Shravana Masam, Shravan 2017 | Festival Dates and Recipes

July 24, 2017 is the start of Shravana Masam or the month of Shravan in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka which follow the Amavasyant calendar. It ends on August 23, 2017. Now begins the “favouritest” part of the year for me.

Shravan is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar and is probably its holiest. It is choc-a-bloc with festivals and auspicious occasions. It also ushers in the 4-month long festival season in India that stretches right up to Deepavali or Diwali (mid-November this year).

The intervening period is filled with all manner of festivals and holy days that give me an opportunity to indulge in all my favourite activities; perform and attend assorted poojas, dress up in lovely silk sarees, visit friends and relatives for haldi-kumkum, sing in temples on various auspicious days, attend a range of concerts, and last but not the least, enjoy a vast range of delicacies. 🙂

Read a scientific explanation of why we should fast in Shravan. Eating fish is also prohibited in Shravan, for one simple reason; fish spawn at this time of the year.

Each region in India has its own set of festivals and here are some that we observe in Andhra Pradesh (which is the state my ancestors are from) and Maharashtra (the state where I grew up and live):

  • Shravan Somvaram or Mondays in the month of Shravan are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many devotees fast on these days. It is said that unmarried girls who want to get married should observe the Shravan Somvar fasts.The dates for the Shravan Somvaram Vratam in 2017 are:
    • July 24, 2017
    • July 31, 2017
    • August 7, 2017
    • August 14, 2017
    • August 21, 2017
  • Mangala Gowri Pooja is performed by married women (sumangali) on all Tuesdays in Shravan for the well-being of their husbands. Gowri (or Gauri) is also another name for Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.The dates for the Mangala Gowri Pooja in 2017 are:
    • July 25, 2017
    • August 1, 2017
    • August 8, 2017
    • August 15, 2017
  • Shravan Shukravaram or Fridays in the Month of Shravan are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. For married women in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, the most important Shravan Shukravaram is the one that falls on the Friday before the full moon (Shravana Pournami Purvasta Shukravarey). This is the day on which Varalakshmi Vratam is performed.The dates for Shravan Shukravar in 2017 are:
    • July 28, 2017
    • August 4, 2017 (Varalakshmi Vratam)
    • August 11, 2017
    • August 18, 2017
  • Nag Panchami is the day snakes are worshipped in many parts of the country. The date for Nag Panchami is August 7, 2017.
  • Shravan Paurnami or Shravan Poornima has become popular all over India as Raskha Bandhan, a festival that is essentially from North India and one that celebrates the relationship between a brother and sister.In Maharashtra, it is celebrated by the Koli community or the fisherman community as Narali Poornima. They worship Lord Varuna, the lord of the seas to bless them with a bountiful catch and protect them on rough seas.In Tamil Nadu, this day is also celebrated as Avani AvittamThe date for Raksha Bandhan, Narali Poornima, Avani Avittam is August 7, 2017.
  • Gokulashtami, Krishnashtami, or Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the birth of Lord Krishna; He who gave the world the Bhagwat Gita and as a child was known to steal milk, curds, and butter from all households around him. In Maharashtra, Krishna’s antics as a childare enacted by youngsters (known locally as Govindas) who go around breaking pots of milk and curd tied high above the ground by forming human pyramids.The date for Krishnashtami, Janmashtami, or Gokulashtami is August 14, 2017.

Here are a few recipes that you can make during this month.

Rice-based Recipes

 

Chintapandu Pulihora, Puliyodarai
or Tamarind Rice

 

Kovil Pulihora or Puliyodarai
(Tamarind Rice as made in temples)

Kovil, Temple or Koyil Pulihora, Puliyodarai

Nimmakaya Pulihora, Elumichai Sadam
or Lemon Rice

Lemon Rice, Nimmakaya Pulihora, Elumichai Sadam

Kobbari Annam, Thengai Sadam,
or Coconut Rice
Kobbari Annam or Coconut Rice or Thengai Sadam

Nuvvulu Annam, Ellu Sadam or Tilwale Chawal

Nuvulla Annam, Ellu Sadam, or Tilwale Chawal

Daddojanam, Thair Sadam, or Tempered Curd Rice

Daddojanam, Thair Sadam, Dahi Chawal or Curd Rice

Sundal or Guggillu

Chickpea or
Kondakadalai Sundal

Chickpea or Konda Kadalai Sundal

Senagala Guggillu

Guggillu or Sundal with Bengal Gram

Pattani Sundal or Pattani Guggillu

Pattani Sundal, Pattani Guggillu, or Dried Green Peas Sundal - Navratri and Varalakshmi Vratam Recipe

