Lord Ganesha has always been portrayed with a sweet in his hand and thanks to his love for good food, his festival Ganesh Chaturthi is synonymous with delicious food. Also, whatever special is prepared becomes the naivedya (offering) and is only then eaten by the devotees, the best part for all the devoted foodies!
Mad about modaks
Of all the sweets made on this occasion, modaks win the popularity poll hands down. Amidst all the innovative modaks available today, it’s heartening to see the traditional Ukdiche Modak, which are steamed rice flour dumplings stuffed with a mixture of coconut, jaggery and just the right amount of green cardamom powder has managed to hold its ground! In South India, Vella Kozhakattai is the most famous dish to be prepared on this day, Kozhakattas are basically the South Indian versions of the Maharashtrian ukdiche modak.
This is the time when halwa is go on a overdrive with modaks! The fillings range from mango, dry fruits, chocolate, malai, paneer, a baklava stuffing and still counting! Infact, once you get the basic recipe right, you could also experiment with fillings of your choice.
Another dish that’s in competition with modaks as a Ganesha favourite are laddoos! Besan, motichoor, raghavdas, rawa and til laddoos are but some of the varieties. These make a great prasad option too!
Besides modaks and laddoos you can go any way you want with the sweet dishes to prepare and serve. If you have Ganesha visiting your home this year it’ll bring in a whole lot of guests, for times like this it is easier to prepare halwas or burfis as they can be prepared in a large batch and do not consume as much time as laddoos and modaks.
Twist to tradition
When it comes to the maincourse, most of the traditional recipes come from Maharashtra and Karnataka, as these are the states where Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with most fervor. Non vegetarian food is a complete no-no; different communities and families have different rules for the fast or should we say feast for these days! Puliyogare rice from Karnataka, which is cooked rice tossed in a puliyogre masala is very similar to the masala bhaat from Maharashtra. Recipes like sabudana vadas and khichdi, a simple varan bhaat, vaangi bhaat, kothimbir vadi, puran poli, ghee rice, payasam, amti bhaat, chana ussal, batata vada and thalipeeth are commonly prepared for Ganesh Chaturthi! You can stick to these traditional recipes and put your little twists to it. Maybe a whole wheat thalipeeth or cheese centered kothimbir wadi. You can also serve crumbled puran polis in shot glasses drizzled with some desi ghee! The sky is the limit and putting a little twist to traditions is never a bad thing.
While we go eco-friendly with the Ganesha idols, why not go one step ahead and go green with the food as well! Serve your guests food on a banana leafs and the prasad in the leaf containers.You also end up doing that extra bit for the environment.
Lord Ganesha, gets the pride of place as his blessings are invoked before starting anything new, so say Shree Ganesh before trying these great recipes to create a feast for your loved ones and of course for Ganeshji.
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