Vijayadashami marks the end of the Navarathri/Dasara celebrations, being the final tenth day signifying the victory of good over evil, as well as the initiation of learning to write for children or embarking on any new endeavour at home or work for adults. This time around in 2021, this auspicious occasion falls on October 15, with every member of the family invoking the blessings of Hindu Divinities - Saraswathi, Durga, Lakshmi for knowledge, strength, prosperity and good luck to emerge successful in all professional pursuits.
A plethora of customary desi delicacies are prepared for this festive event, with simple home-cooked vegetarian dishes being offered as bhog to the Almighty first and then consumed once the period of prayer and fasting is completed. So go ahead and try these authentic Dussehra recipes of Varan Bhaat from Maharashtra consisting of toor dal, steamed rice and Chakka Pradhaman from Kerala - a payasam/kheer/pudding made from jackfruit and coconut milk, for a healthy and warm celebration with near and dear ones.
½ cup toor/arhar dal
2 cups water
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt, as required
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
A pinch of hing/asafoetida
1 long green chilli, slit vertically
½ cup curry leaves
A bunch of coriander leaves
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup rice
2 cups water, for cooking rice
Pressure cook the toor dal in water, adding turmeric powder and along with the tomatoes for 4 – 5 whistles on high flame.
After a few minutes, open the cooker and mash the dal to obtain a slightly fluid consistency.
Heat sesame oil in a pan on medium flame, add mustard seeds, once they pop, put in the jeera/cumin seeds and after they crackle, add the hing, curry leaves and green chillies.
Sauté for 1 – 2 minutes, then switch off the flame and pour this tempering on top of the toor dal.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, pressure cook rice in water and serve the comforting, healthy Varan Bhaat for a hearty Dashami lunch.
Toor/Arhar dal is an excellent plant-based source of proteins, comprising all the essential amino acids for optimal enzyme reactions in cells and muscle strength for growth. Tomatoes abound in vitamin C for bolstered immunity, keeping diseases at bay. Rich in vitamin A and calcium, phosphorous, coriander leaves enhance eyesight and fortify bones and joints.
1 cup jackfruit slices
¼ cup jaggery powder
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
1 tbsp broken coconut bits
3 tsp ghee
Cook the jackfruit slices in water in a vessel on a medium flame for 5 – 7 minutes, until the inner pulp becomes soft.
Turn off the stovetop, set it aside and warm jaggery powder in water until a uniform liquid mix forms.
Add the cooked jackfruit slices to the liquid jaggery mix, cook on a medium flame for 3 – 5 minutes, then switch off the stove and blend it in a mixer into a puree.
To this warm jackfruit jaggery puree, add elaichi/cardamom powder, then heat on low flame and pour in the coconut milk.
Cook for 5 – 7 minutes until all the flavours blend in well, then roast the coconut bits in ghee and add them to the mixture.
Savour this mouth-watering Chakka Pradhaman for dessert as part of the grand Dasara feast.
Jackfruit comprises profuse amounts of B vitamins for enhanced metabolism, digestion. Jaggery is high in iron, a vital mineral for healthy red blood cell synthesis and circulation and preventing anaemia, fatigue. Coconut milk supplies proteins for the growth and development of organs, tissues, besides potassium and healthy fats for heart wellness.