Verkadalai Sundal or Verusenaga Gugillu

Peanut or Verkadalai Sundal, or Verusenaga Guggillu

Desserts  
Bobbattu, Obbattu, Puran Poli, or Holige

Obbattu, Bobbattu, Puran Poli or Holige

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu - 2

 

Badam Payasam

Badam Payasam or Badam Kheer

 Pesara Pappu Paravannam, Pasi Parippu Payasam, Moong Dal Kheer

Pesara Pappu or Pasi Paruppu Payasam, Moong Dal Kheer

Ksheerannam

Ksheerannam

Bellam Paravannam

Bellam Paramannam - Jaggery and Rice Pudding

Semiya Payasam

Semiya Payasam, Semiya Kheer, or Vermicelli Pudding

Saggubiyyam Payasam or
Sabudana Kheer
Saggubiyyam Payasam, Sabudana Kheer or Sago Pudding - 1
Pal Payasam

Paal or Pal Payasam

Rava Kesari

Rava Kesari - Saffron Semolina Pudding

Sapata or Banana Sheera

Banana Sheera - Sapata - Satyanarayan Pooja Prasadam

Besan Laddu

Besan Laddoo

Coconut Laddu

Quick and Easy Coconut Laddoo

Minapa Sunni Undalu

Minapa Sunni Undalu - Udad Dal Laddoo or Laddu

Sojjappalu or Halwa Stuffed Puri

Sojjappalu or Sajjappa - Kesari Stuffed Puris

Badam Halwa

Badam Halwa or Almond Halwa Recipe

Makar Sankranti Recipes | Pongal Recipes

Collection Makar Sankranti Recipes from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra
Collection Makar Sankranti Recipes from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra

Makara Sankranti is one of those festivals that is celebrated across the length and breadth of India, albeit under various names. Typically, celebrated over 2 to 4 days, it marks the start of Uttarayanam or  the 6-month period which marks the the passage of the Sun northwards towards the Tropic of Cancer.

Hindus believe that the 6 months of Uttarayanam corresponds to 1 day for the Gods while the 6 months of Dakshinayanam, when the Sun moves southwards towards the Tropic of Capricorn corresponds to 1 night for the Gods. 🙂

Makara Sankranti is also the harvest festival and so a day to celebrate the fresh harvest. A lot of the dishes made on this day include freshly harvested produce such as rice, sugarcane, etc.

One combination that is common to Makara Sankrati celebrations across India is Til and Gud or Sesame and Jaggery. You will find people across India making sweets such as Til ke Laddoo (or Tilgul as it is called in Maharashtra) or Gajak.

It is a day to celebrate and typically every family has a feast at home. Here are some Sankranti Recipes that you can include in this feast.

Using new rice is a big part of Sankranti celebrations in the South. You can make:

Do you want healthier options of the traditional dishes? Try these Sankranti Recipes for Rava Pongal and Kuthiraivali Pongal | Udalu Katte Pongali |Barnyard Millet Pongal.

Of course, no celebration in Andhra Pradesh is complete without Pulihora. Try one of these different versions:

No celebrations are ever complete without sweets or desserts, so here are a few you could make:

Sesame and peanuts are popular ingredients for Sankranti celebrations.

And how can one forget the one dish that is a must in all South India festival feasts; Garelu or Ulundu Vada. You could also use the Garelu to make Perugu Garelu.

Happy Sankranti All!

Bhogichi Bhaji | A Makara Sankranti Recipe from Maharashtra

Bhogichi Bhaji, as the name suggests, is a dish made on Bhogi in Maharashtra. It is a mixed vegetable that celebrates the winter vegetables such as Paavta (Indian Lima Beans), Fresh Green Chana (Harbhara), Carrots, and more. In addition, Bhogichi Bhaji uses Peanut Powder and Sesame Powders which are warming in nature and are perfect for the season. It is to be savoured hot with Bajrichi Bhakri.

I looked at many recipes online and used this one here as the base.

What I love about this wonderful recipe is that it celebrates fresh produce much like Aviyal from Tamil Nadu, Undhiyu from Gujarat, Shukto from Bengal, and Pindi Miriyam from Andhra Pradesh.

