The beginning of chaitra month and spring marks a new year in several states in India. Like any other celebration in our country this too is marked with some fabulous food. We tell you about some of the gastronomical delights that New Year brings along with it!
A double celebration to mark the New Year and the harvest of the year’s crop – Baisakhi sure is a day filled with fun, fervor and food – the Punjabi way. A visit to the gurudwara followed by delicious langar food and more delicious food prepared at home!
Chole Dhaniya Masala – Chole is a Punjabi specialty, without which a celebratory meal is incomplete. We added the freshness of coriander to this already fabulous recipe to take it a notch higher. Serve these with garma garam fluffy bhature and begin New Year on a happy note indeed! You can also make a hariyali tikki with chole for a snack and serve alongside glasses of chilled lassi!
Sarson da Saag – Harvest time in Punjab would be incomplete if you aren’t making delicious yummy makkai di roti and eating it with a saag. This traditional wining combo celebrates the harvested crops perfectly. Watch Chef Sanjeev Kapoor put an international festive twist to one of his favourite recipes – he calls it Sarson ka Saag makki di roti aur mozzarella ki mauj!
After vishukanni, which is a ceremony where you begin the day by seeing a ritualistic arrangement of auspicious articles like –gold, betel leaves, grains, fruits, vegetables and beautiful yellow konna flowers amongst other things. This auspicious first sight of the new year is to ensure that the entire year remains positive and filled with prosperity. This is followed by delicious Vishu sadya – an elaborate vegetarian Kerala style feast, gone the whole nine yards eaten on a banana leaf et all!
Aviyal - One of the most popular dishes of Kerala cuisine – a delicious mix of regional vegetables cooked in a yogurt gravy and a South Indian essential – coconut. You can have this with rice or with dosas. Use an array of mixed vegetables or try making one which is equally delicious with just white pumpkin and drumstick.
Ada Pradaman – A creamy coconut milk based dessert, sweetened with jaggery and given a rich crunch with cashewnuts fried in some more ghee is what Ada Pradaman is all about! This delicious kheer or payasam is an integral part of the traditional onam and vishu sadya. An equally delicious payasam is the pal payasam, the South Indian counterpart of rice kheer.
Wearing new clothes, exchanging delicious mouthwatering Bengali sweets and spreading good cheer in the sweet language that bangla is, nobo borsho for the Bengalis is also a food fest! Unlike other communities the Bengalis believe in going all out non veg during New Year.
Sorse Maach – Bengalis love fish and they love mustard – this recipe brings both together in perfect harmony. Eat this watery curry with rice and a dash of fresh lime and maybe some begun (brinjal) or aloo bhaja on the side. Or try a doi maach which is shallow fried fish cooked in a tangy yogurt curry.
Sandesh – It’s hard to find a Bengali who doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Melt-in-the mouth ‘shondesh’ has a pride of place in their pantheon of sweet delights. A must for any auspicious occasion, sandesh didn’t have as many variations as it does now. Right from chocolate to mango to the traditional nolen gur (palm jaggery) sandesh the options available these days are mindboggling – so pick your favourite flavour and get cracking on this simple yet delicious recipe! If sandesh doesn’t work for you, you still have zillions of Bengali mishti to choose from – Chumchum, rossogulla, chenna murki, keer kadam, chennar payesh…the list goes on!
Pure vegetarian meals prepared in the Tamil communities are said to be delicious and wow people who ate hardcore meat eaters. On Puthandu, better known as Tamil New Year a full-fledged feast or virundhu is prepared. An array of pachadis, sambhars, rasams, papads, rice vadas and idlis are made and served on a plantain leaf – the traditional way.
Kuzhi Paniyaram – To make these soft spongy rice balls you need the paniyaram chatti –a non-stick pan with circular moulds in it. Add a couple of ingredients to idli batter, depending on if you want a sweet or savoury paniyaram and serve with chutney or just plain ghee.
Vengaya Sambhar – This sāmbhar is made with the small sambhar onions that are typical to south India. Slightly sweet and with a good amount of tang this lentil preparation is a universal favourite. It is eaten along with rice or used to dunk crisp vadas in. If you don’t want to eat a sambhar try making a Paruppu Urundai Kozambu which is lentil koftas in a flavourful South style curry.
Here wishing everyone a Happy New Year, Happy Cooking and Happy Feasting!
For more fabulous celebratory festive recipes from all parts of the country and more browse through SanjeevKapoor.com
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient.
His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.
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