Konkani festivals

Green Moong Sweetdish(Mooga Khichdi)

Mooga Khichdi

This green moong sweetdish – Mooga Khichdi is a traditional Konkani dish specifically prepared for the festival of Sankranti. Mooga Khichdi is also called Moog Shijayile, literally means cooked moong.

Mooga Khichdi is prepared during Sankranti and a little of it kept on the window for the birds to eat. It is believed that Sankrant Purush(God of this festival) comes in the form of a crow to eat the food. This is a classic example of Konkanis worshipping, feeding the animals, birds surrounding us. After it is offered to god, this Mooga Khichdi is consumed. 

This Mooga Khichdi is flavored just with ghee and cardamom. When it is being cooked, the delicious aroma of the dish fills the entire house. Based on the quality of jaggery used, this can become very dry or very juicy/wet.

Aayi usually prepares the moong dal khichdi – mooga dali khichdi for Sankranti instead of this since that was the sweet made in her maternal home. Both have their own deliciousness.

Ingredients:
1 cup green moong
1 cup jaggery
1/2 cup coconut 
1 tbl spn ghee
5-6 cardamom 

Method: 
Cook green moong in pressure cooker till it is cooked through. If the moong is very old, make sure to soak it in water for 1 hr.
Heat ghee and add moong, jaggery, coconut.
Cover the lid and cook till jaggery is melted.
Mix well and take off heat.
Add powdered cardamom. Mix well.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20 mins

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Banana Vada

Banana vada

It was vade panchami few days ago – it is celebrated at my kuldevasthan – family god’s temple at Ankola. Thousands of deities gather for the pooja. One of the biggest things (other than super delicious lunch) during this function is these banana vada prasad – so the function is called vade panchami. Many men gather to make these vadas and then the vadas are deep fried in huge pan. Some remove the vadas from the hot oil just by their bare hands without a ladle/spoon. It has been a long tradition going on for decades. I found this video on youtube of this. I have explained more about vade panchami in this post.

I was missing all these celebrations, so decided to try something similar. Ofcourse this is not the recipe followed at our temple but I just made it up. The vadas came out so delicious that I think I have to save the recipe.

Pictorial:

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup milk
2 tbl spn jaggery
1 big banana (about 2/3rd cup mashed banana)
Salt
Oil for deep frying

Method:
Mix all the ingredients except oil in a bowl.
Take a big ball of the mixture and flatten it on a plastic.
Gently pick up the vada and deep fry in hot oil.
Enjoy while it is still warm with chutney.

Makes about 8
Preparation time :30 mins

Note: If you don’t have almond flour, substitute with wheat flour or rice flour.

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Bottlegourd Halwa (Gardudde Halvo)

bottlegourd halwa

Wish you all a very happy and colorful Holi. The festival of color is around the corner and I could not think of a better sweet than this Bottlegourd halwa or gardudde halvo. Aayi prepared this for us during Diwali and it was so delicious.

Bottle gourd was rarely bought at home when we were growing up. I would almost always ask aayi to make burfi(khadi) from it. I could eat it anytime. This is definitely an easier version of the same. Then we started hearing about the health benefits on TV. Ever since then I have been using it regularly. I normally make a quick dal or some spicy dish from it.

For halwa, grated bottlegourd is cooked in milk, which gives a fantastic aroma. Then the nuts and cardamom brings that divine aroma.

Pictorial:

Peel and remove seeds from bottle gourd. Then grate it. bottlegourd halwa1bottlegourd halwa2

Add milk, cashews and cook. When milk is absorbed, add jaggery.
bottlegourd halwa3
bottlegourd halwa5

Cook till all the jaggery is melted and well mixed. Take off heat and add cardamom powder.
bottlegourd halwa6

Bottlegourd Halwa (Gardudde Halvo)

Very aromatic bottlegourd halwa prepared by cooking bottlegourd in milk and sugar.
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -5

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups grated bottle gourd
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cup jaggery
  • 1 tbl spn cashews optional
  • 1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Instructions
 

  • Peel, remove seeds and grate bottle gourd.
  • Cook cashews and grated bottle gourd with milk. (It looks like the milk curdled but that is the expected result.)
  • When all the milk is absorbed, add jaggery.
  • Cook till jaggery is all melted. Mix it well.
  • Take off heat, add cardamom powder , mix well.
  • Serve warm or chilled.

