Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Vadapappu (వడపప్పు)

Vadapappu
Ethereal Vadapappu

With only one ingredient, this has to be the easiest neivedyam one could prepare on a festival day. A Sri Rama Navami original classic, rehydrated yellow moong dal is a delight and goes by a special name Vadapappu.

The surprising good taste comes from the simplicity of the preparation. No cooking involved. No spices, no oil and not even salt or sugar. Just soak the moong dal in water overnight. Half cup would be enough for two people. Drain. Rinse once, and consume. The taste will be extra good when prepared with split moong dal. Follow the same principle. Soak overnight, rinse the dal in several changes of water to remove the green coverings. Like mini yellow roses peeking from a rose bush, the revealed moong dal in pale yellow color will take the breath away with simple beauty.

Vadapappu may look innocent and inconspicuous but it’s a protein powerhouse, easily digestible, and nourishing to human body.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Moong Dal (Split), Moong Dal (Washed), Traditions (Tuesday April 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm- permalink)
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Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam
Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Traditions (Monday April 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Ugadi Pooja

Ugadi Pooja Sketch by Sree of Sree's Canvas
Pooja Preparation to Celebrate Ugadi
(Sketch by Sree)

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New (Ad)ventures from blog world:

The One ~ A Religious Experience

Mesmerizing Backwater Experience

A Stomach Churning Experience

Cakeworks:
Talented writer-artist, new mom and food blogger friend MS has recently started a pastry business from her home. She can design, bake and deliver one of a kind cakes for birthdays, weddings or any other event in the Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Baltimore regions. If you live in that area or have family and friends in that area, you could easily surprise them with a fabulous cake gift through Cakeworks. Check her site and support fellow food blogger’s new home-based venture.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Traditions, Sree (Saturday April 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Grandmas, Dosas and More

Grandmother, Dosas and More ~ Painting by Sree
Grandmothers, Dosas and More ~ for Dosa Mela
Painting by Sree (5″x6″, Graphite Sketch)

That is not my grandmother. It is just a sketch I made while getting bored on the train, on my journey home from Bangalore. I miss so many things post-marriage. One of them is my grandmother and the old kitchen at my mom’s place where I spent most of my childhood. It looked exactly like this and my grandma would sit exactly like this cooking at her small stove making hot dosas and chapatis and more. She would always mix food in the most delectable combination with chutneys, pickles…. yum! I think those tasted better than anything available in any restaurant. She is now bedridden and can hardly walk and the kitchen is now converted into a modern one. I think if I build my own house, I would want an old- fashioned kitchen just like my grandmother’s.:)

~ Sree

Flavors of Life: Introduction
Flavors of Life, Previously:

Banana Vendor by Sree Pumpkin Blossom by Sree Cotton Candy Painting by Sree Infinitea by Sree
Tirupathi Laddus by Sree

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Kitchen, Traditions, Sree (Saturday March 29, 2008 at 1:00 am- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Count the Laddus

Count the Laddus:Painting by Sree
Flavors of Life ~ Count the Laddus
Painting by Sree (Colored Pencils on Paper)

When I tell someone I just got back from Tirupati, the first thing they *don’t* ask is “Did you have a good darshan?” Instead, I hear excited “Did you bring back any laddus?” I guess, they can’t be blamed. I’ve always been among those who ‘eye’ the prasaad long before the Puja has begun!

Well, I just got back from Tirupati, after a good darshan, sights of turmeric and sandal smeared smooth heads, loaded with laddus to share with eager laddu lovers. May Lord Venkateshwara keep showering everyone with blessings the size of his laddus.:)

~ Sree

Previously on Flavors of Life:

Banana Vendor by Sree Pumpkin Blossom by Sree

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Traditions, Sree (Saturday February 16, 2008 at 12:06 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Semiya Payasam

Photo Purchase Keyword: Semiya, Payasam
(Please don’t photosteal. Make a photo purchase to digital download and to print.)

From hearing the Purandaradasa’s spiritual keerthana “Rama nama payasakke“, we will know that the semiya payasam we prepare at home has at least 500+ years of history. The recipe ingredients and the method have remained unchanged all these years. That is the greatness and as well as the simplicity of this recipe. What has changed is our attitude and regard towards such honest and soulful food. But that is a topic for another time. For now, continuing the 500 plus year old tradition, here is how I prepared the semiya payasam at my home for Neivedyam.


Semiya, Sugar, Ghee, Milk, Cashews and Draksha ~ Ingredients for Payasam

Recipe:

4 cups whole milk
½ cup cane sugar, ( or to taste)
Fine semiya, one bunch, about the size that fits baby’s fist (10″ long)
2 tablespoon of ghee, melted
16 cashews and 16 golden raisins
4 cardamom pods, seeds powdered

Heat ghee in a wide pot. Add and toast golden raisins to pink balloons first, and then cashews to pale gold color. Remove them in to a plate.

