Monday, September 17, 2007

Ganesh Chaturthi

[Leftmost plate(counterclockwise): rice idli (white round discs), curd rice, tamarind rice and ambode. Oval tray in the front(counterclockwise): Rasmalai(in bowl), Nippat, Kalakand, coconut laddoo, kodubale/kodbale, chakli.]Click on the image to get a larger view.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a popular festivals in the southern and western states of India, viz-a-viz: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Why do we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha.

Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada. Since the "4th day" is called "chaturthi" in hindi, the name "Ganesh Chaturthi". [Source: Swami Sivananda]

Delicacies for the festival

Traditionally, 21 varieties of prasad are offered to Ganesha on this day. So we also tried to complete this number. Among the home-made dishes we had: rice idli, curd rice, tamarind rice, ambode, rasmalai, nippat, kalakand, coconut laddoo, kodubale and chakli. Apart from nippat and kodubale everything turned out very good. A few I made from my own recipes and few from fellow bloggers. Here are they:

Rice Idli

  • 1 cup idli rawa
  • 1 cup urad flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • salt according to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients with water and form a thick batter. Let if ferment overnite (or in cool temperatures for 2 nights).
  2. Check the consistency of the batter, it shouldn't be too thick else the idlis will turn out hard even though they'll rise. So add water if you think it's thick.
  3. Boil some water in the cooker, take only so much water such that the water is below the level of the last plate of the idli stand.
  4. pour spoonfuls of batter in the idli moulds of the idli stand and steam them in the cooker for 15 mins. The time may vary from stove to stove. For me, it takes 15 mins by the clock.
  5. Soft idlis are ready to be devoured!

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup urad flour
  • 1 cup dalia (or bhuna chana dal) -- well grounded
  • 2 tsps roasted sesame seeds
  • chilli powder (according to taste)
  • salt (according to taste)
  • chopped geen chillies (optional)
  • 3 serving spoon full hot oil
  • oil for deep frying
  1. Mix all the ingredient except oil. Now add oil. When you add hot oil to the mixture, it should release bubbles - that's the check for right temperature of the oil. Crumble the dough with oil. Then knead it with water. The dough is towards the soft side.
  2. Heat the oil for deep frying.
  3. Fill the chakli maker with the dough and press it to make 2-3 concentric circles at one go on a paper towel.
  4. Lightly attach the inner open end to its neighbouring circle. Similarly attach the outer open end to its neighbouring circle.
  5. Now turn the towel upside down on your palm, so as not to break the chakli.
  6. Drop it into oil for deep frying. The oil should be medium hot, unlike pooris which are fryed in very hot oil.
  7. When the chakli starts to sink toward the bottom, it's done so take them out.
  8. Ring them in a spoon or any other flatware which has a rod-like shape that can go inside the innermost circle of the chakli. Let it hang for 5-10 mins.

Curd rice from Latha's recipe. Even though I'm no big fan of curd rice, I must say this was the best curd rice that I've ever tasted. A big thanks to the recipe and of course to the chef, my DH.
  • Rice - 1 cup
  • Milk - 2 cups (boiled and cooled)
  • Fresh curds - 2 tablespoons
  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Green chillies - 2 nos (cut into small pieces)
  • Curry leaves - 1 twig finely chopped
  • Fresh cream - 2 table spoons
  • Hing - a pinch
  • Ginger - 1/2 teaspoon (finely chopped)
  • Pomegranate - 2 tablespoons
  • Seedless grapes - 10 nos ( cut into 2 pieces )
  • Cashew - 4 nos (cut into pieces)
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard - 1/2 teaspoon


  1. Wash the rice and cook in a pressure cooker with* 2 and1/2 cup water.
  2. Transfer the rice to a deep container and mash when still hot, adding a little milk as you mash.
  3. Slowly add the remaining milk as you keep mixing. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add curds, salt and cream and mix well.
  5. Heat oil in a small kadai, add mustard seeds. when it crackles add curry leaves and green chillies.
  6. Add the seasoning,hing, cashews, ginger and fruits and mix well.
  7. Serve with a pickle of your choice.

* The rice should be over cooked so that it can be mashed well.

Kalakand from Praveena's recipe. I'd halfed the quantity of the ingredients but forgot to half the heating time; but it turned out for our good. The recipe is for the milk cake version of kalakand which is white in color; but the kalakand is creamish brown and thats the texture that we got due to the overheating. So basically if you heat it for a little less than twice the time mentioned you get the brownish version of kalakand.
  • 2 cups Full cream milk powder
  • 300 ml Thickened cream
  • 395 gms (1 can) Sweetend condensed milk
  • Pistachio Kernels - chopped for decoration (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a microwave safe dish (I use a Corningware dish). Make sure there are no lumps. Taste or lick the spoon. This is stage one. I can't put my finger on what it tastes like but it is good enough to eat now.
  2. On the high setting on the microwave, cook for 6 minutes. Have a careful eye on the microwave as it tends to froth up and spill over. If this happens give a break for 10 or 15 seconds and resume. Also the 'high' setting on the microwaves varies. It is with trial and error that you will get the optimal time taken to get the mix to a stage where the milk solids are starting to come together.
  3. Mix well. Again taste. I think it tastes a bit like basundi at this point of time. Put in the microwave for another 6 minutes. Keep a eye on it for the first few minutes and then it should be okay.
  4. Let it sit the microwave for 5 or 10 minutes after the beep. This gives it some time to fully cook. This still looks a bit raw when you take it straight out but this rest will let it fully cook through.
  5. Decorate with chopped nuts. When fully cool you can cut it into pieces and serve. This tastes good warm, cold or at room temperature.
  6. You can cook it a bit longer if you want a more browner, harder texture to it. Really up to you.

Rasmalai from Gits ready-to-make. I've found this to be the best way to make rasmalais. It's easy, ready ina jiffy and tastes as delicious as readymade rasmalais (in India).

Coconut laddoos from the same recipe as that used on Janmashtami.

Recipe for Ambode I'd already posted earlier. Except that since I was making this for prasad, I didn't add the onions.

I'm sending this post as an entry to the Ganesha Chaturthi roundup by Latha.


Anonymous said...

Hey Smriti,

Can you suggest a store in San Diego that sells Ganesh idols made of clay?


Smriti said...

@anon, I'm sorry but I haven't seen any such place. I simply use my non-clay idol. If you find a place, let me also know :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Smriti,

There's this Indian grocery store called Ker Little India on Black Mountain Rd. I shopped there for my ganesha idol yesterday. Though it isn't made of clay, it's colorful and has the festive look. Check that out if you get a chance.

Smriti said...

Hi anon,

Thanks for informing me! I came to know yesterday that the priest at the Shiva Vishnu temple is selling clay idols of Ganesha.