This post is very special to me in many ways. The recipes in
this post are apt for this month – Chaitra maasa / Chitirai thingal. As usual
when mom and I were discussing what else we can put up for the thali series,
mom [as usual] recollected a special custom that is performed during this
month. Later, I called up my grandpa and asked him the details.
My grandpa is going to be 90 this month! He is an orthodox
person who performs poojas and is quite religious. My grandparents still follow
certain customs that have been long forgotten. These customs have health
significance and since our ancestors wanted every one to follow it for a
healthy living, named them as religious procedures, making it a compulsion. But
these days many of us are put off by the term ‘religious procedures’ or don’t
have time to follow them!
So when I spoke to grandpa a couple of days ago and told him
I was going to write about some special thali he was as enthusiastic as I
am and immediately gave me the procedures and the details for this post.
So presenting to you today, the thali that is prepared
during the chaitra maasa’s Panaka pujay.
Chaitra maasa is the first month of the Hindu calender and is followed
in many regions in India. It is believed that that Lord Brahma created
the Universe on this day and hence it is regarded as the first day of
Before going to the actual post, here are some general
things that are performed during this month. Throughout this month, a pot
filled with water should be given as dhaana /
kind of donation to others. If it is not possible to give it on all
days, at least one such pot must be given this month.
Similarly during this month, vedic scholars are invited home
in the afternoon, sometime between 3-4pm. It has to be performed before 5pm. As
soon as they arrive, their feet are washed. The lady of the house holds the pot
of water pouring it gently into the cupped hands of the husband who holds them
over the feet of the guests.
The guests are seated on straw mats and banana leaves are
spread in front of them. Dishes that are apt for this pooja are prepared and
Now let us see the dishes that find their place in this
Kesari – A delicious dessert made from semolina, sugar and
– seasoned lentils
Gojjavalakki / hunisayhannu avalakki
- Tamarind flavored
- Pressed rice seasoned and soaked in yogurt
– Seasoned buttermilk
– A concoction of jaggery, ginger powder and cardamom
Tender coconut water
– It is a
digestive that is prepared with powdered ginger, jaggey and ghee.
Seasonal fruits like mango, jackfruits are also served.
This time when I wanted to make this thali, I could not find
mangoes! Yes, it is supposed to be in season now but I was told that mango crop
has gone down this year. The places that are famous for mango cultivation has
produced very less mango and maybe they were are sent away for exporting.
Anyway, I was not able to find any decent looking mango and those shops which
boasted of selling mangoes had something that did not even resemble a mango!
They were so small and shriveled!
So I have used the other fruits like guava, sapota, grapes
After the meal they wash their hands. Later they are seated
and given thamboola
consists of betel leaves,
betel nuts, bananas, dhakshanay
In this thamboola
there are certain specifications too. Betel leaves must be
placed in even numbers. So are the betel nut and banana. In olden days, INR
1.25 was kept as the , dhakshanay.
nowadays since it has no value, the
amount placed depends on the capacity of the person giving it off. But it
should be one of the following- INR 11 / 51 / 101/ 501 / 1001 etc. The people in the household fall at the feet of the scholars and receive their blessing
What is the significance of doing all this you may ask? Let
The dishes that are prepared for this pooja are having high
nutritive value. The pressed rice, jaggery used in the dishes is rich in iron. The curd used in pressed
rice recipe , neer more, panaka, kosambari, tender coconut are all body
coolants .Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. More over since they are
seasonal fruits, they are not expensive.
Food is one thing that makes people happy and it is the only
thing in the world that satisfies the senses of man. No one can keep on eating
no matter how delicious the food. A person says ‘No’ only to food as he can
never be satisfied with other worldly things.When his tummy is full he is happy and the person who serves the food is also happy.
In our scriptures, serving each of these things have a special meaning. It is said to give us blessings and free us from karmas [
an action whose effect is
experienced as a future consequence].
These days, not many perform this panaka puja at home. Some temples in South India perform this puja in their premises during Sri Rama Navami.
Those who like to perform this pujay can pay the puja fee and partake in it. Before offering these dishes to the scholars, they are offered to God as Neivedhyam[sacred offering]
It took us[mom and I] 2 whole hours to get the recipes ready
for this post. These dishes are very healthy.
The credit for this post goes to my dear grandpa for sharing this wealth of knowledge with me and to mom who prepared the majority of the dishes for this post.
Here is the post for today - Neer more
Hope you enjoyed this thali...
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#15
This is off to Srivalli's Thali mela
Labels: Aval, Blogging Marathon, Madhwa Culture, Scrumptious Meal Series, Special Diets