Every August, I desperately wait for the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, when we bring the idol of Lord Ganesha home for ten days of colorful festivities. Of all the Indian Gods, I just adore our elephant-headed Lord Ganesha for one prime reason- like me, he is a big foodie!
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated in India, during which Lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles, is worshiped. It is celebrated with great devotion all over the country. People bring home idols of Lord Ganesha and celebrate the festival for ten days, along with family and friends. On the last day of worship, the idol is taken out in a colorful and musical procession to be immersed in the water, with the belief that Lord Ganesha has carried away all the obstacles away from the home.
Eventhough Ganesh Chaturthi is traditionally a chief festival of the state of Maharashtra, people from all castes and creed celebrate it with great fervor in India. I started the ritual at our home when I got married and we have celebrated it every year since. As we do not get Ganesha idols or other items of pooja here in Ireland, now I make my own idol, clay lamps and sweets to celebrate the occasion.
This year, Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on the 25th of August. So, this blog post is coming a bit early. The reason? It is because the theme of FoodieMonday Bloghop for this week is ‘Ganesh chaturthi special dishes’ as well! You can say that the festivities have started early at my home this time.
For this week’s festive theme, I have prepared creamy, delicious and rich Rabri…. two ways!
Rabri is a popular Indian sweet-dish,made of sweetened thickened milk, that is usually flavored with saffron and dried-fruit like almonds and pistachios. Today, I have made two versions of Rabri- Kesar pista Rabri and the fragrant Strawberry Rabri.
As I mentioned before, Lord Ganesha is believed to be a big foodie. So, I never go by the customary rules and make only certain sweets to put as a ‘prasad’ in his honor. I do try to make the traditional Modaks on the first day of the festival (sthapna) but it is not at all hard and fast. I know he enjoys all the sweet treats equally. 😉
Give these easy yet delicious recipes a go friends and enjoy! Wishing all of you a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi in advance!
– 1 litre full fat milk
– ¼ cup sugar
– ½ tsp cardamom powder
– 4-5 strands of saffron
– 6-7 pistachios, chopped
– 6-7 almonds, chopped
– 2 tsp strawberry puree (fresh or store-bought)
– 1-2 drops of strawberry essence (optional)
– Firstly, blanch your pistachios and almonds by soaking them in hot water for around 8-10 minutes. Once blanched, chop and keep aside.
– Next, in a large non-stick pan, put your milk to heat. Stir occasionally and bring to boil.
– Once you see a layer of thick cream formed on the top of the milk, stick it to sides of vessel with your stapula. Lower the heat to low and keep stirring your milk occasionally.
– Repeat the process of the gathering of cream to sides of pan till your milk reduces to about one-third of its initial quantity. This should take about 20-30 minutes. Do not stir your milk continuously or the cream will not gather on the top at all. Stir at regular intervals and keep gathering the cream on the sides of the pan.
– In a small bowl, take out 2-3 tsp of hot milk from the pan and put your saffron strands in it. Mix and keep aside.
– To your thick and reduced milk, add your sugar and the cardamom powder.
– Scrape off the collected milk solids from the sides of the pan and mix into the simmering milk. Stir well.
– Now, divide the Rabri into two pans. Put each on low flame.
– To one pan, add your saffron milk and boil for further 2-3 minutes. Switch off the flame and set to cool. This is your flavorsome Kesar-pista Rabri!
– To another pan, add your Strawberry puree and strawberry essence. Mix well and boil for further 2-3 minutes. Switch off and set to cool. This is your beautiful and fragrant Strawberry Rabri!
– Pour the Rabri into separate containers and garnish each with chopped and blanched almonds and pistachios.
Refrigerate and serve chilled! Enjoy!
– To make puree from fresh Strawberries, simply blend some Strawberries in your blender and sieve the resulting mixture to get rid of the seeds. The strawberry puree is ready to use.
– You can substitute the Strawberry puree with other fruit purees like Mango puree, Peach puree and Orange puree to try out other Rabri flavors.
– Making Rabri is a slow and long process. If you want to speed it up a little, mix half teaspoon of cornflour in cold milk and mix to your boiling milk, while stirring it continuously, when you are halfway through the whole process. This will thicken the milk up considerably quicker.