Konkani festivals

PathoLi

Gouri pooja
Patholi (pronounced as ‘paathoLi’) is the most important sweet dish for Gowri festival(which is on coming Sunday) and also for Nagar Panchami. During these festivals, we can find ‘Turmeric leaves’ at native (those who are in India, can find these leaves in Mangalore stores). Turmeric or plumeria or Frangipani(called as Kudchampe in Konkani, thanks Baab for the English name) leaves are used for this dish.

patholi
Gowri festival is one of the most popular festivals for Konkani women. We celebrate it as ‘Vaayna pooja’ (coconut pooja is performed on this day and those coconuts are called ‘Vaayn’). Like Ganapathi pooja, this is also done in places where people have kept this vrata/pooja. Some people do only Vayna pooja, some people keep a Gowri photo and perform the pooja, depends on how they have been following it for generations. My mother performs vayna pooja, here is how she does it

– Coconuts are washed with turmeric water. (Usually 11, 15, 25 coconuts are used. I have no idea about the significance of these numbers).
Kajal is applied to one eye, sandalwood paste(gandh) to second eye and kumkum to third eye (I think this is done as a significance of mangalya). Few people apply Kajal to two eyes, kumkum and gandh in between to signify two eyes of coconut as two eyes of Goddess gowri.
– A circular mark is done around the coconuts with chalk.
– A reddish colored thread is available in market which is used for this festival. 5 black beads(similar to the ones in Mangalsutra) are inserted into the thread and then the thread is tied into a knot (to hold the beads together).
– Infront of god, few banana leaves are spread on the floor. A layer of rice is spread.
– On top of this the coconuts are kept.
– Few oil lamps are kept on the coconut (usually 5 lamps and more).
– The threads with beads are kept on one of coconut.
– One hair brush, 5 green bangles are kept (my mom does not keep these two. It depends on how things are followed for generations).
– Decorated with flowers

After all these things are done, the pooja is performed. As prasadam, ‘patholi’ and ‘goDa phovu’ (Mix jaggery with coconut. Then mix poha).

After the pooja is performed, the coconuts are given to temples(kuldevata temple) and elder women (only to muttaide/suhaagans, meaning whose husbands are alive).

The thread is tied to the mangalsutra.
The Gowri pooja along with photo or statue of Gowri is much more elaborate than this. (I do not know the exact procedure as my mom only performed Vayna pooja).

(I hope this post is understandable. I have done my best to write about everything related to the pooja).

Ingredients for Patholi:
Coconut 1 cup
Rice 1 cup
Poha(avalakki) 1/4 cup (one handful)
Salt
Turmeric leaves 8-10 or parchment paper
For filling:
Coconut 3/4 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder 1/2 tea spn

Method:
Soak the rice in water for around 1hr.
Grind it along with coconut (without adding much water). Now add washed poha and grind to get a smooth paste. Add salt.

Heat coconut and jaggery mixing continuously till the jaggery melts and forms a uniform mixture. Add the cardamom powder.

Spread a thin layer of the rice paste on the leaf (or parchment paper piece).

patholi1
patholi2

Spread around 1-2 tea spns of stuffing on it.

patholi3

Fold the leaf(or parchment paper) as shown.

patholi4

Pile in the steamer or in a cooker vessel.

Steam it for around 12-15mins.

patholi5

Preparation time : 40min
Makes around 8-10 patholis

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Sugarless Rice Pudding (Cheppi Kheeri)

cheppi kheeri
Cheppi
(bland taste) kheeri (kheer in Marathi means ‘payasam‘ or ‘pudding’, the dish I am referring to is ‘kheeri‘ the difference may be because there is no sugar in it) is a festival dish. At my native it is usually prepared as the offering to god on the next day of Janmashtami. (I explained about Janmashtami rituals yesterday, I have uploaded some of the pictures that I had clicked last year on Janmashtami).

On Janmashtami all the decorations are done as shown here, the next day, some rituals are followed to take out these decorations. The poojari (or bhatmam) goes to the places where he had kept the saligram and bala-krishna statue previous day. He does the pooja and offers ‘cheppi kheeri‘, ‘cow’s milk’, ‘venti randayi‘ to god. After the offerings are done, bhatmam takes off the decorations and takes his saligram and bala-krishna statue back with him. The tulsi and other decorations are discarded near ashoka katte(a round stone structure beneath the tree where the poojas are offered).

Venti randayi is a side dish prepared by cooking chana and colocasia leaves and stems (venti literally means stem) in coconut gravy. Usually a few pieces of leaves are tied into knots and put into the dish, this is the specialty of the dish). Following is the picture of the leaves being cut (taken during Janmashtami 2005 at my native, last year I didn’t know I would be writing this post, otherwise I would have taken the detailed pictures).

Cutting colocasia leaves and stems for ‘venti randayi

Cheppi kheeri‘ looks like Rice congee, but since coconut or milk is used, it looks completely white. The main aroma of this dish comes from ‘turmeric leaves’ (haldi panna). These leaves are grown at home and usually used in variety of dishes for their aroma. (I do not think these are available outside India).

Pictorial:

cheppi kheeri1  cheppi kheeri2
cheppi kheeri3

Cook rice. Grind coconut with enough water to smooth paste. Add this paste to rice and cook. Tie each turmeric leaf into a knot and add to the dish.
cheppi kheeri4  cheppi kheeri5
Cook for around 5mins.
People like it to eat with or without salt. The leaves are discarded while eating.