In the same pot, add and toast the semiya for one to two minutes. (This is to remove the raw wheat smell of semiya and I usually do it, but this is optional.) Take the toasted semiya to a plate and keep aside.

In the same pot, add the milk and stir in sugar. Bring the milk to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and add the semiya. Also the cashews, golden raisins and cardamom powder. Simmer on slow heat for ten minutes. The fine semiya floats like water lily stems in a pond of sweetened milk. That is the consistency we want in semiya payasam.

Serve warm or cold, and enjoy this fine, honest dessert in the name of tradition.


A Sweet 500+ year old tradition ~ Semiya Payasam

Note:
Semiya, the fine wheat noodles are a speciality of India. They are prepared with durum wheat flour and water. Semiya is egg free, and that is the major difference between western egg-laden vermicelli and Indian semiya. (Semiya is available at Indian grocery shops).

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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101, Traditions, Semiya (Tuesday January 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm- permalink)
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Sugar Figurines for Sankranthi

Chakkara Achchulu (Sugar Art of India)

Chakkara Achchulu of India
Mother and Baby Pheasants in Early Morning Mist
(Panchadaara Chilakalu)

Sugar Art of India
Baby Peacock Exploring the Countryside

Sugar Figurines of India
Baby Peacock and Baby Elephant at a Water Pool

The beautiful sugar figurines of India are prepared for Sankranthi and during Dasera-Deepavali festival season. They are Pooja ornaments, and also sweeten the saare (gifts) in functions like marriages and baby-shower etc. These delightful, melt in mouth treats are prepared by pouring the pure and concentrated sugar syrup into carved wooden molds. Little bit of care and patience, viola, the tiny decorative candy items are ready to enjoy.

The sugar figurines photographed here came all the way from India… survived the tiresome travel conditions halfway across the globe. Thank you dear Janani for sending these delectable delicate delights for us.

Sugar Figurines that Holds Sweet Memories ~ Photo Essay
Sugar-Khoya Figurines for Rukhwat

Indira

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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Sugar, Indian Sweets 101, Traditions (Friday January 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm- permalink)
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Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa ~ by Veena Parrikar

This year we celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa. Tourists come to Goa in hordes to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Day, but fortunately, Ganesh Chaturthi here has remained a quiet, joyous festival that graces the home and the temple rather than strut the streets. Having grown up on the very public, loud, and grandiose observances in Mumbai, the Goan experience came to me with all the freshness and fragrance of a monsoon breeze. Here there are no gigantic idols worth crores of rupees, no loudspeakers blaring crude film songs, no vargaNi (monetary donations) demands at your door by Ganeshotsav associations, and none of the other attendant evils of commercialized celebrations. While there are saarvajanik (public) Ganesh utsav celebrations in Goa, the scale and noise is nowhere near that of Mumbai. The spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi - a celebration of the birth of Ganesh through private worship, cooking and eating delicious saatvik meals, visiting your friends’ and neighbours’ and sharing festival snacks, participating in the aarti, community events such as cooking contests, rangoli and maaToLi competitions - is still alive in Goa.

Here are some vignettes from our Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa.


Shri Shrikrishna Dhumal, a murthikaar in the village of DhargaL, Goa.
These artists shape the murthi by hand and do not use molds or templates. Only eco-friendly materials, from the clay to the natural dyes, are used.


Shri Umanath Naik, another murthikaar in Nagueshi village, putting the final touches on his creations.


The day before Ganesh Chaturthi is marked by paying homage to Ganesh’s parents, Shankar and Parvati.


As part of the naivedya for the Shankar-Parvati puja, a special dish is made with five different seasonal greens. These bunches are prepared and sold in the markets by village women. It includes pumpkin leaves, drumstick leaves, red and green amaranth, and chavLi greens. The greens are cooked without salt and offered to Parvati to take care of her pregnancy cravings.


Our Ganesh, resplendent in his birthday finery.


Modak for the birthday boy. Less than perfect in looks, but full of shraddha (and taste).


MaaToLi is a Goan tradition where, fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, etc. are hung on a wooden frame over the murthi, symbolizing Ganesh’s status as a provider. This is crafted with a great deal of care and passion in the villages, and the all-Goa maaToLi competition has many enthusiastic participants. This picture was taken in the remote village of Bambar in a peasant’s cottage. He had 175 unique items in his assemblage, all of them either grown in the farms or foraged from the wild. We later read in the papers that he won the third prize.


On the day of visarjan (immersion) - a quiet moment after the aarti.


Our Ganesh at the Panjim jetty, just before immersion. This is the hardest part of the festival.


The next morning we headed out to Nirankarachi Rai (nirankar = without form, rai = grove). This is a sacred grove in a forest in the village of Bambar. The Ganapati murthi are dipped in the stream and then left in the forest to naturally mingle with the earth. A more fitting farewell for Ganapati Bappa, I simply cannot imagine!

Photo Credits: Rajan Parrikar

Posted by Veena Parrikar©Copyrighted in Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Traditions, Veena Parrikar (Sunday September 23, 2007 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
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