 

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Tilgul (Kante Halvo)

tilgul
Makar Sankranti
 is just around the corner. That reminds me to post this very very special recipe here. I have been thinking about it for a long time. For us, Sankranti was always associated with this very tasty sugar drops – tilgul or kante halvo (Kante – spikes, halvo – halwa, a sweet dish). On Sankranti, we give a handful of this tilgul  and sesame laddoo to everyone we meet and tell them “tilgul ghya goaD goaD bola“(take tilgul and talk sweet), which finally evolved into “Take sweet, talk sweet and be sweet” in schools. We take blessings from elders and bless the younger ones.
tilgul12

There was a time when everyone prepared these tilgul at home. Aayi always talked about how my grandmom used to make it at home. These days we get tilgul in market, but they are no where as tasty as the homemade ones. At my native, only a few ladies make these at home now. Last year, I was in India during Sankranti and asked my kaki (My dad’s cousin’s wife) to show me the procedure. She makes such beautiful and very tasty tilgul every year. She was very kind enough to let me take pictures also. It is believed that when tilgul prepared during very cold mornings gives best results, so most of the people make it in the early mornings. But kaki said she makes them when she finds an hour or so free, no matter what time of the day.

I have never attempted this myself. But every year I think about it. May be one of these days I will. Tilgul mostly consists of sugar coated sesame seeds (til), but other nuts/spices like peanuts(groundnuts),  fennel seeds(saunf/badishep), cloves, pumpkin seeds, cashews are also added to give that extra taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar (use sugar crystals which gives better results)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sesame seeds (til), cashews, fennel seeds(saunf), cloves, pumpkin seeds, cardamom seeds, peanuts(ground nuts) etc

Method:
tilgul1

Sundry  sesame seeds (til), cashews, cloves, pumpkin seeds, cardamom seeds, peanuts(ground nuts) for a day to remove any moisture.
tilgul2 tilgul3 tilgul4
Take sugar and water in a pan and bring it to boil. When it starts boiling, take off the heat and sieve it though  a thin cloth. You will find some black/gray dirt particles on the cloth.
Take the sugar water and heat again. After few minutes, sieve again. Repeat this 2-3 times till all the dirt particles are gone.
tilgul5 tilgul6 tilgul7
Heat the sugar water again, when it starts boiling, add the milk. Milk will break when you continue heating (desired effect). Sieve it again.
tilgul8
Heat the sugar water again. Put a drop on kitchen counter/plate. If it sits like a drop and does not spread, the sugar syrup is ready to use. Let the syrup cool completely (usually left overnight to cool).
tilgul9 tilgul10 tilgul11
On a very low heat (Usually a coal stove is used, which is kept on a very low heat), take the sesame seeds and other nuts/spices in a thick brass plate. Add one tea spn of syrup on it and start mixing with fingers. Remember, not to use any spoon for mixing. This has to be done by fingers, very carefully, taking care not to break any sugar spikes. If it becomes too hot, take off the heat, keep mixing continuously.
Usually only a few coatings are done each day. So it takes about 4-5 days (or more depending on how much sugar coating is desired) to get the beautiful looking tilgul.
If needed add some color to some part of sugar syrup before using it to coat.
Remember, patience is the key to get beautiful tilgul. Never rush through any steps. Only add a tea spn sugar at a time. You cannot rush the process in any way.

tilgul12

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Choodi Pooja – A pooja of Sun and Nature

CHUDI POOJA

In the last few years, we have tried to document different festivals that we celebrate along with recipes that are very close to us. Here is one very important celebration which is very important to us.

