The many flavours of Ganesha Habba

The festival season is back on and that only means foodies are back to talk about what they like to have the most. As Ganesha Chaturthi is around the corner, the time to indulge ourselves in all things delicious has come. The festival is a celebration of the Hindu god Ganesha, who also adores food.

The 10-day long festival is celebrated grandly across the state. Apart from the colourful celebration of the festival, food plays a major part. As Lord Ganesha loves food, it’s natural that there’s a there are sweet options for one to enjoy.

One of the main dishes that is associated with Ganesha Chaturthi is ‘modak’. The sweet rice flour dumpling has a version that is fried and steamed. It’s the filling of jaggery and coconut that makes it everyone’s favourite. Similar to modak is ‘karanji’. It’s a Karnataka style crescent-shaped deep-fried pastry filled with, again, sugar or jaggery and grated coconut. The composition and taste of this pastry are same as a modak, but it is the shape that makes them different.

“Modaka is the most important dish. All the other dishes are made for naivedya (offering) as it is a tradition to offer 21 dishes during the puja,” says Srusti Patil, a professional.

“We make all the dishes as per tradition and perform the puja. But my favourite is the ‘kaara idlis’ which were made at my mother’s place. It is one of those traditional dishes that we still make,” she adds. 

At food blogger Smitha Kalluraya, the trademark dish of South Karnataka and Udupi, Kotte Kadubu, is her favourite. It’s a version of idli steamed using jackfruit leaves. 

Apart from this dish, she also likes ‘karjikai’, ‘kai kadubu’, ‘sundal’ and ‘neiappam’. She says, “I like celebrating festivals by following traditions. I want to pass on these traditions to my kids so that they can relate to it and continue celebrating it as the years go by.” 

It’s not just overdose of sweet though. Payasam, kosambri, chitrannna, chakli, rava ladoo, thambittu are few of the other dishes that are prepared during the festival. 

Nitya Sriram, content writer, looks forward to having ‘Poori with batata bhaji’ that her mother prepares. “The dry potato sabzi made with mild spices and puffy hot pooris is a dish that I grew up having over the years. I’ve tried making it on my own over the years but I haven’t been able to make it the way my mother does. There’s a secret ingredient that she hasn’t told me about yet,” she laughs.

 

Sugarfree Dates and Nuts Ladoo

Ingredients

1 cup Seedless Dates / Khajoor
2 - 3 tbsp Cashew
2 - 3 tbsp Almonds badam
2 - 3 tbsp Pistachios
2 - 3 tbsp White sesame seeds
1/4 cup Flax seeds
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 cup desiccated coconut / roasted dry coconut

Method

Dry roast the nuts on medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Let them cool. Coarse powder roasted nuts in a mixer.
Dry roast sesame seeds and flax seeds separately till they splutter. Coarse powder them.
Deseed and chop the dates into small pieces and grind it in a mixer.
Heat ghee in a non-stick pan and add dates. Saute on a medium to low flame till dates become soft and pulpy. It may take 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your quality of dates.
Add coarsely powdered nuts, flax seeds and sesame powder to the dates. Mix everything well.
Take it off the heat.
When it’s cool enough to handle, make ladoos of your desired size.
Roll them in the desiccated coconut powder. Your sugarfree dates and nuts ladoo is ready.

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The many flavours of Ganesha Habba

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