Sunday, March 25, 2007
Sri Rama Navami Neivedyam to Lord Rama!
Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day. In South India the Sri Rama navami Utsavam (Festival) is celebrated for nine days with great fervor and devotion. For the occasion, Hindus are supposed to fast (or restrict themselves to a specific diet).
Some highlights of this day are:
Kalyanam (Ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests) at Bhadrachalam (A famous temple of Lord Rama) on the banks of the river Godavari in Khammam district in Andhra, India.
Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day as Neivedyam for Lord Rama.
Procession of idols in the evening that is accompanied with play of water and colours.
(Contents edited from Wiki)
The following are the traditional recipes prepared during Sri Rama Navami.
Panakam in Sanskrit means sweet drink. It is a main neivedyam at all the temples and houses on this day in India.
2-3 cups of water (depends on the no. Of serving)
½ tsp ginger powder or 1tbsp grated fresh ginger
2-3 tbsp grated jaggery (depends on how sweet you want it to be)
½ tsp crushed peppercorns
1 crushed cardamom
Dissolve the grated jaggery in water and add fresh chopped ginger or dry ginger powder to it. I prefer fresh ginger to the dry powder as it gives more fresh taste and zing to the drink. The dry ginger loses some properties of fresh ones. Boil the mixture and filter it. Add crushed cardamom and peppercorns to it. Now its ready for Neivedyam.
Jaggery or Gur, is pure, Unrefined whole sugar, containing the natural goodness of minerals and vitamins inherently present in sugarcane juice.
Ginger and its extracts aid digestion, help relieve stomachaches, flatulence, and promote circulation.
Powdered ginger is very effective in treating motion sickness. It’s especially given to kids for proper digestion. Fresh mashed ginger root, when applied to burns, eases the pain.
The combination of Pepper, ginger along with honey or cane sugar relieves sore throat, cough and cold.
Vada pappu (Soaked Split yellow moong dal)
1 cup moong dal
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
chushed green chillies(optional)
1tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Salt to taste.
Fresh chopped cilantro to garnish.
The moong dal should be soaked in warm water for about half an hour and drained.
To this, add all the other ingredients and mix well.
This dal is eaten raw and uncooked.
There are many ways to make this traditional recipe.
1cup raw rice
2-3 tbsp chopped coconuts
½ cup sugar or jaggery.
Water for syrup
½ tsp crushed cardamom.
There are 2 methods for making this chalimidi. One is called the Pachi chalimidi (Raw or uncooked chalimidi). For this the raw rice is soaked for 2-3 hours in warm water.
The rice is then drained and dried in a dry cloth untill completely dry and powdered coarsely.
This rice powder is then mixed with sugar or jaggery adding 1-2tsp water. Add grated coconut and crushed cardamom.
Mix well to make a dough. See the picture. This is the basic recipe. I used ready-made rice powder and it came out very well. There are lot of variations from this one.
The second method is the cooked chalimidi where the rice powder is added to the warm sugar or jaggery syrup and cooked in low heat to form the dough.
It is very carefully stirred so that no lumps are formed. Then the rest of the ingredients are added.
But the traditional way to make it is the very first method.
This picture is of the Murthis in Bridgewater Temple, New Jersey.