Thali Menu #139 -Ganesh Chaturthi Special- Maharashtra
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
Ganesh Chaturthi, in Hinduism, 10-day festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha, the god of prosperity and wisdom. It begins on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September), the sixth month of the Hindu calendar.
At the start of the festival, idols of Ganesha are placed on raised platforms in homes or in elaborately decorated outdoor tents. The worship begins with the pranapratishtha, a ritual to invoke life in the idols, followed by shhodashopachara, or the 16 ways of paying tribute. Amid the chanting of Vedic hymns from religious texts like the Ganesh Upanishad, the idols are anointed with red sandalwood paste and yellow and red flowers. Ganesha is also offered coconut, jaggery, and 21 modaks (sweet dumplings), considered to be Ganesha’s favourite food.
At the conclusion of the festival, the idols are carried to local rivers in huge processions accompanied by drumbeats, devotional singing, and dancing. There they are immersed, a ritual symbolizing Ganesha’s homeward journey to Mount Kailas—the abode of his parents, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesh Chaturthi assumed the nature of a gala public celebration when the Maratha ruler Shivaji (c. 1630–80) used it to encourage nationalist sentiment among his subjects, who were fighting the Mughals. In 1893, when the British banned political assemblies, the festival was revived by the Indian nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Today the festival is celebrated in Hindu communities worldwide and is particularly popular in Maharashtra and parts of western and southern India.
Maharashtra, a state spanning west-central India, is best known for its fast-paced capital, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), and as the home of ‘Bollywood’.
The cuisine has distinctive attributes while sharing much with other Indian cuisines. Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than others. Maharashtrian cuisine includes mild and spicy dishes. Due to its vast geographical differences, each region of the state offers a distinctive style of cooking and dishes..
At Daana this weekend we celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi festival with a traditional Maharashtrian meal with items that are prepared especially during this festive time and as such will be a pure vegetarian fare respectful of the customs and traditions observed during this festival.
Recipe of the week
Laal maas - a fiery Rajasthani meat curry with freshly roasted spices and a burst of red chillies
- 2 Small onions (finely chopped)
- 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
- 18-20 red chillies
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (whole)
- 1 tsp jeera
- 1 cup mustard oil
- 10 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 piece small ginger (finely chopped)
- 1/2 kg lamb (cut into pieces with bones)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup kachri powder (Kachri is a dried vegetable, a variety of cucumbers found in Rajasthan and ground into a powder, small. You will find this in an Indian grocery store.)
- 3-4 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of mace
- 1 pod black cardamom
- Handful coriander leaves (chopped)
1.Dry roast the red chillies to give it a nice distinctive aroma which adds great flavor to the dish.
- 2.Add to that the coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
- 3.Once done, grind it into a nice fine powder.
- 4.Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Add to this the garlic and ginger.
- 5.Once the garlic turns slightly brown add the lamb pieces.
- 6.Give it a good mix. This is also a good time to add salt.
- 7.Now add the kachri powder. Not only does this powder tenderize the meat, its also adds a nice tangy flavor to it.
- 8.Now add the chopped onions and mix all well.
- 9.Once the onions have roasted well add the whole spices, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, mace, black cardamom. Stir well.
- 10.Now add the red chilly powder and let it roast for about a minute.
- 11.Add enough water to cook the lamb. Cover it and let it simmer for a couple of minutes till the meat is cooked.
- 12.Once the meat is cooked, take out all the pieces on a platter and strain the gravy.
- 13.Straining the gravy gets rid of all the whole spices and keeps the essence and flavors intact.
- 14.Now add the lamb pieces you had taken out to the refined gravy and put it back on fire but on low heat.
- 15.Add about 1/2 cup water and some coriander leaves.
- 16.Let it simmer for a while and when you reach a good consistency of gravy, turn off the heat.
- 17.Serve hot with a good garnishing of chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with Rice or Roti