Most of my posts are on auto publish these days. The posts were written over many weekends when I had little else to do. While I tend to post every alternate day (so that I won't suddenly find that my pipeline has gone dry), just for today, I decided to play around with the schedule. I usually do that when there's something special I want to talk about. A birthday or a festival usually makes it to the list.
This blog hasn't seen too many "festival" specials. There are many reasons for that. The biggest reason is probably the time lag between the making and the posting. And honestly, I don't even "make" that much. Is it a sign of the times, is it a sign of my laziness, is it just me asking the question why? Each time, I'd probably pick "lazy". Then again, I have a job that keeps me at work for more than 9 hours a day and the commute usually takes up another 4. So, if I even manage to "make" anything festival related on the actual date of the festival, I would be too tired to talk about it here. After a few days or weeks, it seems so out of place. Maybe I should talk about them the following year. Like I remember taking pictures of our Pongal feast last year. I managed to sneak one of those pictures into this year's post.
While I am not in favour of celebrating every festival around the weekend closest to it (I mean, what is the point?), I have to resort to doing just that, at times. Often, I make one dish that is part of the meal for that festival and leave it at that. Something is better than nothing, right? As this new year begins, I am caught between the past, the present and the future. Will the traditions of my family carry on? Growing up, I had to contend with Konkani festivals and Tamil festivals. Now I have added a third dimension, Telugu festivals. I'm glad that many of them coincide. It is the new year for us (on my mother's side of the family) as well as for S' side of the family. (And for all of you out there who call this the Telugu New Year, please, please, I beg you to stop doing that. It is the New Year for anyone who follows the lunar calendar in India.)
My MIL said that the sweet dish that they make for today is Bobatlu (Punpolo in Konkani, Poli in Tamil, Puranpoli in Marathi). Among other things, Saraswats make this kheer with green gram dal. It is anyone's guess which I'd pick to make today. Much as I'd love to eat the Bobatlu, I'm not even going to think about making it on my own today. (I have made it a couple of times in the past. Feels like a different life though!) Today it has to be Mugga (Moong) Dali (Dal) Kheeri (Kheer). We also make panak (I shall blog about it later as we make it for a different festival too - same as the Tamil Panakam) and usli.
Here's the recipe:
1 cup Green Gram Dal (Moong Dal)
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
2 tsp Ghee
3/4 cup Jaggery
1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
Heat the ghee in a pressure pan. Add the green gram dal and fry for a few minutes. Add about 3 cups of water and and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Add the jaggery and cook for 5-7 minutes. Blend in the coconut milk and the cardamom powder.
There you go. There couldn't have been a simpler way to make kheer. And there isn't a sweeter way to usher in the New Year. I don't have access to Neem leaves and flowers and as a result, I am not making the Telugu Ugadi Pachadi or the Konkani equivalent (which is very similar to this and has raw mango as well) . For today, I will just have to make do with this bowl of kheer. May you and yours enjoy a lovely year.