Monsoon marks the beginning of many festivities in our part of the country. With pouring rain, we can see beautiful greenery everywhere in the beautiful Konkan coast. This also marks the beginning  of Shraavan month (maas). Married G.S.B. ladies celebrate Choodi pooja on all Sundays of this month every year. Shraavan is the most auspicious month for us. This pooja is a pooja of nature and the Sun god. It is firmly believed that it satisfies the Sun god and the nature. It is an occasion where pooja is done in every home and then the choodi is offered to other married ladies in the community. A choodi is a bunch prepared with different plants and flowers.

While forming the choodi (bunch) we use many plants and flowers which are easily available in this season in the garden. Everyone uses different plants/flowers in their choodis. Here I am going to specify the ones I use. These are named differently in different places by people. We use the following plants, these all are local Konkani names – dhirmankur (durve or garike), maad, Sita chavari, vaganangut (majra nangut), aarati, mandri, amshe phool, udka dentu, paarijaat leaf etc. We also use different flowers in the choodi. Some of them are paarijaat, tera phool, ratnagandhi, karaveer etc. All these plants are said to have medicinal values.
choodi pooja1 choodi pooja2

We bring all of them together to form a bunch which is called as choodi. These are tied in paarijaat leaf. We usually form fifteen choodis. Choodi is offered with paana veedo(veelya – betel leaves and areaca nut).
choodi pooja3 choodi pooja4 choodi pooja5 choodi pooja6

Here is how I celebrate choodi pooja. Everyone has their own ways depending on what they have been following for generations –
On Shravan Sunday, after taking bath, I keep these choodis on two banana leaves in our devakoodi(god’s room) after applying gandh(sandlewood paste), turmeric paste and kumkum. I decorate these choodis with flowers.
choodi pooja7 choodi pooja8
Some people prepare some sweets for naivedya(offering). We were using sugar and ghee earlier. These days I use only fruits for naivedya. I worship choodis with agarbatti(insence sticks) and aarati. I offer akshatas(rice mixed with kumkum) to these and pray to god.
After pooja , I take them to Tulsi vrindavan/katte infront of our home. I worship them again, do pradakshinas to Tulsi and offer aarati and akshatas to Sun god. I pray the Sun god and nature.
I offer choodi to Sri Tulsi, Sun god, kalpavriksha (coconut tree), jaladevata (water well) and main door (hostilu). I offer to Kuladevata(family god).
choodi pooja9 choodi pooja10
After wearing it myself I offer them to elders in the house and distribute them to other married women in the community.

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Modak

Ganesh Chaturthi (or Ganapati festival) is a very popular festival in India. A Ganesh idol made of special clay is brought home, wherever they have this tradition spanning generations. There is also public Ganesh pooja popularised by India’s national leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak since the days India’s freedom struggle. I am here to talk about how we celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi at home.

The preparations begin atleast one week before the ‘Bhadrapada shukla chaturthi‘ a day on the Hindu calendar which normally occurs in August or September of every year. There are three aspects to the preparation.

1. Mantapa
This is a structure normally made of wood, which is decorated, and the Ganesha idol sits inside this mantapa. Normally in our house, a mantap sits on the frontal edges of a waist height table big enough to host the three halves of the mantap. The mantap’s frontal is decorated with colored, gold/silver type papers and other decorative material. From the top and the corners is provided enough lighting for the Ganesha idol making it appear like its in a temple’s sanctum sanctorum. Also the house’s entrance and doors are decorated with mango leaves and flowers.

2. PhalavaLi
This is an assortment of fruits, vegetables and a coconut tied to a structure in a neat and organized fashion and hung from the top just infront of the mantap. Care is taken that the height of this PhalavaLi doesn’t interfere with people standing below it while performing the pooja.

3. Food preparations
Modak, maande, nevri, panchakajjaya are the most basic offerings to Ganesha. Many people add other sweets to this list as well.

