthy as it is chock full of dried fruit and nuts, more notable is the fact that panjiri is laden with ghee/butter and sugar. Yet, new grandmothers will tout that this is the greatest snack for new and nursing moms. I’m somewhat at a loss of how all the butter/ghee and sugar could be healthy. Moreover, it’s supposed to increase the milk supply. Again, don’t ask me how.
This dish will take quite some time to make. It is absolutely a labor of love. Similar to dulce de leche or caramelizing onions, roasting the nuts, fruits and semolina/suji will take some time. But, I promise you that the end result is absolutely worth the wait.
I cannot attest to whether my milk supply was increased or aided, I can promise you it is delicious. You can pretty much customize the ingredients to what you have on hand. Clockwise from top: (1) golden raisins, (2) unsweetened grated coconut, (3) pistachios, (4) walnut, (5) dried apricot, (6) almonds, (7) cashew, and (8) flax-seed meal (center).
And, traditionally, you will see that panjiri contains many different spices and edible gum crystals. I don’t prefer to have this dish overly spiced and have made it using ingredients that I’m likely to have on hand.
When you make this dish, ignore the health conscious part of your brain that wants to reduce the butter/ghee. Just add it. Throw it in and never look back. You will not regret it. And you may notice, I keep saying butter/ghee. I highly recommend ghee, but I also like to cut the full-flavor of the ghee with some butter. If you end up using all butter, you’ll miss the depth of flavor that ghee offers, but still have a product reminiscent of a sugar cookie – no joke.
If you are interested, as a nursing mother, to increase milk supply, I highly recommend keeping the fennel. If you don’t have fennel or don’t like it, leave it out altogether.
- 1/2 cup ghee, divided
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (if you want to just use ghee – just replace it all with ghee)
- 2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 cup mixed nuts
- 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
- 1/4 cup flax-seed meal (optional)
- 2 cups semolina (suji – coarse)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- In a large pan, heat 1/4 cup ghee and 1/4 cup butter over medium heat until melted, but not burned. Add in fennel seeds and cook for a minute just to heat up. Add in mixed nuts, dried fruit, and flax-seed meal and roast until toasted and the smell of the nuts come through, approximately 10 minutes. Just make sure to stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Once roasted, remove the mixture from the pan.
- In the same emptied pan (be careful not to leave left over pieces), heat the remaining ghee and butter until melted over medium-low heat. Add the semolina and roast until roasted into a light brown and resembles wet sand. This is going to take a while – approximately 30-40 minutes. Do not be tempted to raise the temperature.
- Add salt, cardamom, and ginger, and stir to combine and blend. Cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add sugar and mix until fully incorporated and blended.
- Let cool and then serve. Store in an airtight container.