CELEBRATING THE FESTIVITIES (GANESH CHATURTHI)

Ganesh Chaturthi is a highly preferred and most popular festival of the Hindu religion. It is celebrated annually in the month of August or September with big enthusiasm. It is celebrated as a birth anniversary of the Lord Ganesha.He is the God of wisdom and prosperity so people in Hindu religion worship him to get the same.
Though Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated in Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and many other parts of the country, prasad or naivedyam may differ from region to region.
Modaks and ladoos are the favorite sweets of lord ganesha and often served as naivedhyam or bhog to lord ganesha. Most people make modaks on the first day of ganesh chaturthi festival in Maharashtra.

Popular recipes which are made during ganesh chaturthi festival are:

1) Steamed modak
ukadiche or steamed modak is the most popular modak. It is also sold in many sweets shop during ganesh chaturthi festival.

2) Varan bhaat
In English, varan bhaat would read as lentil-rice where varan stands for lentil curry or stew and bhaat means steamed rice. varan can vary from region to region.Maharashtrian varan and has fresh coconut added to it with minimal spices.

3) Alu vadi or patra
Alu vadi also known as patra is stuffed, rolled colocasia leaves snack that is popular in both maharashtrian and gujarati cuisine. The colocasia leaves are smeared with a sweet, spicy and tangy besan or gram flour paste and stacked upon each other. they are then rolled and steamed. the steamed rolls are then tempered or fried.

4) Batata bhaji
Maharashtrian style of making potato subzi. It is also known as batata sukhi bhaji. Batata=potatoes, sukhi=dry and bhaji=subzi/curry.
Batata bhaji is a mild dish which does not require any spice powder except turmeric powder. Still it is very flavorful and yummy potato side dish. Green chilies and curry leaves are added in the tempering aka tadka. Curry leaves gives a nice aroma.

5)Rishi panchami sabzi
A Maharashtrian delicacy made of mix vegetables.

6) Kala vatana amti (Black pea curry)
No onion no garlic coconut based black peas curry. tastes best with rice pooris, bhakris, ambolis (a dosa variety) and steamed rice.

7) Puran poli
A sweet flat bread that is specially made for ganesh chaturthi or any other festive occasion.

8) Rice pooris or wheat pooris
Soft fluffy pooris made with rice flour. These pooris go well with kale vatanyche amti or sambar.

Other popular recipes prepared during this festival:
1)Suran chips
2)Kothimbir vadi
3)Poha chiwda
4)Panchamrut
5)Shrikhand.

RECIPE TIME!

**Ukadiche modak or steamed modak**

– Ingredients
For The Dough
2 cups rice flour (chawal ka atta)

For The Filling
1 1/4 cups grated jaggery (gur)
2 cups freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp poppy seeds (khus-khus)
1/2 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder

Other Ingredient
1 tsp ghee for kneading and greasing

-Method

For the dough

1)Boil 1¾ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan.
2)Place the rice flour in a deep bowl and add the boiled water gradually. Mix well using a spoon in the beginning and then knead into a soft and smooth dough.
3)Cover with a lid and keep aside for 10 minutes.

For the filling
1)Heat a deep non-stick pan, add the jaggery and cook on a slow flame for 1 to 2 minutes or till the jaggery melts, while stirring continuously.
2)Add the coconut, poppy seeds and cardamom powder, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 4 to 5 minutes or till all the moisture evaporates and the mixture thickens. Keep aside to cool slightly.
3)Divide the filling into equal portions and keep aside.

How to proceed
1)Knead the dough once again using ½ tsp of ghee and keep aside.
2)Grease a modak mould using very little ghee and close it.
3)Take a portion of the dough, press it into the cavity of the modak mould till it is evenly lined on all the sides.
4)Fill the dough cavity with a portion of the filling.
5)Take a smaller portion of the dough and spread it evenly at the base of the modak mould so as to seal the filling.
6)Demould the modak from the modak mould.
7)Repeat steps 2 to 7 to make the remaining modaks.

Once the ukadiche modaks are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on the modaks. the ukadiche modaks are ready to be offered to lord ganesha.

NOTE:- In Hindi, colocasia leaves are called as arbi ke patte. In Marathi, colocasia leaves are known as alu or aloo, whereas in hindi alu or aloo is the term for potatoes.

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