On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, we go to the Gudigar (or the one who makes the clay Ganesha idol) to whom we’ve ordered to make idol for us as per our liking. Normally we like Ganesha sat on a seat with right leg folded on the left one and colored skinny pink. After giving the price of idol wrapped in panna veedo(betel leaf with the betel nuts) to the maker, we bring home the idol carefully. At any point in time, care is taken so that no part of the idol gets broken in any way. This is very important. As per tradition, if this happens (Its called ‘bhagna‘ -in sanskrit) the tradition of Ganesha pooja at home is discontinued from that year. Before the idol is taken inside the home, at the main entrance, the idol is shown what is called as kumkum water (water mixed with kumkum) in a copper plate.

Then the Ganesha idol is placed inside the mantapa. Divli, a lamp with cotten threads in oil, is lit from 5 different sides in this. Then as per the Ganesha pooja proceedings, the prana pratishtha is carried out. It means to bring the Ganesha idol to life. There are mantras which go along with different proceedings. Usually this is done by the priest who goes to different homes. But in our place we do it ourselves after the priest instructed us how to perform the pooja. During the pooja all the various offerings are offered along with the meals which consists of dali thoy, rice, mooga randayi, biscuit Ambode (udid vada), khotto/hittu(idli batter cooked in jackfruit leaf basket), payasam, pancha kajjaya and various fruits. During the pooja, five different aarti are performed. We play the ‘Jayadeva Jayadeva Jaya Mangala moorthyaarti song in the background during the pooja. Ghantaanaad is also done.

After the pooja is over people who are invited as well as the people in the home sit for lunch served on banana leaves. After the Vayasa (meal offering to crows) and Gogras(meal offering to cows), the lunch begins.

Thus pooja is performed twice everyday until the day of visarjana – Ganesha idol immersion in either a well or a lake/river. Normally we keep the Ganesha at home for two days, meaning the next evening the visarjana is carried out. Many Sarvajanika (public) Ganesha are kept for 5 or 9 days. Some even 11 days.

Above Information about Ganesh Chaturthi is writen by my husband. At my parent’s house, we dont have the tradition of Ganesh pooja. We only celebrated Vayna pooja. But at my husband’s house, we have the tradition of Ganesh pooja (After my marriage, I never got an opportunity of attending this festival. So I asked him to write this post). This time we celebrated Ganesha pooja in a very small way here (The proper pooja with Ganesh idol is being performed at my in-law’s place in Kumta). Here is the picture of pooja (we had not planned it before. Just today morning we decided to have a small pooja. So we did it with whatever things available at home).

(From left- Nevri/karjikaayi, modak, dali thoy, mooga mole randayi, Down – Fruits, idli)

Here is the recipe for most popular dish of Ganesh Chaturthi. I prepared it with my MIL’s recipe which she has been following for years.

 

Modak

Deep fried dumplings stuffed with sweet coconut and jaggery filling traditionally offered to god during Ganapati festival
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 -10 modaks

Ingredients
  

  • Outer Covering:
  • 1 cup maida
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Stuffing:
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup jaggery
  • 1/2 tea spn cardamom powder
  • 1 tea spn sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Heat 2 tbl spns of oil and add it to maida.
  • Mix it very well till all the maida gets the oil.
  • Add salt and water to make it a very stiff dough.
  • Keep aside the dough for around 1/2 an hour.
  • Roast the sesame seeds.
  • Heat jaggery and coconut together till jaggery melts and forms a uniform mixture with coconut. Mix sesame seeds well.
  • Remove from heat and add cardamom powder. Mix well.
  • Take small balls of the dough, roll it into small puris (if the puri becomes too thick, the modaks get a rubbery texture).
  • Keep a round ball of stuffing on the puri and cover with the dough to give modak shape.
  • Heat oil and deep fry the modaks.

Notes

Some people also use rice flour to make modaks. I have not tried that version any time.

 

Note : Reposting the recipe which was posted on Aug 28th 2006.

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Milk pedas (Doodh peda)

Wish you all a very happy republic day.

“Ohh..today is April 10th, so your exam results must be out. Did you pass? Where are the pedas?” this was a general question for us when we were in primary schools (1st to 7th standard/grade is called primary school in India, I have no idea what it is called in other countries). It was a kind of tradition for us to distribute pedas among neighbors/relatives when we got the results. Not any pedas, it had to be home made smooth, delicious milk pedas. I specifically remember this because I would actually pester aayi to make pedas for me, so that I could give to my favorite neighbors.

