Paka Darpanam (i.e. culinary mirror) is a book on cuisine from antiquity. It has been authored by Raja Nala, King of the state of Nishadha. It is said that he was extremely good looking, truthful, brave, just and endowed with eight boons, two from each of the following deities namely Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama. In this wonderful book the author has described the recipes of vegetable & non-veg. preparations. Dishes prepared from Neem, Mandan, Guduchi, Jackfruit etc. become cures also besides being very tasty, the dishes are made fragrant before serving. Various notes of geographical importance have been appended. Efforts have been made to identify all the pot-herbs and their Botanical names are also included. The first chapter is very lengthy and deals. The setup of the works
along with various preparations of vegetables covering leaves and fruits both. It deals with five categories of food, pulses, rice and meat. Chapter second deals with the six seasons, regimens to be observed therein, animals and birds to be used as food in various seasons. The third chapter is devoted to the special preparations known as
Bhaksyaraja and other dishes 16 containing egg. The fourth chapter is devoted to the preparations of PAYASA
(modern khir) made of garlic and wheat-corns. This chapter also includes soft beverages like phalapushpa panaka. The colophon also mentions the well-known preparation Rasala. The fifth chapter presents the process, preparation varieties and properties of soft beverage and they were kept in Pugapatta (a cloth pasted with the scum of betel nut) instead of glasswares of golden or silver pots. Chapter six narrates the process and properties of various soups (yusa). The seventh chapter deals with the process & properties of Ghrtannapaka, Sayannapaka with tamarind, Kaitarya, mustard and curd. In chapter eight, there is a description of lickable preparations of mango etc. with process and properties. Chapter nine deals with the process of cooling, fragrant and making the delicious. Chapter ten describes the process of preparations and properties of Ksirapaka. It is different from modern Khira in which a very small quantity of rice is mixed and cooked. Here, milk is condensed on fire. The last eleventh chapter describes the process of preparing curd from milk.