Kesribhath

Today is “Anant Chaturdashi” commonly called as “Nopi”. This is usually celebrated on ‘Bhadrapada shukla Chaturdashi’ which comes on the 11th day after ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’. There are two significances to this day.

First one, the Ganesha idol brought home at Vinayak Chaturthi is immersed in water on this day, only in those houses where Ganesha festival is celebrated for 11 days and in “Sarvajanika(public) Ganeshas”.

Second one,it is celebrated as “Nopi”. This festival is usually celebrated at temples. There are few people who celebrate this festival at home, this is done at home only if it is celebrated from generations. At our native, this festival is celebrated only in temple. Here is how it is celebrated in our native at “Veer Vithal MaTh(temple)”.

People gather in the temple, perform the pooja to the temple. They take two empty ‘Kalshas’,a copper Vessel with mango leaves and coconut on top of it, in palanquin to “flowing water”. They take bath in water and fill the kalashas with water and perform pooja to the kalashas. Then they bring the palanquin back to temple in procession. There the Kalashas are taken inside the temple and pooja is performed after decorating the Kalashas. Then the Prasad(prasadam) of panchakajjaya is distributed. 14 namaskars, similar to ‘Surya namaskara’, are performed. Lunch is served on banana leaves.
In the night again pooja is performed and Ananth Chaturdashi story is told to the people by the priest.

Most of the people prepare a dish called “alvatthi” – Colocasia leaves and chana cooked in coconut masala, but this dish is not prepared at our temple. One of the dishes usually (but not always) prepared for lunch at the temples is “Kesribhath” or “Kesari bhath”. In Bangalore, people call ‘Sheera/Sanja’ as Kesribhath, but we call ‘Kesri’-with kesar/saffron(or orange colored), ‘bhath’-rice, to a dish prepared with rice and orange in color. Kesribhath is also called “Kesar bhath” or “Keshar bhath” or “Sakhar bhath”.

Ingredients:
Rice(Preferably Basmati rice) 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Ghee 2 tbl spns
Raisins(dry grapes) 2 tbl spns
Cashews 1 tbl spn
Cloves 2-3
Orange color a pinch or saffron strands 7-8
Cardamom powder ½ tea spn

Method:
Heat 1 tbl spn of ghee and fry raisins, cloves and cashew for 2-3 mins. Add rice and fry for 5-6mins. Add water and cook till rice is completely done.

Now add sugar and remaining ghee. Add saffron strands diluted in 1 tbl spn warm milk or orange color. Mix well(mix gently) and cook for around 5mins. Add cardamom powder.

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 20mins

Note : Add sugar only after cooking the rice completely. Last time when I prepared it, I added sugar when the rice was 3/4 th cooked, thinking it would cook completely after adding sugar. But though I cooked for a long time, the rice still remained uncooked.

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