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
Mung ka Halwa
A delicious work of love and stirring!
- 1 cup Mung Dal or Moong Dal (split- yellow moong)
- ¾ cup Ghee
- ½ cup Sugar
- ¼ tsp Green Cardamom Powder
- 10-12 nos Almond Slivers
- Soak the mung dal in water for 3 hrs or overnight and grind it in mixie to make a smooth paste, you'll get about 2.5 cups of mung paste.
- heat ghee in a large thick base pot and coat the pot well with ghee all over, keeping the flame very low, pour the mung paste in it and stir well.
- It may form lumps, but keep keep stirring after every few minutes.
- The key to a perfect Mung ka Halwa is in the stirring, it needs continuous stirring, then spread the paste to the base of the pot in a layer in the kadai and let it brown for a while. Then turn it scraping the paste from the base, and spread again to let it become golden brown again.
- Keep repeating the process until the mung mixture becomes nicely and evenly golden brown and aromatic.
- Add sugar and put off the flame when it is eevenly golden brown. Mix well and cover with a lid and let the sugar melt into the halwa.
- Mix well and throw in the slivered almonds. Serve hot.
You may need to sprinkle a little milk or a bit more ghee if the mixture if it has become too dry.