  • This is a no-onion, no-garlic version of this famed recipe from Maharashtra.
  • Bhogi is the first day of Makara Sankranti, the 3- or 4-day festival marking the start of Uttaraayan, the 6-month auspicious period in the Hindu calendar.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, small children and babies are showered with a mix of Bhogi Pallu (a kind of ber), sugarcane, flowers, rice, and coins. It is supposed to be a blessing and brings good luck. 🙂

 

Bhogichi Bhaji from Maharashtra
Bhogichi Bhaji from Maharashtra

How to Make Bhogichi Bhaji

 

Bhogichi Bhaji Recipe | Sankranti Recipe from Maharashtra
Bhogichi Bhaji | A Makara Sankranti Recipe from Maharashtra
Yum
Print Recipe
Bhogichi Bhaji is a wonderful mixed vegetable made in Maharashtra for Bhogi, the first day of Sankrant,
Servings Prep Time
4 People 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 People 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 Minutes 1 Hour
Bhogichi Bhaji Recipe | Sankranti Recipe from Maharashtra
Bhogichi Bhaji | A Makara Sankranti Recipe from Maharashtra
Yum
Print Recipe
Bhogichi Bhaji is a wonderful mixed vegetable made in Maharashtra for Bhogi, the first day of Sankrant,
Servings Prep Time
4 People 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
4 People 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 Minutes 1 Hour
Instructions
Soak the Peanuts
  1. Soak the peanuts in warm water for about 1 hour.
Making Bhogichi Bhaji
  1. Drain the water from the soaked peanuts. Set aside.
  2. In a kadai, over medium flame, heat the oil.
  3. Add the mustard seeds.
  4. When they splutter, add cumin seeds.
  5. Turn the heat down to low.
  6. Add the curry leaves, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and hing.
  7. Turn the heat up to medium.
  8. Add the peanuts, green chana, carrots, and drumsticks
  9. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add the potatoes and carrots.
  11. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Add about 1/4 cup water.
  13. Cook covered till the vegetables are just al-dente.
  14. Add the Pavta beans and brinjal.
  15. Stir-fry till the beans and brinjal is cooked.
  16. Add the Goda Masala, salt, and a few tbsp of water.
  17. Mix well and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes.
  18. Add the tamarind pulp and a little water, if required.
  19. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  20. Turn off the heat.
  21. Add the grated jaggery, peanut powder and sesame powder.
  22. Mix well.
  23. Add the grated coconut and mix with a gentle hand.
  24. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
  25. Serve immediately with hot rotis or Bhakri.
Recipe Notes

This bhaji tastes absolutely great with some hot Bajrichi Bhakri and Butter.

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Bhogichi Bhaji for Makar Sankrant from Maharashtra
Bhogichi Bhaji for Makar Sankrant from Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, peanuts, sesame, and jaggery play a big role in Sankrant celebrations. Here is a recipe for Til Poli which celebrates all three ingredients.

Mohanthal | Besan Burfi (Without Khoya or Mawa)

I have been meaning to make Mohanthal (Besan Burfi) for ages now and have always been put off by how daunting it is. Then this Diwali, I decided to make it much like I overcame my reluctance to make Badushah | Balushahi last year. 🙂 I am glad I made the effort to make this traditional sweet as it turned out just perfect!

In India, sweets have a rather different connotation from desserts of the Western world. By sweets, here we mean an assortment of dishes that can be enjoyed as a post-meal dessert, be served as a snack, or then something you could just pop into your mouth when the mood takes (a la chocolates).

Mohanthal is essentially made by roasting Besan in ghee till it is brown and then adding sugar syrup to it before cooking it further. It sounds simple and it is simple I guess, except for the last part where you have to keep an eye on the Mohanthal else it will become too hard or chewy or then not set. Pretty much the same problems you have with the Traditional Mysore Pak.

There are many different variations of this traditional sweet; I chose the simplest one to try, the one without Mawa. It turned out to be decadent and delicious.