Thats not the only occasion when these pedas made their appearance. They were an integral part of any happy occasion for us. Got engaged? distribute pedas. Gave birth to a baby? distribute pedas. There were hundreds of such occasions on which these beauties would make an appearance.

I never understood whats the deal with happiness and pedas. I guess it all started from the fact that milk and sugar are the basic components found in any Indian home. I remember aayi would make them in big bulk. They were always the beautiful creamy color and had melt-in-the-mouth-delicious taste.

So, recently when I was talking to aayi, she reminded me about these pedas. I got all excited about it. Even though she told me to use khoya/khova to make my life easy, I disagreed. I said, I will atleast make it once from scratch. She said it has to be made on a very low heat and takes a very long time.

When she said long time, I thought may be she is talking about 1hr or so, and I thought I can handle it easily. So I started making the pedas on one beautiful evening. I started with 4 cups of milk. I kept it on a medium heat and once in a while gave it good stir. As usual, I was multitasking – doing a thousand things with this. After 1 hr, the milk looked almost the same volume (it must have reduced about 1/2 inch or so, but not at all noticeable at that time). After 2 hrs, it had reduced a bit and the color had started turning slightly red. I knew something went wrong there because aayi’s pedas never had a red color. Along with reducing milk, my patience was also reducing. After 2 and 1/2 hrs, I added sugar and kept on mixing. It still didn’t have any signs of becoming hard. I knew that it had to be cooked till some white edges show up. I stirred and stirred and stirred till it got almost dry. Then I decided its time to take it off the heat. I took it on a plate and tried giving them nice shape. By then, they had already become hard and so red that I was sure if I heated them more, they would completely burn. V, who was looking at me, said, I should make it like pedas and not small balls. (May be it was his lucky day, I didn’t throw a fit at him for saying that).

After that incident I swore that it was my first and last attempt at making pedas. I promptly declared to aayi that she had given me a wrong recipe and how could she do that. I also told her that I have joined “I hate peda” group. Poor aayi, I never imagined she would have felt bad about it. For next two weeks, everyday when I talked to her, she told me how sad she was for all my effort at making pedas didn’t bear fruit. I didn’t take it seriously for 2-3days, but then it got into my little brain that she was infact really sad about it. Not because I wasted 4 cups of milk or because of my oath of not trying it again, but because she knew how much difficult it was to make them and she thought I must be really upset about it. So I assured her that I will try it again some time and this time no matter what, I will make sure it comes out right. She gave me few more tips this time. She said if I want to get them light in color, I should continuously stir the milk and also should make it on a real low heat.

So last week, on a Saturday morning, when we had lost internet and TV connection and having a heavy snowfall, I decided to make this again (well, I needed something to kill the time). I started at 8 AM. This time I kept the heat on medium-low. I kept a continuous watch on it. For the first hour, I stirred the milk once in every 3-5 mins. Then I started mixing continuously. After 15mins, I was exhausted, so pulled a chair near the stove. That didn’t work out very well, because the stove level is higher than the chair, so I had keep my hand in raised position.

Then like a lightening it flashed… ‘Aayi sits on the kitchen counter(or platform as we called it) to make it easier. Grandma used to keep her stove on the flour and sit with her legs stretched’. Ahh..that was the best position, with your hands at a higher level than the stove. There is no way I could take the stove out from the cabinet, so I followed aayi’s method. That was so cool. Next 3 hrs, I didn’t budge from that position. I even refused to take any calls from India(usually Saturdays we call friends or family). V promptly told them all that I was not going to talk to any of them that day. (well, he must be very happy to enjoy 3-4 hrs of silence at home. After about 2 hrs I realized he was totally immersed in his favorite hobby of browsing without a constant nagging from me, he had not even told me internet connection was back. Anyway…). I got so bored, so I took my laptop in left hand, while continuously stirring the milk with right (V was pretty sure I would either burn the laptop or break it into pieces that day). Well..I have bored you all enough..it was a happy ending story – I had made perfect beautiful pedas :). I was ecstatic, never been so happy for any other dish. Don’t call me crazy if I say I had made 15 pedas in the end. Not very tempting considering it took 4 hrs of hard work and 4 cups of milk. But V was more than happy, he got 4 hrs of lonely time with his laptop, he got to see a break dance(??) after the success and also got to eat delicious pedas.

