Ganesh Chaturthi is THE festival I never miss to celebrate. The festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha. Just like many, Ganesha happens to be my favorite God too. Our childhood did revolve around listening to mythological stories woven beautifully by my paternal grandma during our bed-time.
Larger than life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha have been making rounds in market, weeks before the festival. That's good enough an hint that the festival is just round the corner. Public celebrations of the festival, tableau and processions are hugely popular with streets laced with rice bulbs, music and heavily decorated pandals that host the God for 10 odd days.
Lord Ganesh is often associated with food and is known for his fondness for sweets like modaks, laddus, karjikai and savories like chakklis, kadabu and kodbale. Every Chaturthi, we have a ritual at home of waking up early for the bath, followed by puja. An array of dishes, both sweet and savory made at home by my mom a day before the festival are offered to Lord Ganesha on this day. The celebration goes on for 11 days, hence the sweets and savories are made in large quantities so that can last long. Like every year, Modaks will be made to offer the Lord this year too. Apart from this, we have Shankarpali, Nippattu, Huri Shenga, Tambittu and Panchakajjaya to offer our Ganesha this year. Fortunately, I have my mom close by, so it's been a combined effort. I shall share the recipes for Shankarpali and Tambittu today. Nippattu shall be on another post.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup ghee
Pinch of salt
Oil or Ghee for deep-frying
Mix the milk, sugar and ghee in a kadhai and heat to a boil. When it is warm enough to touch add the salt followed by flour and stir well. Add the flour till it comes to a kneading consistency, good enough to form a soft dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough flat to a centimeter thick. Using a pizza-cutter cut into diamond shapes. Deep fry them in hot oil/ghee till they turn golden brown. Fry on medium low heat. High heat will result in dark brown crust on the outsides and under cooked beneath. Remove and drain on a kitchen paper.
The amount of sugar mentioned above is the right amount of sweetness we like. If you prefer it more sweeter, you may increase the amount of sugar as per your taste. The amount of flour mentioned above is an approximate number. While preparing the Shankarpalis, add in flour till it comes together to form a soft dough.
Spicy version of Shankarpali can also be made by replacing sugar with 2-3 teaspoons of chilli powder and omitting the cardamom powder. Shankarpali is a popular sweet all across the country. It's called Shakkarpare in the north while it's Shankarpali in the south. The names may differ, but the recipe is almost similar. It's pretty popular in Maharashtra and Karnataka and is often made on festivals in large quantities to offer the Lord and distribute among family and friends.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup hurigadale hittu (roasted bengal gram powder)
1/4 cup coarsely ground roasted peanuts
1 1/2 cup grated dry coconut
1 cup grated jaggery
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
2 tsp sesame seeds
Dry roast rice in a hot pan till it turns golden. Allow it cool. Grind it with roasted chickpeas to a fine powder.
Dry roast the grated dry coconut and sesame seeds till brown and set aside.
Take ghee in a fry pan/kadai and heat it till it's hot (not smoking). Dissolve the grated jaggery in hot ghee and stir well till the jaggery melts completely and the liquid just comes to a boil.
Mix together the coarsely powdered peanuts, sesame seeds and grated coconut. Add this to the boiling jaggery ghee mixture. Add the rice and roasted chickpea powder and keep stirring till the mixture becomes like a dough to make balls. Mix well to prevent the formation of lumps. Switch off the stove. Close and keep till it cools down. Grease your hands and roll balls to make tambittu.
A little tedious it may sound, but isn't that effort required to impress your God? Tambittu is a traditional sweet dish commonly made in Karnataka household, often made to offer God during festivals. Again, these laddus stay well for a couple of weeks, so store them well in air-tight containers and they are good to go for your evening chai. You can see above we made a big batch to go for a few days.
As everyone celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi today with religious fervour, here's me wishing our Ganapati a very Happy Birthday. May Lord Ganesha shower you with success in all your endeavours. Hope this Ganesh Chaturthi brings home all the happiness, prosperity & fortune.
Jai Shri Siddhi Vinayaka