It will be Krishna Janmashtami soon. It is a festival that is celebrated on the eighth day of the dark (second, waning half) half of the month of Shravan. According to popular mythology, Krishna, the 8th incarnation of Vishnu from the Dashavatar was born at midnight on this day.
It is believed that Krishna, who grew up as a cowherd, relished all forms of dairy products. The stories of his childhood abound with tales of his mischief, where he and his motley group of playmates would get hold of some milk, butter or curd in any way they could.
Here are two recipes of a simple childhood food that is made on Janamashtami, often used as a naivedyam/ prasad.
I have happy memories from my own childhood about these. My mother would make both types every time, as I loved the sweet variety, and both my siblings preferred the savoury one. Every time she made them, we would wait with impatience for the puja to be done so that we could stuff ourselves with them. Both use an easily available staple – beaten rice as the base.
2 cups beaten rice, the medium thick variety
1 cup milk
2 cups curds
2 tbsps grated fresh coconut
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
1 tsp ghee/ clarified butter
Half tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera
Half tsp black pepper
1-2 dry red chillies
Handful of curry leaves
Half tsp asafoetida/ hing
Fresh cucumber finely chopped – half cup
Carrot finely chopped/ grated – half cup
Some chopped fresh coriander
Wash the beaten rice in drinking water, and drain away the excess. Keep covered for 15-20 mins. The beaten rice swells up and becomes soft. Heat ghee in a vessel, add mustard seeds, dry red chillies, black pepper seeds, curry leaves, jeera and hing, in that order. When the crackling stops, pour the tempering on the soaked beaten rice and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well. If it seems too thick, add some more curds and mix. The consistency should be like that of curd-rice. Serve in a bowl and enjoy.
2 cups beaten rice – the medium thick variety
1 cup milk
2 cups curds
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1 cup powdered jaggery – I think the Kolhapur jaggery is the best for this, as it is soft, friable, and very sweet. It is not too dry, nor too sticky.
Wash, drain, and stand the beaten rice as for the savoury recipe. Then just mix all the remaining ingredients, using more milk, this time, if too thick. Serve in a bowl and enjoy.
Traditionally, a leaf of tulsi is kept on the served portion before it is offered to anyone.
Image credit – http://www.indiatimes.com/health/recipes/healthy-snacks-gopalkala-recipe-240603.html
Sandhya Renukamba was a doctor in a faraway lifetime but quit setting bones for delving into tomes. Her daughter is the centre of her universe. Together they have had many adventures of the bibliophilic kind, which she writes about at My Handful of the Sky. History, math, language and music make up the rest of her world. Her idea of heaven is a lazy afternoon with a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other, with her favourite raga playing in the background. She dreams of writing a book someday. A quote that she loves: “The world was hers for the reading!”
How do you celebrate Krishna’s Birthday ??