The cheerful festival of Baisakhi, which is mainly celebrated by the Sikh community in Punjab, is now popular across North India. The festival essentially marks a new beginning — the starting of the harvest season and also the birth of the Khalsa. On this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, laid down the foundation of the Panth Khalsa.
While on one hand it commemorates this special day, it’s also a day when farmers thank God for the abundant harvest. And what better way to celebrate harvest than whipping up delicacies with the season’s fresh produce. From genhu or wheat-based snacks, paranthas and even desserts to the evergreen favourite sarson ka saag with makki di roti, Pindi chana, and of course the meats — saag meat, achari mutton and more — it’s a lavish affair to celebrate with. So, ditch the pizzas and the burgers, don your phulkaris and parandis, and get set for an authentic grub, today.
Baisakhi di lakh lakh vadaiyan!
Brown rice Phirini
1 litre skimmed milk
200gm brown rice
20gm almond flakes
6-8 green cardamoms
a pinch of saffron
5 silver or gold leaf (varak)
Soak rice in water for 30mins and grind it coarsely. Boil the milk on low heat, add rice paste, honey, cardamom and saffron. Simmer till milk turns thick. Remove from heat and add almonds and pista. Serve chilled, garnished with varak.
Nutritional benefits: While brown rice or husked rice is rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium, honey is a great alternative to sugar, as it’s a natural source of carbohydrates.
- By chef Ashish Joshi, Jaypee Siddharth
1 cup yogurt
1 cup ripe mango (peeled and chopped)
2tsp sugar/ honey
1/2tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp black grapes and mango chunks
wheat crackers to garnish
Put the mangoes, yogurt and sugar into a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Add the vanilla essence, and blend again for a few seconds. Refrigerate for an hour and serve chilled, garnished with mango cubes, grapes and a wheat cracker.
Nutritional benefits: While nothing is more healthier in the summer than yoghurt and curd, make the most of the nutritional benefits of the king of fruits, mango, which is rich in tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid too, and is a great source of vitamin A.
- By chef Vishal, Kulcha King
Halwa in Tart
1.5 cup sooji
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup walnuts and raisins mix
1 cup skimmed milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 rice paper sheet
Heat a pan on medium heat, and when hot, add the oil. Roast the sooji in it till turns light golden. Add the nuts and raisins. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil milk with honey and cardamom, till it thickens and the quantity turns half. Add this to the sooji and stir constantly till you get a smooth paste-like consistency. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and then serve in bowls made with rice paper sheet.
Nutritional benefits: While skimmed milk is certainly a healthier option compared to cream milk, canola oil contains the least amount of saturated fat. Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids.
- By chef Sandeep Panwar, The Metropolitan Hotel and Spa
Achari Mutton Curry
200gm tomato puree
50gm achari paste
3 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
1tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
50ml olive oil
Add cardamom, bay leaf and saunf to hot olive. Slowly add in sliced onions, cook till onions are golden. Add mutton pieces to it and sauté, add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and ginger garlic paste. Sauté futher for five minutes and add tomato puree and achari paste. Add sufficient amount of water and cook till the mutton is soft. Serve hot with rice or lachha parantha.
Nutritional benefits: Okay, we know that mutton can’t be a ‘healthy’ option after all, but in case you do not want to miss this quinessential Baisakhi dish, you can always reduce its harmful effects by cooking it in healthy olive oil.
- By chef Manoj Rai, Pind Balluchi