Boiled Panankizhangu (Palmyra Root)

This simple recipe of cooking Panankizhangu comes from my grandmother’s kitchen in Palayamkottai in the southern part of Tamil Nadu. She used to trim the root. As they were very long she used to boil them in an idli steamer which was large enough to hold these. Living in Chennai I have the modern, compact idli steamer and therefore I devised a method of pressure cooking the roots. Eating this always takes me back to the halcyon days of my childhood.

Boiled Panankizhangu 1 - Kalas Kalai

Boiled Panankizhangu (Palmyra Root)

Panankizhangu or Palmyra Root is the tuber of the germinated seedling of the Palmyra tree. It is mostly available in January and February. In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu it is relished as a special treat. Even in the cosmopolitan Chennai, panankizhangu is sold both in the raw and cooked form in the local markets. Once it is boiled it remains fresh only for 48 hours; after that it becomes very hard to chew. My grandmother used to pound the semi dry pieces with green chilli, garlic, and salt to make it soft and give flavour.

Boiled Panankizhangu 2 - Kalas Kalai

Panankizhangu as it is sold, with its thick skin


  • 6 Panankizhangu (Palmyra Root)
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 C Water


  1. Remove the outer skin of the root. Top and tail.
Boiled Panankizhangu 3 - Kalas Kalai

Front: Panankizhangu with its skin removed. Rear: Topped and tailed, ready for boiling

  1. Place the root, salt, turmeric powder, and water in a pressure cooker. Cook for 25 minutes.
  2. Remove the roots.
  3. Slit lengthwise and break into pieces. Start eating!


  1. If the roots are very long, you can cut them into 2 pieces to fit into the pressure cooker.

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