EVENT: FOODIE’S REDOING OLD POSTS #11
This post has been updated for the Facebook group called Foodie’s Re_doing Old Posts. Its a group that Renu who blog’s at Cook With Renu, thought out and put into action. We’re on our 11th re-doing post and I simply love this group. Why? Well, its got me to pay more attention to my much neglected old posts. For this post I have updated the pictures and a bit of the write up but the recipe remains the same. You may want to check out my other posts that I’ve re-done.
2. Tomato Salsa
10. Marble Barfi
Today is Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday, so here’s wishing you all a very Happy Janmashatami. Celebrations will begin at the temples in the evening with abhishek, kirtan, drama and prasad. I feel bad that I was not able to prepare many dishes to offer to Lord Krishna simply because I did not pre-plan. When my mother in law was living in Mombasa, we would plan who would make what and how many offerings there would be. We’d make anywhere between 7 to 11 dishes or more. After she left for India, I usually make at least 5 different varieties but this year I have managed only 1. I usually make shiro (semolina pudding), carrot halwa, date and cashew nut barfi, beetroot halwa besides an eggless cake.
Hopefully next year with a bit of planning I endeavor to make more offerings. However as the saying goes, whatever is offered with your heart God accepts. This year I tried out a new recipe and made this simple halwa for offering.
What is Janmashtami?
Known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is an annual Hindu Festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. It’s on the 8th day, ashtami of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight according to the lunar calendar) during the holy month of Shravan.
According to Hindu belief, when the world gets engulfed with evil, God himself takes on human form to come purge the world and lead people back to the right path. God Vishnu has incarnated time and again to ensure the preservation of mankind and Krishna is his 8th incarnation. He represents the destruction of evil and in the importance of Dharma (Duty).
Who is Lord Krishna?
Lord Krishna is one of the most popular and worshipped divinity. He is the eighth incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu. His biological parents Devaki and Vasudeva were imprisoned by the evil King Kansa, who happened to be Devaki’s brother. According to the prophecy, Devaki’s 8th son would destroy King Kansa. Kansa thought he would kill the 8th child. But Narada (a sage who was a musician, travelled travelled and a storyteller) put a question saying 8th child from the beginning, or end?
So King Kansa decided to kill every child. The seventh son (Balaram) was celestially transferred to the womb of Rohini’s womb, first wife of Vasudeva. Lord Krishna was born in the prison. He was born at midnight on a dark night. Miraculously, the guards and everyone in and around the palace fell asleep except for Vasudeva, Devaki and the new born. Vasudeva crossed the stormy Yamuna river at night and took baby Krishna to his friend in the next village Gokul. Lord Krishna was raised by Nandalal and Yashoda.
How the festival Janmashtami started?
Krishna was a special and unique child and the village started celebrating his birthday. Slowly the celebration spread to all areas of Mathura and then to the state of Uttar Pradesh. Soon the whole country was celebrating his birthday.
Rituals that devotees follow on Janmashtami
On Janmashtami day the devotees of Lord Krishna fast from before dawn to midnight. Some fast without taking any food, some eat fruits and nuts and others may fast by consuming one meal which is grain and pulse free.
Birthday Celebrations begin exactly at midnight and after the idols of Baby Krishna are worshipped a wide variety of food is offered . His all time favorite is anything made from milk, yogurt or makhan(butter).
Check out this easy to make beetroot halwa, its got Lord Krishna’s favorite milk in it.
Makes about 10 – 12 pieces
2 cups grated beetroot (packed down gently)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup milk
¾ cup milk powder
3 tbsps fresh cream
3 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 to 3 tbsps chopped almonds and pistachios
- Mix the cream into the milk powder. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Sieve the mixture to get fine crumbs. Break down the lumps using a spoon.
- Heat 2 tbsps of ghee in a pan over medium heat. I prefer using a non stick pan.
- Add the grated beetroot and saute. Let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally to avoid the mixture from getting burnt.
- Add half a cup of milk and let it cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining milk, sugar and milk powder mixture and mix well.
- Keep on stirring and cook till the milk evaporates and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. The mixture should come together in the middle when you stir.
- Add cardamom powder and mix.
- Add the remaining ghee and mix till the halwa becomes glossy.
- Add chopped nuts and mix well.
- Serve immediately hot by spooning it into serving bowls.
- Or you can leave it in the fridge for 2-3 hours and then roll into balls.
- Grease your hands with little ghee before rolling the halwa into balls.
- If you like extra sweetness, use ½ cup of sugar..
- Reduce the amount of ghee for a healthier option.
- Instead of milk powder and cream mixture you can use about ½ cup grated fresh khoya or mawa (milk solid).
- For a diabetic friendly option add a sweetener like stevia (about 2 tbsp) by replacing the sugar.
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