Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mystic India: Ganesha Chathurti

'Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakoti Samaprabha Nirvighnam Kurumedeva Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada'

Mum and dad always taught me to say this little prayer - I've said it before the much feared exams, before I walked into the mantap on my wedding day, before we boarded our first flight overseas...and a million other times, and I know the power of this simple sanskrit shloka (hymn/prayer). It fills me with an immense calm, gives me confidence and spills in an abundance of positive feelings.

The endearing elephant God Ganesha has been my protector, my guide and my confidant. I have the greatest faith in Him. And on this special day, Ganesha Chathurti, I wanted to cook Him a special meal, as He loves to eat!
(You can read some interesting stories at Wikipedia)

Here's what was on the menu -

karjikai/kadubu (sweet)
modak/kozhakatai (sweet)
semiya payasa (sweet porridge)
vadai (deep fried urad dal patties)
ambode (deep fried chana dal patties)
hesarubele kosambri (salad)
kadale usli/sundal (spiced chickpeas)
vangibath (spicy rice with vegetables)
rasam/saaru (lentil soup)
beans palya (mildly flavoured beans)

I am not posting all recipes today simply because there were too many things! I will, however, share the recipe for my favourite, and I'm quite sure, Ganesha's too :)

Karjikai - it's sweet, it's crispy and it's filled with sugary goodness!

  • 2 cups fine semolina (chiroti rava)
  • 1 cup plain flour (maida)
  • 2 tbspn ghee (clarified butter)
  • a pinch of salt and turmeric
  • oil/ghee for deep frying
For the filling -
  • 1 cup grated coconut - use fresh coconut for best results, but you could use desiccated coconut as a substitute
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mixed nuts - sultanas/raisins, cashews, almonds and pistachio, lightly fried in a tspn of ghee
  • 1 tbspn roasted poppy seeds
  • 1/4 tspn cardamom powder
  1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, combine semolina, flour, salt and turmeric and rub in 2 tbspns of ghee.
  3. Using water, knead into a stiff dough. Be careful not to use too much water.
  4. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside for about 5 mins.
  5. Heat oil/ghee in a wok/kadai on medium flame.
  6. Take small portions of the dough, roll, fill with a spoonful of the filling, fold over into a crescent and seal the edge by pressing with a fork.
  7. Deep fry until lightly brown.
Being several miles away from home, we missed our families, and the excitement and laughter of the festival. But we did our best to recreate the mood here - prayers, good food and friends to share it with, after all, that's what most Indian festivals are all about, a celebration of life!

So, I end my post with a sincere prayer -

"Oh Lord Ganesha, please bless us and watch over us at all times.
Shower the world with peace, good health, happiness and prosperity..."


Nithya said...

Wow... Lovely celebration and the menu is absolutely tempting. :)

Vani said...

I think Ganesha is the cutest looking God :) Nice spread, Divya! I'm sure he loved it :) said...

Great recipes... Thanks.


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