A lavish spread of delicacies

Festival Food

A lavish spread  of delicacies

With Ganesha Habba around the corner, the City has swung into festive mode. Bangaloreans are busy indulging in a spot of shopping and making plans to spend time with friends and family over the extended weekend. Another aspect of the occasion that many are looking forward to is the food.

Most households come up with a lavish spread of delicacies on Ganesha Habba; kitchens are bustling with activity days in advance and the result is an array of sumptuous sweets and savouries.

One delicacy that finds a place in nearly every household is modaka, a steamed rice-flour dish stuffed with coconut and cardamom, which is supposed to be the god’s favourite. For this

reason, it’s a dish that is often associated with the festival and Poornima, a professional, says that it’s something that her mother always serves on the occasion. “For me, Ganesha Habba is all about modaka. Even now, my mother makes lots of them for the extended family and friends who come over for the festival. She normally sticks to the traditional recipe although a couple of times, she has experimented by adding rose water and it’s always been delicious,” she says.

Other dishes that are generally served on the festival include obbattu, a soft sweet dish made with dal, jaggery and coconut; kadabu and payasa. Kosambari, a fresh, crunchy salad made with dal, is also popular. Ranjini, a professional, admits that her entire family makes a production out of cooking during the habba. They gather in the kitchen on the day of the festival and together, churn up a lavish spread that they then tuck into.

“The highlight of the meal will be the modaka and kadabu for Ganesha Habba. Of course, we make obbattu for Gowri Habba as well,” she says. Ranjini adds that she’s particular about cooking the dishes fresh on the day of the festival itself. “We first offer it to the god and then eat it ourselves. The food should be cooked with purity. We make it a point to eat together,” she explains.

Interestingly, people from across the country who have settled in Bangalore have developed a taste for these dishes. Pratul, a Bengali who moved to the City a few years ago, explains that his family enjoyed the food so much that they’ve started preparing payasa at home.

   “We have always celebrated the festival but many of these dishes were new to us when we came to Bangalore. After spending some time in the City, we’ve grown to like them. We don’t always make the full traditional spread at home but payasa is prepared. We also have malpoa,” he says, adding that they sometimes drop into friends’ places to sample the real deal. “I love kosambari, bisi bele bath and modaka,” he admits.
Ashwini, a software engineer, admits that food is a big part of the festival.

   “I love each and every one of the dishes that are prepared during Ganesha Habba. Of course, that’s largely because I have such wonderful memories of sitting around a table with family and close friends and tucking into them. These are happy associations and after all, spending time together is what the festival is really about,” she concludes.

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