By – Veena Balakrishnan
We are at that time of the year, with one festival right behind the other. It is a busy and fun time, which however leaves us scratching our heads, what can I do this year?
With Raksha Bandhan in the last issue, we have started our series of festive delicacies.
Celebrating the divinity of Lord Krishna
Krishna Janmashtami, Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti, Sree Jayanti or simply Janmashtami is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. This is celebrated all across India with traditions that are special to every culture.
As a kid I remember, helping my mom with Rangoli on our front door & then dipping my brother’s foot in a thin rice batter (used for Rangoli) and making him walk from the door to the pooja room. Then we would do the pooja and get to eat cheedai, tattai and payasam. I also loved dressing up my brother like Balakrishna with the peacock feather on his head.
Then in Bombay I got to enjoy the festive Dahi Handi; in the East, they fast till midnight, and there is Bhagwat Gita pravachan. In Jammu, Kite flying is an important part of the festivities. In North India, devotees celebrate Krishna’s childhood with idols placed in swings and cradles. I am sure there are many other unique traditions and yummy treats across India.
To celebrate Lord Krishna’s fascination for ‘dahi’ or yoghurt, I am putting together some recipes that are specially prepared on this day.
Yummy accompaniment with puris, parathas or just like that. You can add flavours of your choice. I’ve had one with cardamom and rose water which was very yummy. I am sharing a traditional one here.
- Curd / Yoghurt – 1 kg (use natural pot set yoghurt)
- Powdered Sugar – ½ cup
- Milk – 1 tsp
- Saffron (Kesar) strands – few
- Cardamom – ¼ tsp (powdered)
- Nuts of your choice (pistachios/ almonds/ cashew) – chopped – ¼ cup
- Hang the yoghurt in a muslin cloth for up to 5 hours or until all the whey drips out fully.
- Soak the saffron strands in a tablespoon milk and set aside
- In a bowl, mix the hung curd and sugar with a whisk. Now add the saffron milk and cardamom powder and stir gently to combine.
- Garnish with the chopped nuts before serving. You could also roast the nuts before garnishing.
- Serve chilled
I used to look forward to Janmashtami for having tattais mainly because they were spicy and yummy. They are a bigger version of the puris from sev puri. They are almost double in size and a perfect snack with the afternoon tea. So make some extra so you don’t have to think about afternoon snacks for the next few days.
- Rice Powder – 4 cups
- Urad Dal powder – ½ cup
- Chana Dal – 1 tbsp (soaked)
- Chilly powder – 1 tbsp (increase or decrease according to taste)
- Coconut slices – 1 tbsp
- Hing / asafoetida – ½ tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig – chopped
- Butter – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- Mix all ingredients and add a little water and knead into a dough. Add water only as needed this will ensure that the tattai doesn’t suck in a lot of oil when you fry it.
- Make small balls, and flatten it with your hand to make thin puris.
- Lay these puris on a sheet of paper or muslin cloth for 15 minutes (the paper/fabric will absorb some excess water)
- Deep fry it in hot oil.
The famous sweet yoghurt from Bengal and Orissa. It’s creamy and you cannot stop at one spoon!
- Full cream milk – 1 litre
- Sugar – 8 to 9 tbsp
- Home set yoghurt – 2 tbsp
- Use a good thick-bottomed, non-stick pan for boiling the milk.
- As it starts boiling put half the sugar in the milk and let it boil on low flame.
- In a separate pan, add the other sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and caramelise it till it becomes golden brown.
- Now add the caramelised sugar into the boiling milk and let it boil on low flame till it reduces to half.
- Turn off the gas and let it cool down.
- When the milk gets lukewarm pour it into an earthen pot (preferably) then add the yoghurt into the milk and combine well.
- The earthen pot makes the Mishti Doi thicker as the pores absorb some of the whey. If you don’t have an earthen pot you can still use any pot of your choice.
- Cover the pot and leave it overnight to set. Because it is winter, it will be a good idea to cover the pot with a cloth.
- Serve cold.
Enjoy making a few savouries with the sweets this Janmashtami. May you all have a delicious and joyful Janmashtami, celebrating Krishna’s birthday,
(Veena is a food and nutrition enthusiast. Who loves baking and experimenting with new recipes while learning and trying the traditional ones. Check out her blog: cookwithveena.blogspot.com.au)
We welcome your comments at [email protected]