Yay! It’s Ganesh Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha’s happy birthday. Yes, recently we celebrated Janmasthami Lord Krishna’s birthday and now its Lord of obstacles Birthday. India, celebrates festivals in the form of Birthdays of Gods and Goddesses.
Ganesha, is the son of the Shiva and Parvati. He is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. Lord Ganesha, is invoked at the beginning or starting of any new endeavor or auspicious occasion in life. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated widely in India and outside India, by people of many different religions. In India, the planning and modeling the clay idols begin days before the birthday. People bring Ganesha home on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, with lots of pomp and show. There are street displays as well wherein the clay idols are decorated and embellished in lot of different ways. Sometimes, there are competitions as well in who decorates the idol best.
Usually, Ganesha’s birth is celebrated till the 10th day of the moon and then on the final day, there is a procession of taking Ganesha and submerging them into water. Every day of the festivities, people offer religious prayers and prasad (holy offering) to Lord Ganesha. It is fun activity for kids and they get to learn about the religious beliefs in the celebrating the birth of Ganesha.
The history of community celebration of the festival ways long back at the time of Lokmanya Tilak ( Social reformer and activist) times when it was only a domestic household celebration , but he brought this celebration to an public event to bridge the gaps between “brahmins” and “non- brahmins”. And, her turned small domestic celebration into huge, big and served a place for all individuals to come together and celebrated the festivities.
Lord Ganesha loves ladus. “Modak” are his favorite form of ladu or sweet. As, he loved ladus so much so that people would offer him ladu on his birthday or during the long 10 day festivities. So, here’s my family recipe of one of the types of ladu.
1 Cup – Wheat Ladu Flour (available in Indian Grocery Stores) It is a coarse form of wheat flour.
3 Tbsp – Ghee
2 Tbsp – Water or Milk
3/4 – 1 cup – Jaggery (depends on how sweet you want)
oil / ghee for deep frying
1 – 2 Tsp – Cardamom Powder
2 Tsp – Sesame Seeds
1/3 cup – dry coconut shredded or chips
1/3 cup small chopped dry fruits – raisins, cashews and almonds
1/2 cup – Poppy Seeds
In a bowl, mix the whole wheat flour and ghee together. Form crumbs and add a little bit of milk or water to bind it together. We do not want to form dough. It should all just come together to form dough balls or dumplings which we will be deep frying.
Heat oil or ghee or mix of both in a wok or deep pan, add these roughly formed dough dumplings or balls into it and deep fry it on slow to medium heat for about 3- 4 minutes or till they look golden and crispy and cooked. In the same oil quickly fry the dry fruits as well. Do not burn them.
Remove them in a plate and leave it aside. Let them cool a little bit and then grind them in a grinder or food processor till it is transformed into powder. Pass this powder through a sieve and add in the cardamom powder, sesame seeds, toasted coconut and dry fruits.
Take out ghee/ or oil from the already used one in another bowl and heat it. Add jaggery to it and heat it till the jaggery melts. Add it immediately to the powder mixture and mix it well with the help of a spoon or spatula. Remember not to use your hands to mix it as it is really hot and can burn your hands.
Once it cools down a little bit try to form round small to medium sized balls. And, roll them into poppy seeds and place them on a parchment paper lined plate or tray.
And, serve them immediately or later on. These stay well up to a week or so. You can refrigerate them or store it at room temperature in an airtight container.
Enjoy! Ganpati Bapa Moriya!
Thanks to all my increasing number of readers.
I am writing this post after offering prayers and ladus to God. And, I have to admit these have turned out awesome. I had to wait since morning. Pretty tough job…