Panang kizhangu (Palmyra sprout) is popular among south Indians & Sri Lankans. We usually steam the palmyra sprouts, pound them when dried, and relish the pounded palmyra sprout as a savory snack. Sri Lankans boil these sprouts, dry them, make into a flour and use the flour to make sweet puttu, koozh or add into some non-veg curries as a thickening agent.
Idicha panang kizhangu, an ancient recipe:
Traditionally palmyra sprouts were cooked either by steaming or by roasting them directly over the hot coal in an old-fashioned Indian stove. Generally we keep the cooked sprouts on the terrace under the sun for a day or two until dried up completely. Then we pound them using ural & ulakkai, a large mortar (2-3 feet high) & pestle (about 5 feet length). My paternal grandmother used to pound them with great finesse that each & every bits were of same size. Nowadays we pressure cook these sprouts and grind into a fine powder using mixer-grinder.
Our maternal grandmother preferred to serve these sprouts roasted but not pounded, I still remember the wonderful aroma of roasted palmyra sprouts that we relished during our visit to her house. Sometimes our maternal aunts took over the whole process of steaming, drying & pounding under the supervision of our maternal uncle! It was worth the wait for all the children as we were served with delicious flavorful snack later.
Health Benefits of palmyra sprouts (panang kizhangu):
- Various studies conducted in Sri Lanka state in unison that these palmyra sprouts have anti-cancerous properties.
- They have low-GI and hence useful for diabetics.
- These sprouts are rich in fiber and it helps to ease the bowel movement for people with constipation.
- Since these sprouts have low calories they are ideal for weight watchers.
- They also act as wonderful detoxifiers.
Pounded Palmyra Sprout:
First we need to prepare the sprouts as shown below before pounding them.
Time taken: 30 minutes
How to cook panang kizhangu:
- First we need to peel the panang kizhangu.
- Then chop off its head.
Repeat the same for all the remaining sprouts.
- Wash them all under the tap water.
- Now add water (150 ml), salt (1 tsp) & turmeric powder (1 tbsp) into the pressure cooker.
- Then add the sprouts into the cooker as shown below.
- Pressure cook them.
We need to simmer for 20 minutes when it reaches the high pressure.
- When the pressure is released transfer them to a large plate.
We can leave these hot sprouts aside until they reach the room temperature.
- Remove the hard white spine and the fibers.
We can remove the spine at the centre after slitting open the sprout along its groove and also remove the fibres by snapping the sprouts into small pieces (approx. 2″).
- Now panang kizhangu is ready to use.
Either we can take these sprouts as a snack or we can dry them under the sun for a couple of days to prepare the flour or podimas.
How to prepare palmyra sprouts:
You may also refer to the gif below:
- Cooked & dried palmyra sprouts – 10 Nos.
- Coconut meat – 1/4
- Green chillies – 3 Nos
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Salt – 3/4 tsp
How to pound the palmyra sprouts:
- Add coconut, green chillies, garlic pods along with the prepared palmyra sprouts into a large mixer jar.
- Blitz them at the lowest speed.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add salt & mix well with a spatula.
- Serve pounded palmyra sprout as an evening snack with a cup of coffee or tea.
Tips & Tweaks:
- Traditionally palmyra sprouts are slow cooked overnight in hot charcoal inside the conventional stove. Nowadays we may use charcoal grill or BBQ grill to cook them.
- We can also steam them after applying a turmeric & salt paste on the sprouts.
- We should ensure that all the sprouts are completely dry before pounding them, else we wont get this sandy texture.
- I have used 2 garlic cloves for 10 sprouts, but adding too many cloves would lead to a strong pungent flavor.
- The more we add the coconut the more it is delicious.
- My grandmother used to add some fresh curry leaves while pounding, but I feel that the flavor of curry leaves would overpower the earthy flavor of these sprouts. You may add them if you like to make it more nourishing.
- The dried sprouts can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 months, and they may be pounded as and when required.