RING IN GUDI PADWA WITH FOOD GALORE
Gudi Padwa, primarily celebrated in Maharashtra, marks the beginning of the harvest season and the start of a New Year. Falling on April 2 this time, people mark the day with rangolis, hoisting of the Gudi (flag), and of course, an elaborate menu of dishes and sweets. An important festival of the Maharashtrains, it also signifies the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and his subsequent coronation after his 14 years of exile. Gudi Padwa is also considered to be the day that the universe was created.
This day is marked with the cleaning of the houses to get rid of the old and start afresh. A Gudi means emblem or the flag of Lord Brahma and is hung on the door as a sign to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck into the house. As the entire day is thought to be auspicious, Maharashtrians also buy clothes, gold and in some cases, even new vehicles.
There are a number of food items that are made to celebrate this festival. However, we look at the most traditional and common food items eaten on this day.
Similar to rabri, basundi is made with milk, mawa, dry fruits, elaichi and kesar. The milk is boiled and thickened till it gets a pinkish hue. It is a simple but time-intensive mithai that makes for a memorable feast.
Sabudana vada is a crispy snack made with tapioca pearls, peanuts and mashed potatoes. Not just in Maharashtra, but these pillowy balls are also a favourite among people fasting during Navratri in North India.
White coconut ladoos are tasty and delicious bite-sized pops, a traditional dessert on Gudi Padwa. These are made with condensed milk, sugar and grated coconut.
A crispy dish that is available all around the year, but is in even greater demand during the festive seasons. Kothimbir vadi, made of besan (gram flour), coriander leaves and spices, acts as a perfect evening snack. The paste is steamed, cut into squares, and then deep fried. The dish is known to absorb less oil.
Usal or misal
Think Maharashtra, think misal pav! A fan favourite, misal is a Maharashtrian dish made of sprouts or dry green peas (vatana), eaten with pav, farsan, raw onions and a squeeze of lime. A nutritious and wholesome meal, it is usually had for breakfast or lunch.
Made of basmati rice flour and mawa, modaks are quintessential Maharashtrian sweets, prepared on most of the festivals in the state. Stuffed with fresh coconuts, jaggery, dry fruits and elaichi, these sweet dumplings are steamed for 10 minutes, and can be served both hot and cold.
Aamras is a popular dessert in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Traditionally, this mango juice or ras is made without a blender or mixer grinder. Aamras holds special importance during Gudi Padwa, as it is made with the first mangoes of the season. Pair it with puris for an authentic experience.
A labour of love, gulab jamuns are made primarily with mawa and a bit of wheat flour (maida), moulded into soft dough balls. These are then fried to golden brown and dunked into a sugar syrup, to transport you to a gastronomic paradise.
Made of colocasia leaves and spicy yet sour besan paste (gram flour), patra in Gujarati and alu vadi in Marathi, is a popular side dish. Steamed till soft and pliable, the preparation of this food item takes a lot of practice. It is garnished with til and coconuts, and can be eaten at all times.
A 14th century Telugu script mentioning the recipe of this sweet dish shows how old it really is. In fact, a simple mention of puran poli can bring back memories of breaking the flatbread, pouring a generous amount of ghee, devouring the dish and licking every inch of the plate. It is made of chana dal, mixed with besan and jaggery, and is cooked in lots of ghee.
Simplicity meets taste in this Indian delicacy made with hung yogurt, which is sweetened with sugar, elaichi (cardamom), and saffron. You can also customise it in different flavours like mangoes and strawberries. Shrikhand is typically eaten with hot crispy puris.
Apart from the items on the plate, some other Gudi Padwa delicacies include moong dal vada, potato vada, masala bhaat, bhakarwadi, kaddu limbu chutney, and mixed pulses vegetable.
(Inputs by Satyajit Kotwal, general manager, The Resort, Mumbai, and home chef Shraddha Chandrashekar Dhuru)
Venue credit: The Resort, Mumbai
Photo: Vijay Bate