Some parts of India are celebrating Makar Sankranti today, while others will be celebrating on 15th of January. The festival is also celebrated in different ways across the country. ‘Makar’ means Capricon and ‘Sankranti’ means transition. It is one of the major Indian harvest festivals. Other harvest festivals such as Lohri, Bhogali, Bihu and Pongal also fall around the same time as Makar Sankranti. Since it is celebrated in different ways in different states, every state has added its local cultural influence to the festival. Some people celebrate it by flying kites. The festival also marks the beginning of a six months auspicious period for Hindus known as 'Uttarayana' period. There are special food that are made during this festival. Since it is the harvest festival, sweets are generally made of sesame and jaggery. Chef, Gopal Jha, Grand Mercure Bangalore shares some Sankranti special recipes.
2 cups sesame seeds; 2 ½ cups grated jaggery; 1 cup Maida; 1 cup wheat flour; 2 tsp oil/ghee
Roast the sesame seeds and grind. Mix the jaggery and powdered sesame adding ghee. Knead dough mixing maida, wheat flour, salt and 2 tsp oil. Make small balls and roll into a round shape of just three-inch diameter. Fill a bit of the mixture of sesame and jaggery in the rolled out dough. Roll the ball into a round flat shape like a chapatti. Roast it with some ghee on a tawa.
200 gms grated coconut; 450 gms Khoya; 2-1/2 cup sugar/date palm jaggery; 150 gms flour; 5 to 6 cups water; 40 gms ghee; 1/8 tsp sodium bicarbonate
Make sugar syrup by heating 2 cups sugar with 4 cups of water. Allow it to cool. Fry the coconut, khoya and 2 tbsp of sugar together in a pan over medium flame. Stir it continuously. To make cakes, roll the mixture into balls and flatten between the palms. Make batter by mixing flour, remaining water, sodium bicarb and ghee. Heat ghee and coat coconut-milk cakes in the prepared batter. Deep fry until golden brown and immerse in the sugar syrup.
1/2 cup moong dal (split green gram)
1 cup raw rice (chawal)
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp ghee
1 tsp black peppercorns (kalimirch)
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tbsp broken cashewnuts (kaju)
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger (adrak)
salt to taste
a few curry leaves (kadi patta)
1 tbsp ghee for serving
•Heat a pan; add the moong dal and dry roast on a medium flame till the raw smell disappears, while stirring continuously. Keep aside.
•Clean and wash the rice, drain and add the, milk and 3 cups of water, mix well and pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles or till the rice and dal become soft. Keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
•Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Keep aside.
•Heat 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan, add the peppercorns, cumin seeds, cashewnuts and ginger, mix well and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds, while stirring continuously.
•Add the cooked rice and dal mixture, salt and curry leaves, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 5 to 7 minutes, while stirring continuously. Serve hot topped with 1 tbsp of ghee.