A healthy festive drink!
Last Monday we celebrated Akshay Trutiya, a religious occasion which calls for a sweet treat. “Akshay” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit and this day falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of the Indian month of Vaishakha and one of the 3 and 1/2 “the most auspicious days” or also known as “Sade-Teen Muhurt” considered by Hindus. It’s believed that Akshay Trutiya was the day when Lord Ganesha started writing epic Mahabharata to Ved Vyasa’s dictation. It’s considered auspicious to start a new venture or a new job, buy new property and jewelry too.
Every year my aajji used to celebrate Akshay trutiya by buying a gold coin and visiting the Vishnu temple. And I used to wait for her to come back so that I could get the prasad – the sweets! She tried making new sweets every time and this Moong Kheer (Porridge) was one of those innumerable treats I have had from her.
Traditionally it’s served warm but I like it chilled too. A very simple lentil kheer with just over 3 ingredients. Easy to make yet rates quite high on healthy spectrum which is quite unusual for an Indian sweet.Here is what you need.
A festive healthy drink! the two words fit in one sentence quite rarely!
- Lightly toast the moong dal with some ghee in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Do not let them turn brown. You should be able smell their nutty aroma.
- Add one cup of water to moong dal and pressure cook it for 2 whistels. They should be well cooked with very little water left in your cooking pot. It will have soft and smushy texture.
- Meanwhile, add jaggery in 1/2 cup water an dlet it dissolve completely. Strain the mixture in order to separate any impurities. Keep it aside.
- Using a potato masher or churner, mash the lentils so they become creamy but still have some bits in it.
- Put these cooked lentils and the jaggery solution in a pan and let it come to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
- Add the milk and stir till mixed well, and turn up the heat a bit. Bring it to a boil, and let it cook for another minute.
- Take it off the heat and then add the powdered ginger and the cardamom. Stir well.
Let it cool a bit before you pour it in glasses. Serve it warm. This recipe serves 4 to 6 depending on size of serving.
- Toasting helps to bring out the nuttiness which makes the kheer more flavorful. But be careful not to turn them brown or it would overpower the taste.
- Before adding milk, stir frequently as it doen't contain lot of liquid and it may stick to the bottom and burn.
- Add basil leaves and a pinch of saffron before serving. Adds another dimension to the simple flavors.
I recently came to know that this is also known as Parippu Kanji or Paruppu Kanji where “parippu” is lentils and “kanji” is porridge in Tamil and it’s almost synonymous to Shivratri in some communities. I think it completely makes sense. The kheer made of moong dal, a rich source of protein yet easy on digestion system and jaggery which is unrefined sugar, high in energy, added with milk, sounds like a perfect recipe which is light but nutritious for a fasting day. Enjoy your healthy treat!
तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला!
Makar Sankranti, marks the transition (Sankraman) of the Sun into Capricorn (Makar) rashi on its celestial path. Traditionally this has been one of many harvest seasons in India and being agriculture based community, harvest season and festivals always go hand in hand. Known by different names, it’s celebrated all over India.
In Maharashtra, we celebrate it by exchanging til-gul laddoo and halwa as token of goodwill and we fondly say “तीळ गूळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला” which means “Savor this sweet Til-Gul and may the sweetness fill your thoughts and speech”. The Til-Gul literally translates to Sesame Seeds and Jaggery. The laddoos or wadis made with jaggery, sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut not only taste good but also provide the essential oils needed in cold, dry winter days.
Even though I have made tilgul at home, Makar Sankranti doesn’t seem the same anymore. It’s just not in the air. In my school, everyone would get tilgul and halwa from home and there would be so much variety with these simple ingredients – different shapes, sizes, softness. But I always thought my mom makes the best tilgul; soft, easy to bite which melts in your mouth.
The other best part of Sankranti was Puranpoli and that makes me really nostalgic. For now here is the recipe for TilGul
Til Gul / Tilachya Wadya
Sesame Seeds, peanuts, coconut and jaggery. You can't go wrong with these.
