Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chavithi, is an auspicious festival celebrated in a grand manner by the Hindu community in India and across the globe. Heralding the birth of Lord Ganesha, this religious event is observed on Shukla Paksha Chaturthi, which is the fourth day of the fortnight between the new moon and full moon in the month of Bhadra as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This generally corresponds to a period in the months of August or September and falls on September 10 this year.
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Regarded as the “Remover of all obstacles”, Ganesha, The Almighty, is worshipped on this holy occasion, with people chanting shlokas, performing pujas, invoking His blessings and seeking abundant wisdom and prosperity for their near and dear ones. Of course, a myriad variety of traditional sweets are prepared on Vinayaka Chaturthi depending upon the regional customs and cuisines of the many states in India. And granted, these mithais are nothing short of heavenly saccharine delights, as well as being loaded with essential nutrients – proteins, fibres, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, to boost immunity, energy levels and overall wellbeing.
Lip-Smacking Sweets To Enjoy On Vinayaka Chaturthi:
Here we bring you two delightful desi mithai recipes of Kesar Shrikhand – a creamy curd-based dessert from Maharashtra and Bellam Thalikalu – a rich jaggery-infused payasam from Andhra Pradesh, to relish with family amid Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.
2 ½ cups curd
5 – 7 strands kesar i.e. saffron
½ cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
9 – 11 almonds
3 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
Wrap the curd tightly in a muslin cloth and place it on a strainer over a wide bowl.
Let it stay in this floating position for 4 – 5 hours, then collect the thick rich hung curd remaining in the muslin cloth, discarding the surplus water filtered out into the bowl.
Heat milk in a pan, turn off the stovetop and immerse the saffron strands in the warmed liquid.
Add sugar, elaichi powder to the thick curd, mix well and transfer the saffron-infused milk into it.
Stir well with a ladle or large spoon to make sure the flavours blend in, garnish with slivered almonds, chill in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours, then serve the yummy Kesar Shrikhand cold.
Curd is a natural probiotic that balances the gastrointestinal good and bad bacteria i.e. gut flora and promotes digestion. The vivid orange saffron strands are aptly termed as the “sunshine spice” not just for their bright colour but also for their stimulant effects on the brain, which aids in alleviating depression and uplifting moods. Milk is an excellent source of vitamin B12 for optimal fat and energy metabolism, healthy synthesis of red blood cells, besides calcium, magnesium, proteins, phosphorous, for strong bones, joints and muscles. Almonds provide ample vitamin E for augmenting heart functions and protective antioxidant activity to shield the organs, tissues, cells from inflammation and disease, while elaichi encompasses powerful aphrodisiac properties to bolster libido, sexual wellness in men and women.
½ cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup
3 – 4 cups water
1 cup powdered jaggery
A pinch of salt
½ tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
7 – 9 cashews
½ tsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp ghee
Make a dough from wheat flour, adding salt, required amount of water to obtain a firm, flexible consistency.
Roast the cashew nuts in ghee on medium flame, then switch off the stove and keep it aside.
Boil 3 cups of water in a vessel, pour in the powdered jaggery and stir continuously until a uniformly thick syrup forms.
Shape the dough into round balls, then stretch them into long thin noodles and apply a bit of whole wheat flour on them to keep them separated and prevent them from sticking together.
Add these thin flour noodles to the jaggery syrup, simmer for at least 10 – 15 minutes on low flame so that it gets completely cooked.
Just before turning off the stovetop, top off the mixture with dry-roasted poppy seeds, browned cashew nuts soaked in ghee, elaichi/cardamom powder for tempting aromas and flavours, then dig into the Bellam Thalikalu for a delicious and nutritious Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.
Whole wheat flour supplies carbohydrates, calories for instant energy, in addition to dietary fibres for regulating appetite, bowel movements and enhancing digestion. A storehouse of iron, jaggery ensures healthy red blood cell synthesis, besides averting anaemia and remedying fatigue. Cashew nuts contain vast reserves of vitamin B6 for elevated nervous system activity, brain power, aside from vitamin K for optimal blood clotting and wound healing operations. Laden with healthy unsaturated fats, ghee effectively lowers cholesterol levels, improves cardiac muscle functioning and supports heart health.