Mohanthal with Mawa
Mohanthal with Mawa

How to Make Mohanthal | Besan Burfi

Ingredients
  1. Besan – 1 Cup
  2. Ghee – 1/2 Cup + 1/2 tsp for greasing
  3. Sugar – 1/2 Cup
  4. Milk – 2 tsp
  5. Water – 1/4 Cup
  6. Lemon Juice – 1/4 tsp (Optional)
  7. Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Nutmeg Powder – 1/4 tsp
  9. Dry Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Almond Flakes – 1 tbsp
  11. Pistachio Flakes – 1 tbsp
Method to Make Mohanthal
  1. Grease a 6″ plate with 1″ edge with 1/2 tsp of ghee.
  2. Preparing the Besan
    1. Melt 1/4 cup ghee.
    2. Sift the besan into a large plate.
    3. Add 2 tsp milk to the besan and mix well.
    4. Drizzle the ghee onto the besan.
    5. With your fingers mix well till the besan becomes like crumbs.
    6. Set aside.
  3. Making the Sugar Syrup
    1. In a pan, gently boil the sugar and water till the sugar dissolves.
    2. Let it boil till it reaches the one thread consistency.
    3. Turn off the heat.
    4. Add the dry ginger, nutmeg and cardamom powders.
    5. Mix well.
    6. Add the lemon juice and mix well. The lemon juice prevents the sugar in the syrup from crystallizing.
  4. Making the Mohanthal
    1. In a kadai, heat 1/4 cup of ghee.
    2. Add the besan mixture.
    3. Over medium heat, saute till the besan turns a rich brown earthy colour and becomes aromatic.
    4. Turn the heat to low.
    5. Add the sugar syrup to the besan.
    6. Mix well. It will becomes spongy at first.
    7. Over medium heat, cook the mixture for about 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly. Essentially to ensure that the sugar syrup is well incorporated.
    8. Pour this hot batter into the greased plate.
    9. Ensure that the Mohanthal spreads evenly.
    10. Sprinkle the almond and pistachio flakes over the Mohanthal.
  5. Let the Mohanthal cook for about 1 hour.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut them into squares.
  7. Enjoy!

Tips:

  • For the rich brown colour, ensure that the besan is well-sauteed in the ghee. It takes some muscle power but is needed.
  • After adding the sugar syrup, ensure you mix everything quickly and do not cook it too much or you will have rubbery, chewy Mohanthal.
  • You can store the Mohanthal at room temperature for 2-3 days. For a longer duration, I would recommend refrigerating it.

Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa | South-Indian Moong Dal Halwa – Diwali Recipe

Asoka Halwa is South-Indian Style  Moong Dal Halwa from from the Tanjavur (Tanjore) district of Tamil Nadu. Locally, it is also known as Thiruvaiyaru Halwa after the city where it originated.

Making Asoka Halwa is similar to making the North Indian Moong Dal Halwa except that it uses a bit of wheat flour to hasten the cooking process and a lot less ghee. Also, many a time, yu will find it bright orange in colour because of food colour (I did not use any).

In terms of taste and texture, the Thiruvaiyaru Halwa is far more dense but similar in taste to the Moong Dal Halwa.

Do try it this Diwali and decide for yourself.

Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa
Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa

How to Make Asoka Halwa | Thiruvaiyaru Halwa | South-Indian Moong Dal Halwa

Time: 1 Hour

Makes: 2 Cups

Serves: 6 to 8

  1. Moong Dal – 1/2 cup
  2. Sugar – 1.25 cups
  3. Ghee – 8 tbsp
  4. Wheat flour – 2 tbsp
  5. Green Cardamom – 6
  6. Orange/Red Food Colour – A Few Drops (Optional)
  7. Cashew – 10 to 12

Method

  1. Getting the Moong Dal Ready
    1. Over a medium flame, dry roast the moong dal till it is light golden colour.
    2. Soak the moong dal in in 1.25 cups water for about 15 minutes.
    3. Pressure cook the moong dal for about 4 whistles till it is of mashable consistency.
    4. Let it cool a bit.
  2. Roasting the Cashews and Wheat Flour
    1. Over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp ghee.
    2. Add split cashews and fry till light golden.
    3. Remove the cashews.
    4. Lower the flame.
    5. To the same ghee, add the  wheat flour.
    6. Stir-fry till it starts to change colour and becomes aromatic.
    7. Remove into a plate to cool.
  3. If the moong dal has a lot of residual water, drain it.
  4. Peel the green cardamom.
  5. Grind together the sugar and green cardamom seeds to a fine powder.
  6. To the sugar, add the moong dal and grind together to a smooth paste. Because of the water in the sugar, it will become a bit liquidy.
  7. In a non-stick pan, heat about 3 tbsp ghee.
  8. Add the moong dal paste and saute while stirring constantly.
  9. When the paste starts to change colour and become translucent, add 2 tbsp ghee.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add the fried cashews and wheat flour.
  12. Cook while stirring constantly. The Asoka Halwa will now thicken very quickly.
  13. Continue to cook till the Asoka Halwa starts to leave the sides of the pan.
  14. Add the remaining ghee and mix well.
  15. Turn off the heat.
  16. Serve the Asoka Halwa warm.
  17. Enjoy!