- Submitted by Raji Ramakrishnan and Vijaylakshmi
(Vinayagar Chaturthi Recipes, Pillayar Chaturthi Recipes, Modak Recipes, Kozhukattai Recipes)
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As a little girl, one of my favorite festivals among all is Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi. The reasons for it are plenty, one of which is, my grandmother’s stories which kind of depicted that he’s a ‘super hero’ god who was fond of eating tasty laddoos and modaks and fight with demons and even lord Shiva with full valor. Today when I see my children watching Bal Ganesh cartoon, I relive those childhood days and thoughts. As I grew older and read mythological stories, I also realized that lord Ganesha is the god of good beginnings, prosperity and obstacle remover. In Hindu mythology, this is the only reason for beginning any ritual, be it a festival ritual or ceremonial rituals like wedding, baby shower or seemantham, we begin with a Ganesha puja, a prayer to reinforce that all rituals must go on without any obstacles.
Ganesh chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesh. The story of how lord Ganesh came into existence is very well known among all. Chaturthi means 4th day from the new moon day or amavasya and Ganesha is the name of the lord. Each chaturthi in every month is auspicious for Ganesha, but the chaturthi in the Tamil month of avani or bhadrapada in Hindu calendar gains special importance.
Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated with full pompousness and grandeur in all parts of India. But the most famous celebration is in the state of Maharashtra. The 10 day social and public celebration of Ganesh chaturthi originated from Maharashtra by Chatrapati shivaji after the Mughal- Maratha war and again reinstated by Lokmanya Tilak in the 19th century. Due to the increasing issues of Caste system, joint celebrations of Ganesh chaturthi festival by people of all the castes began, reinstalling the fact that all were same in the eyes of god. The 10 day festival begins with the “sthapana puja”, meaning arrival Ganesh or bringing of Ganesh idol to our homes. These idols are made of clay and vary from 6 inches to over 70 feet in size. When we were kids, the ganesha idol was always chosen by me and my brother, and decorating the idol and the puja room was solely my responsibility. Now, my children have taken over control on all these. We cook many items for Prasadam or neivadyam for this festival. Though, ganesha likes all sweets right from payasam to pooran poli, his favorite is “Modak” or vella kozhukattai. We also make many varieties of savory version of the kozhukattai along with chick pea sundal, appam and payasam. Cooking each of these items before the auspicious puja time kicks in a lot of excitement. But one need not fear as it’s not tough to cook all of these in the shortest time. So, get set for the ganesh chaturthi festival and let there be abundant blessings from the lord and make all our lives smooth without any obstacles. Ganpati bappa moryaa!!! Mangal murthy morayaa!!!
- Make a list of all the items required for the puja like coconuts, fruits, betel leaves, flowers, camphor, agarbathi, diya or lamp ready the previous evening itself.
- Soak chickpeas the previous night for making sundal. Grate or break the jaggery into powder form for easy cooking.
- After taking bath, make the coconut stuffing ready and the stuffing required for the savory kozhukattai. Soak urad dhal if you are planning to make vada.
- Get the rice flour water mixture ready and make the dough.
- By the time the dough cools down, keep rice, dhal and chickpeas in the cooker. You could also grind urad dhal for vada batter. The batter can be put in the freezer to get the best consistency.
- By now the dough will be cooled and you can begin to make kozhukattai. For neivadyam, 12 in each variety should be sufficient. This should approximately take about half hour.
- Arrange all the kozhukattai in the idly cooker for steaming.
- By now, we will be able to open the pressure cooker and it will be time for seasoning sundal.
- If vada is part of the neivadyam, begin frying the vada. It would be enough if 4 vadas are made for neivadyam. Now you are ready to enjoy the festival stress free. Cheers!!!
Sweet Kozhukattai (Modak) Recipes
Savory Kozhukattai (Modak) Recipes
Other snacks and sweets
Payasam (Kheer) Varieties