Saraswathi pooja is celebrated on the 9th day of the Navrathri, followed by Vijayadashami on the 10th day. Saraswathi, the goddess of Education, learning and Fine Arts is worshipped on this day. Books, which indirectly represent the Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped. Books are kept on a stand and Vasthram( a cloth) is used to decorate the books and Swarna(Gold) is used to adorn the setup. Musical instruments like Veena, Mridangam and other instruments can be kept in the poojai. Then the saraswathi poojai is performed after the Vigneshwara pooja. The same day Ayudha poojai is celebrated. Along with books, Ayudham(Tools) can also be placed for ayudha poojai. Ayudha pooja is basically worshipping tools. Ayudha poojai is also applicable to Vahana(Vehicle). Vehicles like Cars, Scooters and even bicycles are included in the poojai, as they play an important role in our day-to-day lives to transport us from place to place and to keep us safe while travelling. Vehicles are washed, dried and chandan and kumkum are applied and decorated with flower garlands and we can also do deeparathana for the vehicles and a coconut is broken to ward off evil.
I remember, when I was in school, I used to keep at least one book from all the subjects and I would keep Math books on top, For Goddess Saraswathi to give more of her blessings to Math. I used to keep my sruthi box, my bharatnatyam salangai, pen, progress report and anything you could think of that is related to studies. The hilarious part of this whole thing is my dad would say, the next day Vijayadashami, after the punarpooja for books, we should read few chapters from all the books kept in the poojai to reap the benefits. I would get away by reading just one line( he he) from each book and still have a satisfaction that Goddess Saraswathi would give me good knowledge. Funny days! Well, now in the US, I keep all my daughter’s story books, color pencils and cook books ofcourse! Vijayadashami day is very auspicious to start anything new. Little kid’s Aksharabyasam( learning to write) and starting Music, Dance or any other learning venture can be done that day. The students who have already begun their learning can take blessing from their respective Guru’s on Vijayadashami day.
Neivedhyam for Saraswathi pooja
Coming to the best part of any poojai-the food. Parupu vadai, Black channa sundal, jaggery-milk payasm, rice and cooked thoor dhal are offered. If the pooja falls on a weekday(we dont have holiday for the pooja in the US), I would do just a little bit of everything for neivedhyam and focus on the pooja part.
Black Chana Sundal:
- Black chana- 1cup.
- Salt-to taste.
- Turmeric powder- a pinch.
- Lemon juice- few drops.
- oil- 1tsp.
- Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
- Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
- curry leaves- 1 arc.
- Green chilly-1(optional)
- Asafoetida- a pinch.
For Masala powder: Dry roast the below and powder them.
- Dhania or coriander seeds- 1tsp.
- Dry Red chillies- 2.
- Channa Dhal-1tsp.
- Urad dhal-1tsp.
- Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.
- Soak the black chana in water for 10-12 hours.
- Add salt and pressure cook till 1 whistle, so that it doesn’t over cook.
- Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
- Add the cooked chana to the pan, after draining excess water.
- Add the masala powder and give it a toss.
- Squeeze lemon juice.
Sending this to Shanti’s thaligai- Dussehra, dhanteras, deepavali event.
Posted in Hindu Festivals and Offerings | Tagged Akshara abyasam, Ayudha poojai, Navrathri, saraswathi pooja, vahana pooja, vehicle pooja, vijayadashami | 3 Comments »
The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi i.e. female divinity are worshipped. They are Durga, Badrakali, Amba (Jagadamba), Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bairavi, Chandi, Lalitha, Bhavani, Mookambika. Navarathri is also called “Dussehra”. The 9th day is celebrated as Saraswathi Poojai ( for Vani or Saraswathi, the Goddess of knowledge and arts) and 10th day Vijayadashami. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.
Kids look forward for this most colorful time of the year, where kalash and beautiful dolls are arranged and adorned in steps and everyday, you get treated with yummy sundals. As a kid, I would eagerly wait for Navrathri, so I could help my mom unpack the dolls from attic and arrange them in a nice way. The dolls would range from idols of God and Goddess, chettiar bommai(Grocer), wax fruits and fun stuff like marriage party, cricket field set etc. I would also add my doll house and we used to have these lovely (muthu bommai), dolls hand made by my mom with baeds.( The concept is very similar to how the birth of Jesus would be displayed in figurines, during christmas here in the US).