Moral of the story – “Sabar ka phal meetha hota hai” – The fruit of patience is always sweet. Attempt this only when you have a very high patience. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest patience you have, the amount of patience required for this is about 15.

Be ready to throw it out if it goes wrong, it only comes right with trial and error. If you are angry on someone and you think few hours of silence will calm you down, attempt this :). Do not blame me if you don’t get it right, there is nothing wrong with the recipe, when you remove it from the flame – is the decision maker. If you remove it little early, it does not get hard enough. In that case, you can heat it again and try to give it a shape again. If you take it too late, it becomes hard like rock, so to be safe, better to take it early.

All jokes apart, if you want to make your life easier, use khoya/khova to make this. I think condensed milk also should work fine in this. You can make it little by little, cook the milk for about an hour. Then refrigerate and continue next day, aayi takes sufficient breaks like this to make it easier.

There are other modern ways of doing it – like microwave pedas. I haven’t tried any of these.

Hats off to aayi who would make them very frequently and in very big batches. I am not sure I would reach there any time. As I said, making them in this color is not a small thing and her pedas always had this color.

In the pictures, you can see some cracks on the pedas. Thats the next thing I will work on. I should have taken it out a tad bit early.

Ingredients:

Milk pedas (Doodh peda)

One of the most popular Indian sweets prepared by milk and sugar.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Cardamom powder
  • Ghee

Instructions
 

  • Heat the milk on a medium low heat stirring continuously. (First hour, stir it only once in about 3-5mins but after 1st hr you need to stir continuously).
  • When the milk is reduced to one cup (measure it after approximately 3hrs) to see if it is 1 cup.
  • Then add the sugar. Keep mixing.
  • When it starts leaving edges and looks quite dry, add the cardamom powder.
  • Take it out on a plate greased with ghee.
  • Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Make the pedas.

 

PS: Use whole milk for a better result.
Use thick bottomed pans for reducing milk, since milk sticks to bottom very easily. A wide bottomed pan saves a lot of time.
If you have a large quantity of milk, you can keep the heat on medium initially for about hour or so and keep stirring frequently.
Some people add some dry fruits or saffron/food color to give extra flavor/color to it. I prefer the pure one, so I haven’t used any.

Milk pedas (Doodh peda) Read More »

Pepper-jaggery drink(Panak/panakam)

Today is celebrated as “Ram Navami” by Hindus. This festival is celebrated on the 9th day from Ugadi, Hindu new year. Ram Navami is celebrated as the birth day of lord Rama, from epic Ramayana. On all the 9 days from Ugadi to Ram Navami, poojas and bhajans are performed in the temples.

The main attraction for the kids in this festival is prasad that is served after the pooja. A very tasty spread of food (naivedya/naivedyam – food which is offered to god) is prepared and offered to god and then distributed among the people gathered for the pooja. Obviously the food offered is purely vegetarian without onions and garlic.

At my native, naivedya for this festival usually consists of
muga dali usli (a dry dish prepared with moong dal) – right in the below picture,
chane usli (a dry dish with black chickpeas) – left in the below picture,
ambli pachdi (spiced shredded mango dish),
– panak (a sweetish, spicy drink)

Usually panak is a must during this festival. Other dishes vary from temple to temple. I will post recipes of other 3 dishes soon. After the pooja, god’s idol is taken in palanquin in a procession. The palanquin is placed on many of the Ashwatha katte(a round structure created around the Ashwatha tree) in many places across the village and different people offer pooja to the idol. In many small villages, towns and cities all across India these Ashwatha katte can be found. Devotees, believers normally are found making pradakshina (rounds) in the morning, which is also beneficial to health because of the fresh air around trees.

