I love Satyanarayana Pooja (Well, actually I love all Poojas :-)). It always signals the start of something new and auspicious. In Andhra Pradesh, Satyanarayana Pooja is performed on all auspicious occassions; just after a wedding when the new couple is embarking on a new life together, at the naming ceremony of a new born, at a house warming and and and …. and any occassion that we feel like celebrating. 🙂
Last month, I was in Bangalore (or Bengaluru as it is now known) for my cousin’s house warming ceremony and Satyanarayana Pooja was one of the many Poojas that was performed. It was the memory of that Pooja that was the inspiration for this post.
Sri Satyanarayana is an incarnation of Maha Vishnu and as with any pooja that involves Vishnu, Alankarana of the God and the Pooja altar is a big deal. In Telugu, we say that Maha Vishnu is “Alankara Priyudu” or one who loves to dress-up. We devote quite a bit of time to decorate the Lord’s picture and the altar with lovely flowers of all hues and muggulu (rangoli in Telugu).
Then there are the 5 stories that are narrated at the end of the Pooja. I never tire of hearing them.
At the end of the Pooja, there is the most divine Prasadam in the form of Banana Sheera that awaits all of us. While I enjoy the simple Sheera or Kesari as is often made in our home, I look forward to the special Banana Sheera (also called Sapata) that is served as Prasadam at a Satyanarayana Pooja.
There is something about a banana, ghee and dry-fruit laden Sheera that is made at a Satyanarayana Pooja that is quite unmatched otherwise. Vijaya Atta, my Maami, made the most divine Sheera at the housewarming and today for some reason I wanted more and so made the sheera at home. 🙂
Serves: 4 to 6
Time: 30 Minutes
- Rava or Semolina – 1 Cup
- Milk – 2.5 Cups
- Ripe Banana – 2
- Sugar – 2 Cups
- Ghee – 3/4 Cup
- Cashews – 10 to 12
- Raisins – 10 to 12
- Green Cardamom – 8
- Peel the green cardamom and crush the seeds to a fine powder.
- Peel and chop the bananas to fine pieces.
- In a heavy bottomed kadai or wok, heat the ghee.
- In another vessel, set the milk to boil.
- When the milk starts to boil, lower the heat.
- Add the cardamom powder to the milk and leave the milk on low heat so that it remains hot.
- Split and add the cashew pieces to the ghee.
- Stir-fry till the pieces just start to change colour.
- Add the raisins.
- Stir-fry till the raisins start to swell.
- Add the rava.
- Stir-fry till the rava just starts to change colour.
- Turn the heat to low.
- Add the banana pieces and mix well.
- Add the warm milk and mix well.
- Turn the heat up to medium.
- Let the rava cook in the milk.
- When the rava is cooked and the sheera is thick, add the sugar.
- Mix well.
- Let the Banana Sheera cook till ghee leaves the sides.
- Turn off the heat.
- Offer as Naivedyam and serve to all as prasadam.