The best part is not just adding new dolls each year to the old collection, but also a great opprtunity for the kids to learn Hindu culture, traditions and values. My dad and I would decorate with serial lights and focus lamp and mom would delegate me to make interesting kolam(rangoli) with sabudana, chumki and color powders. My brother and I would make a park with ragi seeds or mustard seeds and make a jungle or park with that. When I was little, my mom would stich mattai(Hair decorations with flowers) and adorn me. All 9 nights, she would dress me up in different costumes. Typically, all the neighbours are invited to witness the kolu and receive tamboolam. People can sing songs- Kritis and Bhajans. Some recite devi slokas, Devimahatmiyam etc. The aaru padi veedu of Lord Muruga or Karthikeya is the latest addition to my mom’s collection( Palani, Thiruparankundram, Pazhamudhirsolai, Swamimalai, Thiruchendur, Thirutani).
The above mentioned way is how we used to celebrate Navarathri in South India(Tamil Nadu). However, living in the US, we got adapted and actually started loving how people in North India and in Gujarat celebrate navrathri. Punjabi’s do “Jaagran” and Gujarati’s do “Garba“( gummi-in tamil) and “Dandiya“( Kolattam-in tamil) and Durga pooja and arti. Every year, I make sure I take my daughter to dandiya-Garba and also show her the south indian kolu(display of dolls). It’s a lot of fun to play the garba and dandiya.
All the 10 days, I would make 10 varieties of sundals( Legumes or Lentils cooked and spiced) and offer it to Devi and consume as prasad. It is a protein rich healthy snack. I typically invite some friends home and offer them the prasad and tamboolam.
Posted in Hindu Festivals and Offerings | Tagged dandiya, Dasahara, Dussehra, Garba, kolu, navarathri, navarathri golu, Navrathri, saraswathi pooja, Sundal, vijayadashami | 4 Comments »
The festive season of Ramadan inspired me to try a Mughalai dish. So tried my hand at making this wonderfully aromatic Kashmiri fruit pulav, originally from Mughlai cuisine. Wow, what a dish it turned out to be. The flavorful long grain basmati rice tenderly cooked with milk, cream, saffron stands to give a gorgeous pastel yellow color adding a nutty crunch from the nuts/dry fruits and pungent flavor from the garlic, infused with aroma from rose water, cardamom and cinnamon and a shot of antioxidants in each bite. Holy dish to please and tease your palate.
The fasting observed by Muslims during this holy month of Ramadan( Ramzan) really amazes me. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Sehrior Sahari. the pre-dawn meal, then they perform the prayer. They have to stop eating and drinking before the call for prayer starts until the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. Muslims open their fast at sunset) prayer time. They may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the next morning’s fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over..
They do it with such devotion and sincerity. Some restrain themselves from water and even swallowing their saliva. It is such a cleansing process for the Body, Mind and Soul and an act of Will power, Self control, Patience, Modesty and Spirituality. I really salute them for their dedicated fasting observances.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- Basmati Rice-2 cups.
- Fruits- diced-( Pineapple, Pomegranate, Mango, Apple, Grapes and Orange)- 1 cup.
- Vegetables- diced( Sweet peas, Sweet corn and Carrots)-1 cup.
- Dry fruits/Nuts- Raisins, Cashew, Almonds, Tooti frooti, Walnut, Coconut scrapes( 2 tsp).
- Dairy- Milk( 1/2 cup), Cream (1/4 cup), Ghee- (2tsp), Butter-a dollop.
- Dry spices- Cinnamon( 2 inch piece), Bayleaves- 2, Cardomom- 3, Cloves 2, Nutmeg- a pinch.
- Fresh spices- Ginger root- 2 inch piece, Garlic- 3 pods. Chopped White Onions-1 small.
- Exotic spices- Khus khus- 1 tsp, Saffron- few strands. Rose water- 2tsp. Edible Rose petals for garnish.
- Salt- to taste
- Sugar- a pinch.
- Turmeric powder- a pinch-optional.
- Wash basmati rice and mildly roast it with ghee.
- Soak the rice in water ( 1 cup rice to 2 cups water) for 10 minutes in a rice cooker.
- While the rice is soaking, ( done real time), add butter in a pan and roast all the above mentioned dry spices.
- Now add chopped onions and saute.
- While the onions are getting sauted, grind almonds-3, garlic, ginger and khus khus, coconut scrapes to a fine paste.
- Add the paste to the pan and saute. ( love the aroma at this point)
- Soak the saffron strands in 1 cup of warm milk.
- Add the contents from the pan into the rice cooker.
