On Sunday, Ganeshji left our home for this year. It was special this time as I made the Ganesh idol myself. The Think Green team in our apartment organized a 2-day workshop on idol making. They invited a person who is a graduate from a Japanese school in ceramic arts & pottery. I found the instructor very knowledgable and am glad I got to learn a few interesting techniques in clay modeling from him. Continue reading
We had the most memorable Ganesh Chaturti this year. Preparations started nearly 3 days in advance. Shubhada (my neighbor) and I went to Gandhi Bazaar on Friday to do some street photography as the festive time makes the market place really colorful. As expected Gandhi Bazaar was in full bloom. I took snaps of vendors selling idols, flowers, mango/ plantain leaves, bangles, etc; soon they were all smiling at us and wondering if I was going to buy anything after all. I felt like a tourist in my own city. Continue reading
Happy Ugadi to you all! Just finished a sumptuous lunch. I am so stuffed and sleepy. Although Ugadi is not a part of the festivals we celebrate we manage to have a feast just to catch up with the festive spirit around us. I saw lots of little girls today wearing their traditional langa-blouse making the environment so colorful. Mayank took half a day off so he could be with us for lunch. Our lunch comprised of :
Radish Sambar, Bhindi Sabzi, tamarind rice, kosumbari, papad, payasam and vobattu.
(vobattu was not made at home. the Hot Chips guy owed me some money from last month, I settled it today. Rest of the food is home-made guys, I didnt make him work all the way)
You can check out last years Ugadi Special Lunch here : Ugadi Lunch ’08
Gulgule can be made for traveling as they last a good one week.
How difficult is it for a foodie like me to fast? Well, earlier it was tough but this year surprisingly I was able to do it well on the occasion of Karwa Chauth.
Karwa Chauth is a festival where married women fast for their husband’s long life. They break their fast after worshiping the moon at night. For the pooja they dress up like brides with mehendi on hands, wedding saree, jewellery and all that glamor.
My fast got over quite fast. I ate fruits and had milk although mostly girls in North do not even drink water. Incidentally, I had a friend show me some interesting recipe books, which I skillfully overlooked least I encourage my hunger pangs. All in all, the vrat (or fast) was no problem at all.
My hubby keeps the fast along with me every year. The first year after marriage I told him not to, well he wouldnt listen. I made wheat vermicelli for breakfast and he went away without eating it. Thats 3 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Then on, I allowed him to fast with me. Its really nice actually to have company while fasting.
Despite my baby doll’s tantrums I managed to apply Mehendi on my hands a day before Karwa Chauth. It went on till late at night as usual but it feels great once you are done. I used my right hand to apply on my left and I used a stencil to apply on my right hand. Just place the stencil, apply the mehendi and peel off. Easy enough, what to you expect with one left hand after all?
We went to my co-sisters place for pooja. The pooja got over on time but the moon hid behind the clouds, sort of making us realize its importance. After all, once a year we get so desperate to see it. Usually on Karwa Chauth its very cloudy so may be on Karwa Chauth we notice the clouds. This year was by far the toughest I must say. We waited for more than an hour and finally decided to worship the streak of light that we thought was the moon. As soon as we started the pooja the moon peeped out from a completely direction location. We immediately changed our direction and continued the pooja. Finally, it was time to have dinner. The prasad pooris were over even before we entered home.
There is something about eating dinner after fasting all day. For one, the food tastes very good and the satvic style in which it is made makes it tastier.
The prasad I make every year for Karwa Chauth is poori and Gulgule (sweet wheat flour dumplings). You can find the recipe here.
I would like to send this entry to Srivalli’s JFI Nov, ’08 – Festival Treats. Thanks for accepting my entry to the event, although its a bit different from the main festivals.
Festivals bring a change in environment that serves as a much needed break from the daily hussle bussle of life. A time to stop and celebrate life and to enrich ourselves by praying to the divine. You might have noticed that although there is a lot of work for almost 2-3 days before a festival you somehow dont seem to get tired. Its the devotion that gives us a whole lot of energy and gives us so much relaxation even amidst work.
A day before Janamashti I went shopping for fruits, flowers, milk, curds and a dress to make my daughter look like Radha. Last Janamashtami I made her into Krishna as then she looked more like a cute boy. Now she is about 1.5 yrs old and is more girlish. She noticed the preparations going on at home and was well aware that she was going to have some fun. She consented to becoming Radha and even danced around the house before pooja 🙂
Prasad : Panjeeri & Charanamrut
These 2 dishes together form the most important prasad we offer lord Krishna every year on Janamashtmi.
- Roast 1 cup of wheat flour in a thick bottom pan. Stir continuously to ensure it doesnt get burnt.
- When its almost done add 1/2 teaspoon of elaichi powder.
- Turn off the gas and transfer the roasted wheat flour into a plate to cool.
- Once its cooled off completely add less than 1/2 cup of ground sugar.
Panjeeri can be made for traveling as it lasts for about 2-3 weeks. Just ensure the flour is roasted well for a longer shelf life.
Charan in Hindi means feet and amrut means necter. Hence, Charanamrut here means the necter from the feet of the lord. Its a mix of 5 ingredients and doesnt require cooking. This sacred necter is the first to be had after pooja, that means even before prasad.
Mix 1 cup milk, 1.5 tablespoons curds, 1 tablespoon honey, any dry fruits (we use chironji), few roasted lotus seeds (options) and 1 teaspoon of ghee.
Ganesh Chaturthi was possible in the same grand way we usually have it, thanks to Ganeshji for that. We actually returned from a 3-day long trip just 24 hrs before the festival. I was busy unpacking and getting the laundry done. However, on good occasions things just go on well. My husband surprised me by buying all the possible things I needed to make the occasion special. The next day I got busy making modaks , kheer and tamarind rice. We did pooja and really enjoyed the prasad. Somehow the tamarind rice we make all year doesnt taste as good as it does on Ganesh Chathuti. We worship the idol of Ganeshji for 10 days before submerging it in water.
For prasadam I made tamarind rice and Ganeshji’s favorite modaks.
- Heat 2.5 cups of water. Once water boils add about 1 cup of rice flour.
- Cook till it thickens. Now cool this mix.
- Separately heat 1/2 cup jaggery with 1/2 cup grated coconut. Cook till mixture comes together.
- Flatten the rice dough with your palms and fill it with the coconut mixture. Seal in the shape of a modak.
- Steam modaks for 20 mins.
This is my entry to the Krishna Janamashtmi and Ganesh Chaturthi event hosted by Purva’s Daawat. What I like so much about the event started on monthly festivals is that it allows us to know more about each others culture and traditions. We get a glimpse of how homes in different parts of India look on festive occasions. Our ways of celebrating the same festival differ every 1000 miles but the enthusiasm is shared across borders.
Ugadi is not really one of our festivals but since we have been in South India like forever, we have been influenced by the culture to some extent. We make a Special Ugadi Lunch every year to enjoy the festive spirit that surrounds us.
Typically in Karnataka they prepare Vobattu (jaggery rotis), thondekai sabzi, beans, kosumbari / salad, sambar and payasam today. I am unable to make the entire menu but do manage to make a few items here and there to feel like we have celebrated the day.
In the picture above you can see :
- Drumsticks and Mooli Sambar
- Tamarind rice
- Plain steamed rice
- Garlic papad
- Cucumber Kosumbari
- Beans sabzi
- Rice Payasam
Happy Ugadi to you all !!