Thali Menu #161 – Gudi Padwa – Maharashtrian Special
About Gudi Padwa
Gudi Padwa is an Indian festival that marks the beginning of the New Year and the harvest season for the people of Maharashtra. Gudi is the word used to refer to Brahma’s flag (which is hoisted on this day) while Padva is derived from the Sanskrit word Paddava or Paddavo which refers to the first day of the bright phase of the moon. This day is also symbolic of the season of Vasant or spring in India.
Historical Legends and Beliefs
One of the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Brahma Purana states that Lord Brahma recreated the world after a raging deluge in which all time had stopped and all the people of the world, destroyed. On Gudi Padva, time restarted and from this day on, the era of truth and justice (known as Satyug) began. Therefore, Lord Brahma is worshipped on this day.
Another popular legend about the origin of this festival revolves around the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya along with his wife Sita and his brother Laxman from exile. The ‘Brahmadhvaj’ or ‘the flag of Brahma’ (other names for the Gudi) is hoisted in memory of the coronation of Lord Rama. The Gudi is hoisted at the entrance of the household in commemoration of the Gudi that was hoisted in Ayodhya as a victory flag. It is also believed that Lord Rama was victorious over King Bali on this day, marking this occasion.
For the people of Mahrashtra, there is an added significance to this festival. It is believed that Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, celebrated leader of the Maratha clan, led the troops to victory and attained freedom for the kingdom from the dominion of the Mughals in that area. The Gudi then is a symbol of victory and prosperity.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated with traditional dishes and vegetarian fare with family and friends. Shrikhand Puri, Puran Poli, Varan Bhat are some of the delicacies synonymous with the festival as is consuming ‘Neem’ flavours in the meal.
This weekend we celebrate this beautiful festival with a typical Marathi Jēvaṇa. So, come join us and let us all bring in a new year filled with hope and prosperity in these troubled times.
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.