One festival, many flavours

It’s a well-known fact that Ganesha habba is a festival meant for foodies with big appetites. It’s also a well-known fact that Bangalore is a mosaic, that is pieced together by people from various communities, who have chosen to call this City home. Metrolife peeped into kitchens around the City to check out what was cooking.

The Tamilians, Kannadigas and Maharashtrians were hard at work while the Gujaratis and the Keralites were more relaxed.

Saroja K R, a Kannadiga housewife who runs a household of eight people, says that preparations for the festival begin a week in advance.

The flour for the yummy chakkalis and kodubales needs to be prepared. Shopping for the ingredients needs to be done. Everything needs to be kept ready even though food can only be prepared on the day of the festival after a traditional bath.

“According to tradition, we will make either 11 or 21 kinds of dishes and those are made in pairs. For example, you make two different kinds of kosambri, two different kinds of vegetables,” she said. Along with the above mentioned delicacy, the menu will include karjikai, obbattu, payasa, and five different kinds of undes like rave unde, tambittu, yellu unde.

Saroja said in the Malnad region of Karnataka, where she’s from, they even make an unde from jackfruit seeds. The family also makes panchakajjaya which is made of yellu, kadale, ghee, kadalepappu and dry coconut.

The family does not eat breakfast and the first meal of the day is usually lunch, which is a family affair, eaten after the pooja and the taking of prashad. “Ganesha likes all fried foods and undes. For his mother Gowri though, we make all steamed dishes,” Saroja adds.

Rajalashmi Padmanaban had prepared a pre-Ganesha meal at her place. On the table was choondal, a black channa salad, uzudu vadai and kara pongal. She explained that like the Kannadigas, the Tamilians too don’t eat before the pooja. “We eat only after the Chaturthi Vayanam has been received. Only people with diabetes and those with such conditions eat before the pooja.” she says.

“The Tamilians don’t celebrate Gowri Pandige,” says Padmanaban. Ganesha Pandige is the day when the dinning table groans in these households. The menu consists of the absolutely delectable kozakottes, which can either be made sweet or spicy depending on taste. These apparently are Ganesha’s favourite dish. “Any image of Ganesha will have it,” she explained.

The Tamilians believe that these dumplings come out well when prepared for Ganesha. Apparently, it never tastes as good when cooked otherwise. “Unlike the Kannadigas, we don’t invite people for kumkum in the evening. It is a strictly family affair,” she says.

For the Maharashtrians, Ganesha festival is as big as it gets. Leelavati K U and her daughter-in-law Leelavati K G sat down to explain what Maharashtrians cook to please the God. Sweet and kara modak, shengolae or wheat balls drenched on melted jaggery, sojji oondai or rava oondai and kaddlepuri garnished with boondi are made. Harboore or boiled and garnished corn, black channa and ground nuts are offered to the god along with five kinds of fruit.

“We put ghee in everything we make that day. Curds and tulsi are also important,” Leelavati KG informs and continues, “For Gowri we make oobathu, kheer, pooran polli and vada.”

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