Food is the most important aspect of life. Its no surprise therefore, that it plays a major role in our celebrations as well. Thanksgiving is unthinkable without the Turkey. Christmas Pie is so named because its a must during Christmas. In India also, all the festivals and occasions are marked by specific food items that are absolutely necessary for these celebrations to be complete. Modak for Ganpati, Puran Poli for Devi and so on. On a lighter note, we made sure that we went to the Sai Baba Temple near our house in Delhi every Thursday for the prasad - Poori, Halwa & Kala Chana :)
The point is that food plays such a major role in the worship of God, that I decided to dedicate a whole series to food items particularly meant for the 'Naivedya'.
'Naivedya', in sanskrit means the offering made to God. And this offering is very special, not anything would do. There are some rules to be followed, some specific dishes to be served and a format to be taken care of. Any 'pooja' is not complete without the 'Naivedya'.
The Naivedya consists of the complete thali containing everything right from Chutney, Koshimbir, Sambhar/Saaru, Bhaaji, Kheer, Poori, Bhaat, Masale Bhaat/Chitranna, Papad/Kurdai/Bhaji etc. But as mentioned earlier, all these items have to be made with special care. Garlic & Onions are not allowed. Any vegetable will not do. Some, like Brinjal, Okra etc are not allowed. And depending on the pooja, some specific dishes have to be included.
Naivedya can take on various forms depending upon the type of Pooja, timing of pooja and even the Gods/Goddesses it is offered to. In this series I will try to cover all these items, specifically those prepared in our household.
I am starting off with a 'Sweet', a must, when it comes to Naivedya.
Generally while worshipping the 'Devi' the Naivedya should include Hoorna (kannada) or Puran(Marathi) made of Chana Dal (Split chickpea) and Jaggery. Now, this can take on various forms such as the very famous Puran Poli, the not so known Kadabu and Haygreev, which is almost like Kheer. Of these, Haygreev is the easiest and quickest to make.
- 1 cup Chana Dal
- 1 cup grated Jaggery
- 2 tsps Khus Khus (Poppy seeds)
- 2 tblsp grated dry coconut
- 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
Pressure Cook the Dal till it is properly cooked but not completely mashed. For Puran Poli, we require the Dal to be cooked till it mashes but not so for Haygreev.
The water in which the Dal is boiled along with some Dal is usually reserved. This is used to prepare Kattina Saaru/Katachi Amthi, recipe to follow in a later post.
Once the Dal is cooked, transfer it to a pan and put on heat. Add the Jaggery and other ingredients and mix properly.
Cook on medium flame till the water reduces and it achieves paste like consistency with some bits of Dal in it. The Dal is never to be mashed.
This is almost always had with Tuppa/Toop/Ghee (Clarified Butter), which anyway is a must for the Naivedya.
Variations can include the addition of dry fruits such as Cashew Nuts, Almonds, raisins etc. Around 1 tsp of Nutmeg powder can also be added for extra flavour.
Having said so much about the pooja & Naivedya, I would also like to add that these food items are never restricted to be made on these days only and can be made any day to turn the daily meal into a special one!