- Add milk with saffron, cream, salt, sugar, turmeric(optional), rose water and vegetables into the rice cooker.
- Cook until its done and keep it covered until ready to serve.
- Gently roast the dry fruits and nuts in ghee.
- Right before serving, add the dry fruits/nuts add assorted diced fruits and give it a gentle toss.
- Sprinkle few drops of rose water and garnish with rose petals and serve!
- Since the kashmiri pulav is a lil sweet, I made a spicy curry to go with it. I served it with Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Saalan and wow, what an accompaniment to go with this nutty textured fruit pulav.
- Taking into account the milk we are adding, to reduce the water amount, so the pulav has a nice texture and not too soft.
- Please throw in your ideas and comments, just so I know, if I closely matched the original recipe.
Posted in Cooking with fruits, Mughalai Cuisine, Rice Dishes | Tagged Kashmiri Fruit pulav, Mughalai cooking, mughalai fruit pulav, mughlai cuisine, Mughlai fruit pilaf, pomogranate, Ramadan, ramadan fasting, ramzan | 5 Comments »
Only few hours left to catch a flight, to come back to the US. My baggages were a few pounds less than the weight allowance. Quickly took an auto rickshaw to Ambika Appalam Depot in Mylapore http://www.ambikaappalamdepot.com/. Grabbed few papads,vathals, dry powders and also grabbed a packet of Palada(Rice ada). Have heard a lot about Palada Pradhaman, but haven’t tried it myself. Decided to try it out on my daughter’s birthday and it was a blockbuster hit. My husband fell in love with me all over again. Believe me. It was that good!
- Whole Milk- 21/2 cup.
- Palada (Rice ada)- 1/2 cup.
- Cane sugar- 1/2 cup.
- Cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp.
- Ghee- 2 tsp.
- Cashew nuts- 5.
- Soak rice ada in hot water for 10 minutes and rinse it off with cold running water.
- Pressure cook Rice ada with milk until 1 whistle.
- The cooked ada turns into a beautiful pale pink color.
- Add Sugar, cardamom powder to the pan with cooked ada.
- Let it be on the stove top for 20-25 minutes until it becomes thick.
- Heat ghee and roast cashews and add it to the payasam.
- Can be served warm or chilled.
- The kerala grocery stores or Patel brothers in the US should carry palada.
- Rice ada can be cooked straight in the pan without using the pressure cooker also.
Posting this recipe for “Fall in Love with Milk” event. Love to dedicate this dish to my husband, coz he becomes the first prey for all the things I cook. LOL!
Posted in Kerala Cooking, Kheer and Payasams | Tagged Ambika Appalam Depot, kerala payasam, Palada Pradhaman, pradhaman, rice ada payasam | 7 Comments »
Hema of http://salt2taste.blogspot.com/ has passed this award to me. Thanks a ton Hema. This is such an encouragement.
10 Honest Things about me:
- I love my daughter more than my life.
- I am not a morning person. Hate to wake up early.
- I am very light hearted. People in my family get a kick out of watching me cry, for a senti scene in a movie. Buckets of water can be collected, by playing “Taare Zameen Par”, no matter how many times I watch.
- I am a trained singer. Have learn’t Classical music for more than 15 yrs. So I keep singing classical, semi classical & light music, while driving, cooking etc..
- Love to dance. Have learnt Bharatnatyam. But also enjoy dancing for kuthu paatu.
- Love to decorate my home with handicrafts. Love to keep my home spic and spam.
- I am a people person. Love to make friends and am happy to entertain friends and family.
- I get a lotta peace by doing Bhajans. Will always pray for not just me, but peace of the world. “Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavanthu”.
- I love travelling, but don’t love packing.
- I am very passionate about photography. Try to experiment with unique angles, lighting and different lenses.
This award comes with the following rules:
- I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it
- I must list 10 honest things about myself
- I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links
- I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this award…….
1. Roopa- http://www.rvkitchentreats.blogspot.com/
2. Priya- http://dailygirlblog.blogspot.com/
3. Anudivya- http://mixtomatch.blogspot.com/
4. Padmajha Suresh- http://seduceyourtastebuds.blogspot.com/
5. Lakshmi- http://www.tasteofmysore.com/
6. Yasmeen- http://yasmeen-healthnut.blogspot.com/
7. Latha Narasimhan- http://theyumblog.wordpress.com/
Please accept this award…….
Posted in Awards | Tagged Awards | 12 Comments »