Ingredients:
2-3 tbl spn jaggery
2 cups water
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
1/2 tea spn pepper powder
1/2 tea spn grated ginger(optional)
1 tea spn lemon juice(optional)

Ginger and lemon is not added in panak at my place. But in many temples, it is a must.

Method:
Mix all of the above till jaggery is dissolved in water. Make a paste of ginger and add it. Mix well.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 5mins

Pepper-jaggery drink(Panak/panakam) Read More »

Sprouted moong daal side dish (Ankola mooga moLe randayi)

Mooga Moong, moLe – sprout, randayi – a watery sidedish with coconut, is a name very well known to Konkanis. I had posted the recipe of mooga moLe randayi few days back – this is the dish made in most of the houses during festivals, like Ganesh Chaturthi.

But today’s post is about a special Mooga moLe randayi made at the Shri Lakshmi Narayana Mahamaya Temple, Ankola. Every Konkani follows a family god which is called as Kuldev apart from all other gods. This god is the family/ancestral god. The families who follow a Kuldev are called Kulavis. One such popular Kuldev is Mahamaya of Shri Lakshmi Narayana Mahamaya, Ankola or popularly called as Hanumatta, which my family follows. We belong to one of the main devotees(Kulavis) – “Baleri”, of this god.

Once in a year, on Ashwin Vadhya Panchami(according to Hindu calender)- a panchami which comes after full moon day(Punav) of Dasara, is celebrated as ‘Panchami devkarya‘(Devkarya – Pooja) or ‘Vade panchami‘(the name comes from the main naivedyam – a special kind of vada). This day hundreds of devotees of this god gather at this temple and a pooja is performed. After Pooja, a delicious lunch is served on banana leaves at around 4.30. People wait for this lunch and a group of volunteers serve the food.

According to my opinion, the best dish served on this day is Mooga moLe randayi. I have not seen this dish served in any other place. My brother and I used to ask my Aayi to prepare this dish at home. From the taste of the dish, she came up with this recipe. This is one of the favorite dishes at my home now. Though I feel this dish tastes amazing, I still crave for that temple lunch :).

Ingredients:
2 cups sprouted moong
1 cup raw banana(plantain) pieces
1 cup coconut
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1/2 tea spn pepper(miryakan)
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch asafoetida
Oil
Salt

Method:
Wash the moong to remove as much skin as possible. Cook moong with plantain pieces.
Grind coconut with pepper and tamarind.
Add this paste to cooked moong, add salt.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this seasoning to the dish,
Serve hot.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 25mins

Sprouted moong daal side dish (Ankola mooga moLe randayi) Read More »

Chudvo/chooda/chivda (Konkani style)

This is one of the most popular Konkani chivda/chooda (In Konkani we call it ‘chudvo’). There is a very popular(but very old) restaurant called ‘Alka’ in Kumta(they also sell munchies and sweets). Their ‘chudvo’ is one of the best and loved by all. During the wedding functions, people make this at home. This is served at the wedding and also served to the guests/relatives before and after wedding. One of the perfect accompaniment with a simple upma. Other times we buy it from ‘alka’. Aayi has stopped preparing it these days, but she would prepare this frequently when we were kids.

I had missed Dasara celebrations as I am very busy these days. But Diwali being one of the biggest festival for us, I don’t want to miss it. So I prepared this ‘chudvo’ yesterday. It requires a lot of patience as the thick poha and other things needs to be deep fried in very hot oil on a very low flame. Though this is not very healthy due to the deep frying, I prefer this once in a while. (Non deep frying version is here).

The most important thing I miss here is diwali celebrations with lighting of lamps and the crackers. My dad would decorate the house with colored lights, we would light lamps(or candles) in front of the house. We don’t make any specific food on this day, only normal food with some sweets. But the pooja and rituals performed on the 4 days of diwali were so much fun. Here is how we celebrate the 4 days.

