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
Maharashtrian style tempered dal
For pressure cooking:
- ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
- 1 ½ cups Water
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Jaggery
- 2 teaspoon Ghee
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- a pinch Asafoetida
Pressure cooking the Dal
- Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
- Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
- Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
- Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
- Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.
- Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
- Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Making the tempering
- Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
- Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.
Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.
Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.
Serve hot with steamed rice.