We Indians tend to fast for religious reasons on various auspicious days through the year. One of these is Ekadashi, the 11th day of the waxing or the waning moon. On Ekadashi, ideally Hindus have only fruits, vegetables and milk, and avoid all kinds of grains and beans. In Maharashtra, popular fasting foods include potatoes, Sabudana Khichadi, and Sabudana Vada. Another popular combination is Varayche Tandul or Bhagar (Barnyard Millet) and Danyachi Amti (aka Shengdanyachi Amti), a peanut-based gravy.
I am posting this recipe because tomorrow is Ashadi Ekadashi (aka Dev Shayani Ekadashi), a day that signals the start of the Chaturmasya (the 4-month auspicious period that is particularly important to Lord Vishnu). All the major festivals such as Krishnashtami, Vijaya Dashami, and Diwali fall in this period.
In Maharashtra, Ashadi Ekadashi signals the end of the Pandharpur Waari or Pandharpur Yatra which begins 21 days earlier. Pandharpur is the home of Lord Vitthal (fondly known as Vithoba in Maharashtra). Devotees of Lord Vitthal (also known as Warkaris or those who undertake the Waari) walk from Dehu to Pandharpur and the Waari culminates at Pandharpur on Ashadi Ekadashi. This waari was initiated and propogated by two famous poet-saints of Maharashtra, Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar, who were famous for their role in the bhakti movement.
- Sant Dnyaneshwar is famous for Dnyaneshwari, a commentary of the Bhagwat Geeta that sought to bring the message enshrined in the Sanskrit text to the common man via the local language Marathi.
- Sant Tukaram, a devotee of Lord Vitthal, is famous for propagating devotion through his Abhangs (a form of devotional poetry devoted to Lord Vitthal).
Another lovely aspect of Ashadi Ekadashi is the concerts that focus on Abhangs. This year too I will be attending one such concert in Mumbai and I am so looking forward to it.
Do you want to listen to an Abhang? Here are two from two stalwarts.
- The first is Lakshmi Vallabha by Kumar Gandharva.
- The second is Majhe Maher Pandhari by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
Time: 30 Minutes
- Roasted and Skinned Peanuts – 3/4 Cup
- Water – 1.5 Cups
- Kokum – 4
- Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
- Red Chilli – 2
- Grated Jaggery or Sugar – 1 tsp
- Ghee or Oil – 1 tsp
- Salt to Taste
- Grind the peanuts to a coarse paste with 1 cup water.
- Heat the ghee.
- Add the cumin seeds and wait till they splutter.
- Add split red chillies and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
- Add kokum and 1/2 cup of water.
- Let the water simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the jaggery and mix well till the jaggery has dissolved.
- Add the peanut paste and salt.
- Mix well.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat.
- Serve warm with Sabudana Khichadi or Varyache Tandul.
- If you want to roast your own peanuts:
- Heat a wok or kadhai.
- Add the peanuts and dry-roast over low heat till the peanuts start to pop.
- Let the peanuts cool.
- Rub the peanuts between your palms or using a cloth to skin them.