Sugarless rice pudding(Cheppi kheeri)

A sugarless pudding made with rice and coconut that is eaten on the day after Krishnashtami in Konkani homes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup dosa rice or any normal white rice
  • 3/4 cup fresh coconut
  • 1-2 turmeric leaves

Instructions
 

  • Cook rice.
  • Grind coconut with enough water to smooth paste. Add this paste to rice and cook.
  • Tie each turmeric leaf into a knot and add to the dish.
  • Cook for around 5mins.
  • People like it to eat with or without salt. The leaves are discarded while eating.

cheppi kheeri

 

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Panchakajjaya with jaggery (goDa panchakajjaya or paanch kadaay)

Today is the auspicious day of Srikrishna Janmashtami, a hindu festival celebrating the birth of lord Krishna. This is my favourite festival among all hindu festivals. Here is how we celebrate it.

Few people keep a fast (without food and water) on this day. But at my home, we used to eat a light fasting lunch. The main celebrations start in the night. At our native, this pooja is performed only in few houses and in temples. Men gather at a place to do the pooja.

The poojari (called as ‘bhatmam’ in Konkani) goes to these places and lends them small saligram and a statue of Bala-Krishna (child krishna, The statue looks similar to the above picture). Bhatmam does the initial pooja to both saligram and statue and prepares the ‘Panchamrit/panchamritam’, offering prepared by mixing ‘panch’ – 5, amrit – immortal nectar. The main ingredients here are milk, sugar, yogurt(curd), honey and jaggery (molasses).

Then the men at home/temple carry on with the remaining procedures. They decorate god with lotus and other flowers. Then one of the men take the lead and read 1000 names of lord Krishna (Vishnu sahasranama), others follow him, with each name, men offer one tulsi dala (two leaves connected together) to lord. After 500 names one pooja is performed and after all the names are chanted, a offering of food followed with the main pooja is performed. So at the end of the pooja, the small statue of krishna would be completely covered with tulsi leaves and it won’t be visible from outside. The whole procedure starts around 8 in the night and goes on for around 2 hours (depending on the speed with which men chant the names). Usually at the final pooja, the arrangement looks like this (picture was taken during Janmashtami 2005 at my native)

The offering to god on this occasion are very simple, but we make a variety of dishes. They include
– Cashewnut laddoos (these days these are replaced by sesame laddoos with few roasted cashewnuts)
– Layya pitto (Layyi or layya is a kind of unsalted popcorn. Layyi pitto is coarsely powdered popcorn. This powder is mixed well with coconut and jaggery, cardamom, ghee and offered to god)
– Rosa phovu (Poha soaked in coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom powder)
– Dhaya phovu (Poha soaked in curd/yogurt and sugar)
– Cucumber pieces or Taushe hulel
– GoDa panchkajjaya (Procedure is given below. GoD meaning jaggery in Konkani)

Following picture was taken during Janmashtami 2005. In the top vessel-layya pitto, left-sesame laddoos, bottom-panchakajjaya, right-cucumber pieces can be seen.

So when we were kids, we used to sit patiently and eat this ‘prasad/prasadam’. Mom would make a simple dinner of rice, daali thoy and we would be more than happy to eat dinner along with her pickles and taushe hulel.The next day of Janmashtami is also special. I would write more about it tomorrow.

Ingredients:
Dalia split (Hurikadale or putani) 1/2 cup
Fresh coconut (grated) 2 tbl spns
Molasses(black jaggery) 1 tbl spn
Cardamom powder 1/2 tea spn
Sesame seeds (til) 1 tea spn
Ghee 1 tea spn

Method:
Dry roast dalia splits(hurikadale) and coarsely powder them.
Wash sesame seeds and dry roast them (till they split open).
Mix molasses and coconut (by hand). Add the dalia powder, sesame seeds, cardamom and ghee to it and mix well.


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Wheat flour laddu (Ganva guLi/Chirmund)

Wheat flour laddu
Wheat Flour Laddu (Ganva Guli)

Ganva(konkani) or Genhu(hindi) (I donno how to write down the pronunciation of ‘n’ in Ganvu/Genhu, hope all my Indian friends know how to say this word) means wheat. GuLi is laddu in Konkani. This sweet is called ‘Chirmund’ in South Kanara.

‘Ganva laddu’ is the most famous sweet in North Kanara. If you go to any house, you will find this. It remains good for a long time. So people make them and store for months.

These laddus are very fragile, so they tend to break easily while eating. Also, do not eat them in a hurry, you might choke because they get struck easily in the throat if tried eating very fast. But still, once you eat them, I am sure you cannot stop it, they are very very tasty and healthy too.

Wheat flour laddu (Ganva guLi/Chirmund)

Delicate and tasty laddus made with wheat flour, spiced with cardamom and cloves.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Konkani
Servings 6 -7 laddus

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tea spn cardamom powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 cup approx ghee
  • 1 tea spn raisins dry grapes

Instructions
 

  • Heat a tea spn of ghee and fry cloves.
  • Add wheat flour and fry on a very low flame for around 10min, till you get the aroma.
  • Now add sugar and fry for 5min.
  • Add cardamom and raisins.
  • Now add the remaining ghee, cool it a bit. Do not cool completely, laddu should be made when the mixture is still hot.
  • Make laddus. They tend to break in hand. It requires a bit of patience to bind these laddus, atleast for the first time.
  • Add more ghee, if you find it difficult to bind into laddu.
  • Store in air tight container after cooling the laddus to room temperature.

 

 

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