Besan Ladoo Recipe

‘Ladoo’ is a sweet treat often found in Indian households, and specially made on festive or religious occasions. It is usually made with some variant of flour, sugar and ghee. There are hundreds of variants of this staple Indian sweet and its name also varies per region. Each family, region, community, etc. have their own recipe depending mostly on available local or traditional ingredients.

This recipe is for besan ladoo which is a family favourite and always a part of the Diwali festival faraal.

‘Besan’ is Bengal gram flour – is pale, light yellow in colour and slightly sweet, bitter and powdery in taste. It can be coarse or fine – both work well for this recipe. Upon cooking/roasting all of its bitterness goes away and the texture undergoes a lot of change too.

Besan is nutrient rich and gluten-free. It is high in protein, fiber content and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. Continue reading “Besan Ladoo Recipe”

Diwali festival

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is here!

Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Diwali!

It is the time to sparkle, dazzle and spread joy and light in every corner!

Diwali is the festival of lights. Literally, ‘Diwali’ or ‘Deepawali’ means ‘deep’= light; (festival) of lights= ‘deepawali’.

Spiritually speaking, the brightness of the light signifies positivity and happiness. And this festival is about creating and experiencing the warmth of the positiveness.

Mythology related to Diwali

Diwali like almost all festivals in India has a religious and mythological relevance. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the return of the great godly ruler Shri Ram and his wife Sita to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan the King of Lanka. Continue reading “Diwali festival”

Masala Doodh (Spiced Milk) Recipe

Masala Doodh

(Masala- spice; doodh- milk)

This recipe is an indulgence for your senses! Beautiful glowing golden in colour, fragrant spices, sweetness and heart-warming in every sip.

In India it is a part of Kojagiri Purnima celebrations. But, it is perfect for any autumn/winter night to warm and cozy up before bed. It is also very nutritious – rich in minerals, vitamins and healthy fat that help boost immunity and internal well being.

This recipe can be fully customised as per your taste and preferences. The dry ingredients except sugar can be prepared and stored for upto 2 months. Continue reading “Masala Doodh (Spiced Milk) Recipe”

What is the Harvest Moon and Kojagiri Purnima?

Kojagiri Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon or Kojagiri Purnima is the first full moon of autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere. This falls around the end of September or beginning of October after the autumn equinox.

When is it in 2017?

The Harvest Moon or Kojagiri Purnima falls on the 5th of October, 2017 in India and in USA.

Why is it called the Harvest Moon?

During the period of when autumn begins the moon’s angle with earth is such that it rises or appears in the sky earlier than usual after sunset. This creates a halo of the early glow of the moon in the sky quite soon after the sunlight recedes post sunset which, reduces the darkness in the twilight hours. Prior to the advent of electricity or electric lights this little early moon light afforded the farmers and folks working outdoors a few extra minutes to gather the harvested crops before darkness fell on these nights. That is how this full moon itself became the “harvest moon”. Continue reading “What is the Harvest Moon and Kojagiri Purnima?”

What is Dussehra Saraswati Puja/ Pooja?

The festival of Dasara/ Dussehra is celebrated all over India as a festival of new beginnings and triumph of good over evil. It has different interpretations and significance due to diverse cultures but it is an auspicious day throughout India. Aayudha Pooja and Saraswati Pooja is celebrated in the Western and Southern region on the day of Dussehra.

When is Dussehra celebrated?

This auspicious day is the tenth day of the Indian lunar calendar month of Ashwin and falls on the day immediately following the nine days of Navratri.

Dasara is also called Vijaya-dashami (vijaya means victory). It is one of the three and a half most auspicious days of the entire Hindu calendar. Important projects and new ventures are very often initiated on this day because a good enterprise started on Dussehra will be successful.

Continue reading “What is Dussehra Saraswati Puja/ Pooja?”

British Columbia and Alaska Cruise – One Day Tour of Vancouver

Our one day tour of Must Visit Places in Vancouver covered Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park, Grouse Mountain and Prospect Point.

We had made our bus booking in advance through an online tour company. Our bus driver for the next 2 days was also our tour guide for our tour of British Columbia. The next 2 days were choc-full of beautiful coastal British Columbia!

Continue reading “British Columbia and Alaska Cruise – One Day Tour of Vancouver”

Launching my blog with Navratri and Colours!

It is the first day of Navratri festival (festival of nine nights) as I write this – a very auspicious day to start my new blog! This is the festival of Goddess Amba, her nine incarnations worshiped on each of the nine days of the festival.

These nine days and nights are some of the most vibrant of the year all over India. The trees are lush post-monsoon and evenings are breezy making it perfect for sparkly garba and dandiya dance functions everywhere.

A part of the festivities is wearing certain designated colours on each of these nine days. It is followed throughout India in some form or another. While some believe that these colours are symbolic and create harmony with the energy of the avtar (incarnation) of the Goddess Amba being celebrated that day, the more prevalent and recent history is that it was started by a regional Marathi newspaper to improve its circulation, and how it has caught the public’s fancy (Should not be a surprise that the said newspaper has some of the top readership numbers now!).

Of course participation is voluntary and a lot of it is just for the fun factor of being part of a huge self-formed group of people who are all celebrating this wonderful festival.

So, whatever the reason –

It is quite impressive – as with all things in Mumbai, along with most of Maharashtra and Gujarat to follow the dress colour code. On the streets during peak hours you see waves of people – strangers, going about their daily life at a frantic pace wearing a shade of the day’s colour at least in some part of their outfit.

Fellow Mumbaikars will know the feeling of belonging to this single huge tribe and for those who have not yet experienced this- it is something that is as momentous as running an organized multi-day marathon with thousands of participants – only, this is not an organized event and there is no special award for doing this!

In the days when I took my regular train to get to college and work, I would look at my co- commuters and often wonder then, as I still do that all these people must have some prayer for Amba Mata in their hearts which makes them mindfully wear her colours and keep her in their thoughts. That to me is what makes this so much more special and unique!

Ladies in yellow. An example of the sight in Mumbai during Navratri.

While I was in Mumbai, it was a thing my mother and I did- looking through our available wardrobes to get these coloured clothes ready to wear for the next day. That also meant we had a “legit” excuse to shop for some new stuff if we did not own anything in the colour of the day! 😉

But this is not a girl thing nor a religious thing! Men, women, young and old everybody becomes a part of this Indian culture! If you want to – then you should participate! It is fun!

Some people follow the colour code to manifest their devotion to Ambe Mata while many do it as it is the “thing to do in Mumbai” during Navratri.

My father is mostly oblivious to what colour it is supposed to be, but since childhood it has been my appointed duty to pick out his shirt daily and he would wear whatever I picked!  So – while I was there I ensured that he wore the correct colours/shades too!

Today’s colour is YELLOW and my husband picked out a yellow shirt this morning by complete coincidence! There have been times through the years when I have forgotten and worn a random top just like this and it ended up being the right colour! So people like us too make up for a tiny part of the colourful waves!

The latest update on this colourful cultural practice – This year my mother’s workplace even has a small penalty if you do not turn up in the colour for the day! Although I am pretty sure someone must have suggested this to humour the others, it will rake in a nice little kitty by the end of these nine days. I wonder what use they will put it to!

For those of you who are curious to know this year’s Navratri Colour Calendar (2017) –

DATE (2017) DAY COLOUR
21st September, Thursday – Yellow
22nd September, Friday – Green
23rd September, Saturday – Grey
24th September, Sunday – Orange
25th September, Monday – White
26th September, Tuesday – Red
27th September, Wednesday – Royal Blue
28th September, Thursday – Pink
29th September, Friday – Purple