– On previous evening of diwali (Thrayodashi) we decorate the water well as well as the vessels (‘kolse’-Konkani or ‘koda’-Kannada or ‘matka’-Hindi) with a creeper called “Karita vali”. “Karit” is a small ping pong ball sized special cucumber with bitter taste. The bathrooms as well as the place were water is filled and heated for bath called as ‘bhan’ are decorated. In the evening, a pooja is done to the water well and then water is taken out and filled in ‘bhan’. This water is called ‘bhangra(golden) udak(water)’

– Next day, I mean the first day of Diwali, is celebrated as “Naraka Chaturdashi”- Ashweja Vadhya Chaturdashi according to Hindu calender. According to Hindu Puranas, Lord Krishna killed evil Narakasura on this day and returned home. In order to overcome his fatigue, his mother Dewaki gave oil bath to him. To celebrate this event, all members of the house getup early this day, apply oil to body and take bath (from the ‘bhangra udak’). Food is taken only after the bath. According to traditions, a small piece of ‘Karit’ is eaten and then sweet poha is served. Some people also have a tradition of ‘aarti’ this day. Elders of the house make all the youngsters to stand in front of a diya(lamp) and make aarti to them (here also the youngsters first break a ‘Karit’ with their legs and then taste it). I don’t know the significance of ‘Karit’ in this. If anyone of you know, please leave a comment.
In the evening, aarti is done to daughter and new son-in-laws and then gifts are given to them. (After the wedding, the first Diwali has more significance. The couple has to go to the girl’s place and there aarti is done).

– Next day, Amavasye, is celebrated as “Dhana lakshmi pooja”. Dhana meaning money. This is the pooja of ‘goddess of wealth’ – Lakshmi. On this day, pooja is performed to all the vehicles in the house(“Vahan pooja”). The shopkeepers decorate their shops and a Lakshmi photo. Lots of coins are kept in front of the photo and pooja is performed. Some sweets are distributed after the pooja.

– Next day, Padya, is celebrated as “Dhanya lakshmi pooja”. Dhanya meaning grain, in other words it is a pooja of ‘Goddess of food’ – Lakshmi. This day is also celebrated as “Gopooje” – pooja of holy cow. A sweet dosa called Gandarli/surnali is offered to the cows. They are decorated well and the pooja is done.
In the evening, the books are kept in front of the god and pooja is performed. Same time ‘aarti’ is done to small children in the house.
All the 4 days, crackers are burnt and lamps are lighted in the night.

Now coming back to the ‘chudva’ recipe. This is my entry to Vee’s Diwali treats.

Ingredients:
Thick poha(avalakki or rice flakes) 2 cups
Poha masala 2 tea spns
Pea nuts 1 tbl spn
Split dalia(hurigadale/putani) 1 tbl spn
Curry leaves 1 strand
Red chilies 2-3
Sugar 1 tea spn
Salt 1 tea spn
Dry coconut pieces 1 tbl spn
Sev 1/2 cup

Peanuts, dalia, coconut and the powders can be increased or decreased according to taste.
In India, there are 3 types of poha available. Thin, medium and thick. The thick kind is also called as ‘chooda poha or chudva phovu’. Since I was having only medium thickness poha here, I used the same for this. But the thick poha is best suitable for this.

Method:
Mix poha masala, sugar and salt. Keep it aside.

Heat oil. Deep fry pea nuts. Take in a large bowl.

Deep fry dalia and take out. Just for fun, I added few Chana dal also, but it is NOT required.

Deep fry curry leaves, red chili pieces and coconut. Take out.

Deep fry poha, one table spoon at a time. Fry on a very low flame. They before slightly puffed after frying. (If not fried properly, the entire ‘chudvo’ becomes hard).

Add the masalas to the fried poha, sev(mix besan, a pinch of soda, salt with water and press into hot oil using chakli press. Use the disc with many tiny holes to make the sev) and other things and mix well.

When it is cooled to room temperature, store in an air tight container.

Preparation time : 30-45mins

Updated on 25th Oct 2006: Following are the pictures of “Udak bharche”(thrayodashi celebrations – read above) taken at my native Kodkani.

Chudvo/chooda/chivda (Konkani style) Read More »

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