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Foods Of Janmashtami

The savories to share with Shri Krishna this festival season.

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Religious festivals hold magical sway over Hindus and food is often at their center. Shree Krishna Janmashtami, which falls on Aug 14, celebrates Lord Krishna’s birthday, during which temples create cradles and decorate them with fragrant, multi- hued flowers, decorative beads, zari borders, nuts and fruits. Devotees fast all day. As midnight approaches, Lord Krishna is bathed in a mixture of holy water from the Ganges, milk, honey and yoghurt. He is then dressed in beautiful clothes and jewelry and returned to his cradle.

 
At the stroke of midnight, firecrackers are lit to the sound of cymbals and the beating of drums to usher in the lord’s birth. The devotees break their fast in the morning with Krishna’s favorite sweets and savories.

SWEETS

Chocolate Burfi

2 liters milk
½ lb slab of milk chocolate
1 oz. each of sliced almonds, pistachios and walnuts
A few drops of vanilla essence
5 oz. sugar
Silver foil


Melt chocolate and keep warm. Heat milk and sugar over slow fire and stir until it turns thick and separates from the sides of the vessel. Blend in nuts, essence and melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly and remove from fire. Spread on a greased thali and cover with silver foil. Set aside until cold, then cut into neat squares and store in airtight container.

Peda

2 liters milk
5 oz. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
½ tsp. saffron strands
1 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. refined flour
Handful of finely sliced pistachio nuts


Boil milk and sugar over slow fire until mixture turns thick. Add ½ teaspoon refined flour and cook until mixture separates from sides of vessel. Remove from fire, cover and set aside for 5 hours in refrigerator or cool dry place. Soak saffron in 1 tbsp. hot milk for five minutes and then crush to paste. Mix saffron with other ingredients except pistachios. Form mixture into small, round flat discs and press few sliced nuts in center of one side of peda. Set aside until it hardens and store in airtight container.

Rabdi

2 liters milk
4 oz. sugar
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
1 oz. almonds and pistachios blanched and sliced
A few drops of rose essence

 
Place milk in a heavy pan with sugar and cardamom seeds and cook on slow fire, stirring until mixture is reduced to ¾ of its original quantity. Remove from fire. Mix in nuts and essence and serve hot or cold.


Besan Ladoos

1 lbs. chickpea flour
2 ½ oz. ghee (clarified butter)
1 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tbsps. cardamom seeds
2 tbsps. each of sliced almonds and pistachios


Heat ghee and fry chick pea flour over slow fire, stirring often until golden. Remove from fire, blend in remaining ingredients. Cool till warm, form into lime-sized balls with wet hands and store in airtight container.

Churma Ladoos

1 lbs. whole-wheat flour
1 oz. semolina
1/4 lbs. ghee
4 tbsps. sliced almonds, cashewnuts
and pistachios
1 tbsp. cardamom powder


Mix flour and semolina, add ¼ lb. ghee and enough milk to form stiff dough. Make small balls and set aside. Heat ½ lbs. ghee and fry balls over a slow fire until crisp and golden. Drain, cool fried balls and grind to a paste. Mix nuts and cardamom seeds, add enough ghee to bind ingredients together. Form into round balls cool thoroughly and store in airtight container.

 
Dry Fruit Kheer


2 liters whole milk
5 oz. blanched, ground almonds and hazelnuts
1 oz. whole roasted pistachios, cashew nuts and almonds
1 tbsp. cardamom seeds
½ 1bs. sugar
½ tsp. saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot milk


Heat milk, sugar, and cardamom slowly in heavy vessel. When sugar dissolves, add ground nuts and stir until mixture is reduced to half its original quantity. Add saffron and put in serving bowl and decorate with whole nuts.

SAVORIES

Dry Fruit Kachori

¼ lbs. flour
2 tablespoons ghee
Sea salt to taste

For filling

 
¼ lbs. green peas shelled and boiled
1 tbsp. each of diced walnuts, groundnuts,
cashewnuts and raisins
2 chilies minced
Handful of coriander leaves
¼ tsp. sugar
½ finely grated coconut
1 tsp. dhania-jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala
Sea salt, chili powder and lime juice to taste


Mix flour and salt, rub in ghee and then add enough water to form stiff dough. Mash peas coarsely and mix with all filling ingredients. Divide dough into small cups, stuff with filling, gather the edges together and form into round and smooth balls. Flatten with hands into small disc. Heat 1 lb ghee until smoking, lower heat and fry over a gentle heat to golden brown color. Drain and serve with sweet tamarind or green chutney.

Samosas

For shell

8 oz. flour
2 tbsps. oil
Salt to taste


For filling

8 oz. boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
2 oz. boiled peas
2 tbsps. chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
1 green chili chopped finely
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder
Salt to taste


 
Mix flour, salt and oil. Add enough water to form stiff dough.
Mix filling ingredients. Make small ball of dough, dab with dry flour and roll out each ball into small circle. Cut circle into two. Make a cone of one half of circle and stuff with filling. Use water along edges to seal properly and deep fry in medium hot oil until crisp and golden.

Jholdaar Aloo Subzi

5 oz. potatoes boiled and peeled
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup water
1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
½ tsp. grated ginger
2 green chilies slit in middle
½ tsp. cumin seeds
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. chick pea flour
1 tbsp. dhania-jeera powder
Pinch of asafetida
Salt and chili to taste.


Slice all but one potatoes into pieces. Crush one potato to a paste. Heat one tablespoon oil, add potatoes and fry lightly. Mix spices and salt. Add yoghurt and gram flour and cook over a slow fire until thick. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and remove from fire. Heat 1 tbsp. oil and add cumin seeds and asafetida. When seeds start popping pour over potatoes and garnish with ginger and green chilies. Serve hot with puries.

Puri

 
2.5 oz. wheat flour
4 oz. refined flour
1 tblsp. ghee
Salt to taste


Combine ingredients with enough water to form stiff dough. Divide dough into small balls and roll into small circle. Heat enough ghee for deep frying till hot, drop each puri in the ghee and heat till it floats to the top and puffs up, fry both sides till golden. Serve piping hot.

Sweet Chutney

½ cup tamarind paste
¾ grated jaggery or molasses
1 teaspoon chat masala
1 teaspoon rock salt to suit the taste


Grind ingredients to paste.

Green Chutney

1 cup coriander leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ teaspoon grated ginger
1 green chilly
Salt to taste


Grind ingredients to a paste.


Natural Food Colors
Here are some techniques to create natural food colors. For a deeper shade in mithais add undiluted color. For softer shades dilute with water.

Green
Wash and grind raw spinach leaves, strain juice through a fine cloth.

Red or Pink
Grind raw tender beets to a paste and strain through a fine cloth.

Saffron
Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of saffron strands in 1 tbsp. hot milk

 

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Arts & Entertainment | Food | Magazine | August 2009

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