- Roast all sesame seeds in a deep bottom skillet or kadhai, till they start changing their color. Do not get them too brown.
- Similarly, roast the peanuts. And grind them, but not into a fine powder. Crunchy pieces always taste better.
- Also roast the shredded dry coconut slightly. It takes almost no time if the skillet it already hot.
- When sesame seeds are cool enough to handle, grind them.
- In a saucepan or kadhai, take 1-2 table spoons of Ghee and add jaggery. Let it melt completely. Reduce the heat.
- Now add ground sesame seeds, peanuts and coconut and mix well until everything comes together.
- Grease a big plat with some Ghee and spread the mixture onto the plate evenly.
- While it's still hot, mark the lines with a sharp knife and let it cool down.
- Separate the wadis when completely cooled down.
- If you want to make hard wadis like Chikki, use the special Chikki Jaggery. Also when it melts, put a drop of melted jaggery in a cup of cold water, if it forms a firm ball the jaggery syrup is done. This will make hard candies.
- You can also substitute jaggery with sugar but it does not taste the same.
Wish you all a wonderful Makar Sankranti and may it bring warmth and lots of happiness in your life!
[Update] A healthy snack that can be packed and stored for a while, sending it to Kid’s Delight – Back to Hostel special event started by Srivalli
Nothing makes me miss home more than not being there for Diwali… Waking up early in the morning, getting an oil massage from mom, then a bath with ‘santoor-sandle’ soap bought specially for Diwali, helping her to make rangoli, wearing new clothes, then unlimited firecrackers followed by scrumptious faral with family… Happy Days!
Here’s wishing all my readers a very happy diwali.
May the auspicious festival of lights
illuminate your life in the year ahead with
Happiness, Health and Prosperity !
To cherish those happy moments from my childhood, I decided to make grandma’s speciality – rava laddoo.
These laddoos are so soft that they melt in your mouth instantly. The fresh coconut adds an extra texture. They are simply out of these world.
Rava Coconut Laddoo
The best thing I have ever had!
- In a kadhai, add ghee and keep the flame to low-to-medium.
- Once the ghee melts, add fine rava and roast it until you can smell it from outside your kitchen. That's when the rava is nicely roasted.
- Once it's done, add freshly grated coconut and roast for some more time and then switch off the gas.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan mix water and the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Boil it for 3-4 minutes and switch it off. This is called 'ektari paak' / sugar syrup.
- Add this sugar syrup, to the rava-coconut mixture and mix well. Make sure there are lumps.
- Add cardamom powder and mix again.
- Let the mixture cool down for couple hours. Then you can form laddoos.
This is my gift to Preeti’s Diwali Fest hosted at Preeti’s Kitchen as announced by Surbhi, also to Nupur
Krishna Janmashtami कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated all over India. In Maharashtra its popularly known as Gokulashtmi and it’s celebrated along with “Dahi Handi” with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. People make a human pyramid by standing on each other and the top most person tries to reach the “handi”, a clay pot filled with curd and aims to break it with his hand. This depicts Lord Krishna’s childhood and his love towards butter.
We worship bal gopal (बाल गोपाळ ) and we prepare his favorite dishes which include sweets and savory dishes. Then on the midnight of Janmashtami, we offer these dishes to Lord Krishna in order to welcome him on the earth. It’s believed that Gopal Kala is one of his favorite treats.
Prepare with Pohe, lahya, curd and cucumber it’s very easy to put together.
Lord Krishan's favorite and so is mine 🙂
- Soak Pohe in water for about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl mix pohe, lahya, chopped cucumber and curd and grated coconut, Add chopped cilantro and salt and sugar. Mix well.
- In a small pan, melt ghee for preparing "fodni" / tadka. Add cumin seeds, green chilis and grated ginger.
- Once done, pour this ghee over the mixture and mix well.
|| Jai Shri Krishna ||