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Food and Nutrition: Festivities

By Komal Lala

Festivals bring with it joy and an expression of celebration. It’s been a trying time long enough for everyone dealing with the ongoing pandemic. Normalcy is what each one of us yearn for, to share all those moments of happiness, fun and frolic.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a much awaited celebration of Lord Ganesha the God of new beginnings and a Vighnaharta, the one who removes obstacles. The ten days of devotion in the form of havan,bhajans,prayers and aarti are divided into 4 main rituals that is Pranapratishhtha a ritual to invoke life in the idols, Shhodashopachara, the 16 ways of paying tribute, Uttarpuja, a puja performed on the last day of the festival to bid farewell and Ganpati Visarjan, the immersing, symbolising the homeward journey of Ganesha.

The centre of this festival revolves around inviting family and friends over for darshan and prasad, served with different delicacies. Sweets are a major part of the prasad offering. The auspicious start of the festivities is with mouth watering laddoos, modaks, kheer and more, made as prasad for our beloved Ganesh.

Here are some recipes of sweets that can be enjoyed and made with better nutritional value.

Jowar laddoos: A surprising twist to our wheat or besan laddoos is using jowar flour  ( Sorghum) bhakri.

Method: Knead the jowar flour to make bhakri. According to the number of laddoos required, one bhakri will make three of them. If freshly made bhakri, mash it coarsely, and if made a day prior then coarse grind it in a mixer. To it add organic brown crumbled jaggery, for each bhakri approximately one tablespoon of ghee is needed for binding and to it add almond slivers and finely chopped walnuts. Mix it well to make a dough. Roll it into small round laddoos.

 

Ragi Ukadiche Modak: Ukadiche in Marathi means steamed. In Tamil it’s known as Kozhukattai, Modhaka in Kannada, Kudumulu in Andhra. Usually these are made from rice flour or refined flour, coconut and jaggery. It’s a offering made during the homecoming of Ganesh signifying how this sweet served to him was his favourite besides laddoos. This recipe needs ragi flour for the covering, and grated nuts with coconut and jaggery.

Method: To hot water add ragi flour and 2 teaspoons of ghee. Mix it well to have a thick consistency to make a dough. Keep it covered for 10-15 minutes.

To make the filling in a pan heat 2 tablespoons spoons of ghee, grated coconut, jaggery as per the required sweetness and mix it well. Add raisins to the mixture.

Knead the ragi dough and divide into small portions to make a flat small chapati. Add the filling in the center and cover the ragi dough from all ends to give it shape. There are various ways of shaping these modaks. Steam it for 7-10 minutes to cook the covering and let the filling reach a melt in the mouth consistency.

Motichur laddoos( laddu): We are so accustomed to spotting this in every sweet shop and an all time favourite relished for several occasions. These are made by frying gram flour made into balls or boondi and mixed with sugar syrup. How about making them without gram flour and no frying!!

Method: For making motichur laddoos use broken wheat( Dalia or Daliya). On slow fire in a pan heat ghee. To it add one cup dalia, keep stirring on a low flame for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix 2 cups water and a cup of sugar with saffron strands and cardamom powder.

Mix the sugar syrup and the dalia in a cooker and allow it to steam for 8-10 minutes. The mixture thickens. Allow it to cool. Make small laddoos and add melon seeds to it.

 

Sandesh Pedas: A healthier option of having pedas can be made from cottage cheese or paneer.

Method: To make cottage cheese one can use cow’s milk. Boil about a litre of milk and to add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Keep stirring it till it forms a grainy look and the whey gets separated. Strain the whey and allow the cottage cheese to cool. Knead it well and to it add powdered cinnamon and brown sugar to taste. Make a smooth dough. Shape it in the form of pedas. Garnish it with a rose petal or almond slivers or saffron strands.

 

 

Dry fruit roll: Dates are naturally sweet and nutritious.

Method: Dry roast nuts such as almonds, cashews,peeled pistachios for 15-20 mins. Let it cool. Dry roast poppy seeds and flaxseeds till they splutter. Keep aside.

Deseed the dates and soften it by heating in 1-2 tablespoons of ghee as per the quantity. Mash or grind it to make a soft consistency. The nuts can be cut into fine pieces or coarsely grind them. Add the nuts and the poppy seeds in the pan while the flaxseeds can be powdered, blend all of these with the dates and mix well. Cool it and form a roll. Cover the roll tightly in a foil and refrigerate. Keep it for 3-4 hours. Remove the foil and cut into round circular pieces.

 

 

Author: Komal Lala,

               Nutritionist

Komal Lala is a nutritionist and a health coach, certified in weight management and clinical nutrition from ACSM, a Diploma in health education DNHE, PG in Clinical Nutrition. She is affiliated to NSI (Nutrition Society of India) and IAPEN (Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition).You can contact her at [email protected]

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