Makara Sankranti : The Festival of Harvest
“Ellu bella thindu olle mathaadi”, is a Kannada saying that goes around during Makara Sankranti, the festival of Harvest. It means, “eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak good words”. Each year, in the mid of January, the country celebrates the end of a year and welcomes a new beginning. Sankranti is considered to be a very auspicious festival that plays a significant role in Hindu traditions and cultural values. It is celebrated on almost the same day of every year, which marks the sun’s transit into the Makara Rashi. It is a colorful festival that includes different cultural activities like kite flying, singing and dancing and rangoli making.
No Indian festival feels complete without its own special delicacies, such is Makara Sankranti. Til ladoo and pongal, a dish made by mixing rice and sugar or jaggery, are the most famous dishes served during the festival in southern parts of India. Other dishes include Avarekalu rice, tamarind or lemon rice, vegetable stews, payasam and vada.
Top 5 Traditional Delicacies to try this Sankranti:
1.Ellunde (Til Ladoo)
Til ladoo is a scrumptious Sankranti staple. It is a very famous sweet served in Karnataka during the festival.
- ½ cup white sesame seeds.
- ½ cup black sesame seeds.
- 1 cup jaggery
- 2 tbsp peanuts (roasted and crushed)
- 2 tbsp cashews (chopped)
- ½ tablespoon cardamom powder
- Dry roast both black and white sesame seeds in a pan.
- Next, take another pan and dissolve jaggery using water under a low flame. If not, using jaggery syrup is a great alternative.
- Once the jaggery syrup is boiled and cooled, move it into a container and add roasted sesame seeds, peanuts, cashews and cardamom powder.
- Combine all the mixture well and allow it to cool until the mixture thickens.
- Grease your hands with ghee and prepare ball shapes with the mixture.
- Finally, serve the til ladoo and store the remaining in an airtight container to enjoy.
2.Avarekalu bath (Field beans rice)
A very tasty and filling rice dish prepared using field beans and other ingredients. It is a healthy lunch recipe that is relished all through Karnataka during the festival.
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup avarekalu (field beans)
- 1 green brinjal
- 3-4 tbsp cooking oil
- ½ tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp urad dal
- 1 tbsp Bengal gram
- 2 tbsp peanuts
- 4-5 curry leaves
- 1 gooseberry-sized tamarind
- 1 gooseberry-sized jaggery or jaggery syrup
- ¼ turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
Ingredients to prepare masala powder:
- 2-4 red chillies
- 2 tbsp urad dal
- 2 tbsp Bengal gram
- 3 tbsp coriander seeds
- ½ finger-length cinnamon stick
- 5-6 cloves
- 7-8 pepper
- ½ tbsp poppy seeds
- ¼ dry coconut
- ½ tbsp cooking oil
- Peel and collect Avarekalu, chop the brinjal and soak them in water.
- Add 1 cup of rice to a pressure cooker along with Avarekalu, salt and a little ghee and cook it until two whistles.
- Next, heat ½ tbsp of cooking oil in a pan and add red chilies, urad dal, Bengal gram and coriander seeds. Fry them on medium flame.
- When the dals become slightly brown, add cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, poppy seeds and fry on medium flame.
- Next, add coconut to the roasted masala, roast it for a while and switch off the flame.
- Once the masala is cool, grind it into a coarse powder and keep it aside.
- Next, take a big cooking pan and put 4 tbsp of cooking oil or ghee into it. Once the oil is hot, add peanuts and wait until it starts cracking.
- Add mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal to the pan.
- When you hear the mustard seed splutter, add curry leaves, followed by chopped brinjal and turmeric powder. Fry them for a minute under high flame and add jaggery or jaggery syrup, salt and tamarind juice. Cook until the brinjal is soft.
- Next, add the masala powder and mix well for a minute under low flame and switch off the stove.
- Add in the cooked rice and Avarekalu and mix it well.
- Serve it for breakfast or lunch.
3.Sweet Pongal (Sihi Huggi)
Sweet pongal is an appetizing delicacy made with rice, lentils, ghee, jaggery, cardamom and nuts. This traditional dish is mainly made to offer to the gods during festivals and special occasions. It is mostly made in the Tamil Nadu region on the day of Makara Sankranti.
- ½ cup moong dal
- ¾ cup rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup jaggery or jaggery syrup
- 2-3 tbsp ghee
- 15 cashew nuts
- 2 cloves
- 2 tbsp coconut pieces
- 2 tbsp raisins
- Add ½ cup moong dal to a pressure cooker or heavy bottom pan.
- Dry roast the dal until it turns light golden brown and fragrant.
- Next, add ¾ cup of rice to the same pan, pour water, and rinse both of them 3 to 4 times. Be careful as the pot will be hot. Drain the water carefully.
- Pour 4 cups of water and cook under pressure until 4 whistles.
- After the pressure is released, open the cooker and mash the rice and dal lightly.
- Next, pour the jaggery syrup directly onto the cooked rice and dal. Add ½ to ¾ tbsp of cardamom powder.
- Mix and cook at medium flame until the jaggery syrup is blended well with rice. Turn off the stove when it begins to bubble.
- Heat a pan with 2-3 tbsp of ghee on medium flame. Add 2 tbsp of coconut pieces and fry them until they turn golden brown. Transfer the coconut pieces to a plate.
- Next, add 15 cashew nuts and two cloves to the ghee. Fry until the cashews are gold and 2 tbsp of raisins.
- Off the stove and let the mixture cool. Pour this into the sweet Pongal and mix well.
- The sweet Pongal is ready to be served.
4.Gasagase Payasa (Khus Khus kheer) :
This authentic and creamy dessert is one of the classic sweet recipes of Karnataka cuisine. It is made with coconut milk and poppy seeds and has a unique taste and texture. The payasa is specially made during celebrations and major festivals like Makara Sankranti.
- 3 tbsp gasagase (poppy seeds)
- 15 cashews
- 5 almonds
- 1 cup coconut
- ½ water
- ¾ cup jaggery or jaggery syrup
- 1½ cup water
- ¼ tbsp cardamom powder
- 1½ tbsp ghee
- 2 tbsp rasins
- Take a pan and add 3 tbsp poppy seeds, 5 cashews and 5 almonds and roast them until the poppy seeds start to pop.
- Once cooled down, add the mixture to a jar and grind to a fine powder without adding any water.
- intoNow add 1 cup coconut and half cup water to the same jar and blend to a smooth paste.
- Now add jaggery or jaggery syrup to a large kadai and boil for 2 minutes.
- Now add the prepared paste and mix well.
- Roast the remaining cashews and raisins in ghee until they turn golden brown. Pour them over the kheer. Also add ¼ tbsp of cardamom powder and mix well.
- Gasagase payase is ready to serve and relish.
5. Masala Vada
Masala vada is undoubtedly one of the most popular snacks in South Indian households. People from different age groups relish this fritter type of snack anytime of the day. It is also one of the most common and important dishes of Sankranti.
- ½ cup chana dal or kadale bele
- 1-2 green chillies
- 5-6 curry leaves finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- A generous pinch of asafoetida
- 2-4 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
- Salt as per taste
- ½ finely chopped onion
- Rinse and soak the chana dal for 4 hours.
- Next, drain the water and coarse grind the dal with finely chopped green chilli without any water.
- Transfer the grinded dal to a wide bowl and add all the other ingredients and have a quick mix.
- Next, take lemon-sized balls of mixture, and press gently between your palms to get a flat shape.
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and deep fry the vadas under medium flame.
- Make sure not to over fry the vada, and stop when it is light brown.
- Serve the vadas hot or when they are cooled down.
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