Monday, April 11, 2011

Sri Rama Navami Specials

Rama Navami is the day on which Lord Rama's Birth day as well as marriage is celebrated. Rama is known as Marayada Purushottama. He showed how a man should lead life. A man's responsibilities and duty towards his father, mother, brother and wife as well as a king's duty towards his subjects- all this he had shown through his own life and behaviour. That is why he is respected and worshipped so much.

On this day we offer special prayers. Whether in temples or at our homes we cook a feast for offering it to the Lord. I am  sharing with you the most important recipes. These are easy to make and very healthy too.

1. Paanakam

This is a drink which not only quenches thirst but also energises us. In olden days this drink was prepared especially in summers. In marriages there is a tradition of offering this drink to the groom and his family and relatives when they arrive at the bride's place before marriage. This is a welcome drink.  This drink is filled in two pots-made of gold or silver or at least brass depending upon the status of the bride's family and offered to the groom's party. The pots become the property of groom's sisters. So for each brother's marriage sisters get at least one such pot.

This is good for health as it is made of natural resources. It can be consumed in any season but more so in summer.
Water       1 liter
Jaggery     250-500gms
Cardamoms  2-3
Pepper corns   1tsp

  • Take chilled water if you want it so. I use water chilled in earthen ware pot. It is naturally cooled, hygienic and tasty when compared with refrigerated water.
  • Grate jaggery. 
  • Adjust the quantity of jaggery and pepper to your taste. I like it very sweet so I use 500gms of jaggery. Moreover sometimes the jaggery may not be too sweet. 
  • Ground cardamoms to fine powder
  • Crush pepper corns 
  • Mix all the ingredients till jaggery is completely dissolved. Leave it for a while sand serve.

2. Vada Pappu

This is very tasty and healthy snack. It is easy to make. In fact I make it very often. This can be served as a salad too. Traditionally this was served in our marriages along with the above drink.

Split and husked green lentil    250 gms
Cucumber (green)         1
Raw mango (small)        1
Green chillies               1
Fresh coconut               1/4th
Curry leaves                1-2 sprigs
Green coriander          1 bunch
Salt                            To taste

For Tempering:

Oil       1 Tbsp
Bengal gram lentil       2 tsp
Black gram lentil         2 tsp
Mustard seeds             2 tsp
Cumin seeds               2tsp
Fenugreek seeds         1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies        1

Asafoetida                1/2 tsp

  • Wash the green lentil thoroughly, and soak it in enough water for 2 hours or till it is soaked. Then drain the water and keep aside.
  • Peel and chop the cucumber into small cubes
  • Peel and grate raw mango.
  • Grate coconut.
  • Chop green chilli into small pieces.
  • Mix all these ingredients along with salt and keep aside
  • In a pan heat oil to smoking point and lower the heat. Add Bengal gram lentil, fry for two minutes, add black gram lentil and fenugreek seeds, fry for a minute. Now add mustard seeds, cumin, red chilli broken into pieces, curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry till you hear the crackling sound. Now add this to the above mixture, mix well, garnish with finely chopped green coriander and serve.
  • You can chill it for some time before serving in summer season.
  • You can substitute lemon juice for raw mango when it is not available.
  • Adjust the ingredients-chilli, coconut, cucumber, mango or lemon juice according to your taste. Some like more of lentil. I prefer more veggies.
  • A small part of coconut and raw mango can be chopped into small pieces and added along with the grated ones. It gives some texture to the recipe.
  • You can add seedless grapes and pomegranate seeds to make it more interesting.

Apart from these many cooked dishes are usually offered on all religious and festive occasions. But for Lord Rama these two are must.