Until I was in India, I never used to take festivals, tradition and culture so seriously. For me festivals were to just eat delicious food and enjoy the whole day sitting at home or watch special TV programs. It used to be a day of enjoyment. That was because there were elders to do all the poojas and cooking stuff, so we didn’t have much responsibilities. Now it’s all over and here I am trying my best to carry over the traditions and values to another generation and to do it the way my mother and grandmother had done. I think we all wouldn’t have given so much importance to festivals and traditions if we were in our own land. It’s the distance, which has brought about the difference in me and most of us. I have never seen so many crowds at the temples in India during festivals like I see here. Its only when we got away from where we were (India), we start realizing what we miss.
Ugadi is celebrated as New Year in Andhra and Karnataka. In Maharashtra it’s celebrated as Gudi Padwa. A new month called the chaitra masam(March/april) begins. The flowers start blooming, birds chirping, spring lingers with the start of this month, which is called Vasanth ritu.
In Andhra it’s the season for mangoes and all women at home make avakaya in this season. My mother-in -law makes great avakaya (mango pickle) for all of us.
Ugadi Pachadi is a special dish made on Ugadi day. This pachadi has got different taste like sweet, hot, sour, tangy and bitterness. It symbolizes different phases in life like happiness and sorrow one has to face in the coming years.
1 cup raw fresh mango finely chopped along with skin
1 tbsp of margosa flowers (neem flowers)
½ cup of grated jaggery
3 -4 tbsp tamarind juice
salt to taste
Mix up all the ingredients into a semi liquid form and enjoy. Each and every ingredient spreads its own flavors and is a real feast to the tongue.
We had been to the temple on ugadi and they served this pachadi as “Prasadam”. Oh it was a heavenly taste, not only to the tongue but also to the soul. They added Bananas too. Couldn’t get enough of it and no wonder they call it Prasadam (prashad).
1cup grated fresh raw mango
2 cups cooked rice
½ tsp mustard seed
½ tsp chana dal(Bengal gram dal)
½ tsp urad dal (black gram dal)
1tsp groundnuts (peanuts)
4-5 cashew nuts
1tsp chopped fresh ginger
1tbsp chopped green chillis
Curry leaves and cilantro.
Salt to taste.
In a frying pan add oil. Add mustard seed, chana dal, urad dal, groundnuts, and let it get a golden brown color. Then add cashews, raisins, chopped ginger, curry leaves, chillis, turmeric and fry in medium heat. Once the aroma rises out of these ingredients, add grated mango as shown in the picture and fold them all together. Simmer the heat and add cooked rice and salt. Fold them all together gently. Now garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
Aam ras - mamidi charu (Mango Rasam)
Whole Mango (the left out mango with the seed from the pulihara )
3 cups of water
1tsp Rasam powder
½ tsp turmeric
Ghee (Clarified butter)
In the water add the whole mango. The mango should be as a whole with the seed. I took the left out one from the pulihara. Along with it add salt, turmeric, rasam powder and let it boil till the mango gets cooked. It spreads the whole house with its aroma and your stomach starts growling. Once the mango is cooked, temper with the given ingredients and garnish with fresh cilantro and Enjoy!!
Obbatlu (Pooran poli)
For the dough
1 cup Maida (all purpose flour)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1cup boiled and mashed chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes (normal grated coconut can also be added)
½ cup Grated jaggery
1 tsp crushed cardamom
Prepare the dough like it’s done for chapattis but a little loose. Keep it aside closed. The dal has to be cooked in pressure cooker and after removing the excess water out of the dal, it is blend in to paste in a mixer or by hand. Remember not to add water to the dal.
Prepare the pooran by mixing the mashed dal, coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder.
Now stuff the dough with pooran and gently roll it with rolling pin (like we do for aalu parathas) or pat it with hands if you are good at it. If patting with hands, spread some oil on your hands. Make it as thin as possible and fry it on the tava on medium heat like we usually do for aalu parathas. Serve it hot!!
Dry fruit Laddu!!
1cup cashew nuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup Apricot
1 cup dry or fresh Figs
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup almonds
1 cup dates
4-5 tbsp honey
Chop cashews, almonds, and dates into medium size. Make sure not to crush them. Soak apricots and figs in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain out the water and chop the Apricots. Split open the figs and spoon out the seeds inside it and discard the outer skin. I am using the seeds only.
I popped the skin in to my mouth(No wasting please). Figs are usually good for digestion purpose as they are a good source of fiber. It also cures stomach ailments. Now add honey and mix up all these fruits together.
Make into laddus and place them in muffin pans. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 250 degrees. Delicious dry fruit laddus are ready. It’s highly nutritious and healthy. You can add more dry fruits if desired with all your creative thoughts. I think these dry fruit laddus are better than any sweet granola bars!!
The baking part is only for increasing the shelf-life of the laddus. It can be kept in the fridge if it is not baked, for more shelf-life.