I was speaking to my husband about different rituals and how they are related to particular season in India. All over India on the day of Sankrant/Sankranti/Sankrantri( People call it differently) usually dessert made with Sesame seeds and jaggery( raw brown sugar) is eaten. As this is my favorite ladoo of all the ladoos, I let myself eat it by controlling carbohdrates ofcourse. My husband does not like sesame seeds but he likes sesame ladoos. As I went for shopping for sesame seeds and jaggery from Indian store in New Jersey, I was explaining to my husband about special desserts for special season which is for a reason. As we had that discussion, he told me this is I think; followed in Maharashtra because I did not knew about this before you explained it to me. I was like, okay then! I should write it down in my blog for a reason! That to spread knowledge about why we have a particular dessert assigned for a particular season.
Most important reason is local availability. The food which is abundant in a particular season makes an entry into the plate. Even in US, you will find apple pies and pumpkin pies in the fall season and winter season and blueberry pies and peach cobbler in summer. Also in the season you will get most of nutrition using locally grown fruits and vegetables.
I am all of a sudden getting a feeling of writing an essay in exam. 🙂 Anyway where was I? Yeah so I will talk about Maharashtrian festivals with assigned desserts. 🙂 Let’s start from January. (Please note- I am writing about the festivals that I know and celebrate. There are many festivals other than these main ones that I have no idea about. Please let me know if you know about them.)
Makarsankranti- Sesame and jaggery dessert- ladoo/vadi- Essential fatty acids, anitoxidants and energy- Protects from seasonal change from cold into hotter season.
Holi- Color of festival- Puranpoli [a sweet roti made with chana(garbanzo beans) and jaggery and served with ghee]- with all the weather change and play with colors for long time we need energy and protein with fat.
Gudipadwa- New Year for the state of Maharashtra, India- Shrikhand( It’s greek yogurt/hungcurd with sugar and nuts and cardmom-nutmeg-saffron) – The season gets hotter and we need good probiotics to improve immunity. It keeps us calm and cool. Also neem leaves with jaggery and turmeric are eaten on the first day to improve immunity.
Chaitrapuja- Amba daal and panha- Raw mango along with raw soaked chana daal and raw mango drink- Abundant vitamin C, A, protein during summer in India.
Ramnavmi- Summer season- Sunthwada/ladoo- Dried ginger with other spices and jaggery/sugar. – Immunity, Antioxidants during summer.
Naralipornima/Rakshabandhan- Narali Bhat( Sweet coconut rice) – Locally grown rice with coconut( good fat ) and jaggery.
Ganapati and Gauri puja- Steamed Modak( Sweet rice/wheat flour dumplings with fresh coconut, jaggery and nuts) with ghee and also puranpoli- To increase good fat in the diet as the temperature is going to cool down.
Dasara/Dashahara- Shrikhand again.- Why? October heat demands something cold and high protein.
Kojagiri- Warm milk spiced with nutmeg and cardmom and safron with nuts- abundance of dairy and spices for immunity.
Diwali- All fried foods like chakli, sev, anarsa, karanji- Abundance of food and good fats for body’s increased demand to fight cold weather.
There completes the complete circle of main Maharshtrian festivals along with particular desserts! 🙂 Now you will ask, what about people’s favorite gulab jamun and jalebi? They were not prepared as a routine in any festival. They had place in weddings. I think too many people , so sugar syrup soaked desserts could stay for long time. Another thing that I came to know about Indian desserts is that they are served at the time of rest of the lunch or dinner and not after the meal like in Western method of serving. What this does is knowingly or unknowingly we have a portion control over our food intake ( Ok I am not talking about people who do not chew food but gulp food). Any extra carbohydrate load after a meal gets converted into fat. Aaanyway! Too long post! I know! But I hope this spreads knowlwedge about why “we ( Yes I call myself oldfashioned or in my dad’s language- I am music asia) insist on eating local foods and making local desserts at local festivals.”