Vinayaka Chaturthi is a festival looked forward to eagerly by our family ( and not just because it means a holiday at home to laze and relax, oh no not at all!!! :).. ). Vinayaka is such a cute looking god. His pot belly and cheery face just make you feel so good. You know immediately that he is right there watching out for you.
Usually we have a purohit to come home and do the puja for us. This year for some reason he did not show up. Waited for a bit and then decided to go ahead ourselves. In this day and age, life is a lot simpler. I had a little book on how to conduct the puja in English ( unfortunately, never learnt the script of either my mother tongue or my domiciled home). Just went right ahead.
The point of this story is "what?" you may ask. In my opinion, doing something with the heart is more important than making sure you do it just right. I may have made a few mistakes in reciting the names or in my methods, but wouldn't you agree it has more value as it was done in total faith and devotion? I just want to know from you, my dear readers, what your opinion on this is. Hinduism, being a highly ritualistic religion, asks a lot of its followers in terms of day to day prayers and all special occasions..What is more important here? Is it ok to take a few shortcuts here or there or make mistakes, but do it wholeheartedly or is it essential to follow everything to a T?
Anyway, to come to the equally important point of what I made as Naivedyam for the god. Every festival has its own special foods that we make. For Ganesh Chaturthi, the prasadam is of a different kind. There is very little oil used in its preparation. He is offered only foods that are steamed. This is because as per Ayurveda, steamed food is easily digested and easy on the stomach. Modaks of different kinds are offered.
This year too, Modaks featured on the menu. But I tried out something new which I had seen in a book. It is called Mani Kozhukattai. Why it is called that I have no idea and my grasp of Tamil does not extend that far. Instead of placing the stuffing inside, each is made separately and put then together. One good thing about this is that it comes out perfectly and there is not much expertise required. On the other hand, to make a stuffed Kozhukattai with a nice thin outer covering requires a lot of experience.
This turned out very well. I am sure Vinayaka was quite happy with my offering this year.
PS : This can be served as a tiffin also. Makes for a nice filling low in fat snack when you need to fill the empty pockets in your tummy.
1 cup Rice flour ( sifted well)
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon ghee
salt to taste
1/2 cup urad dal soaked for 4-6 hours
Salt to taste
1 inch piece ginger diced finely
2 green chillis diced finely
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon oil
For the rice flour balls:
Heat water till it comes to a rolling boil.
Add the salt and ghee to it.
Add the rice flour to the boiling water taking care that no lumps are formed.
Cook till it comes together as a ball.
Leave aside till cool enough to handle.
Form little marble sized balls ( for this you need to apply some ghee on the palms before rolling them out)
Steam lightly for about 10 minutes. You know when it is done as the balls start looking little glossy and translucent.
For the Urad dal:
Coarsely grind the soaked urad dal along with the salt using very little water.
Put the paste in a plate and steam till done.
Crumble till it becomes fine crumbs and looks , well..., crumbly.
Heat oil. When hot add the mustard seeds and let it crackle.
Then add the curry leaves, ginger and green chilli to the oil and fry well.
Add the asafoetida.
Last, add the crumbled urad dal and fry for about 2-4 minutes.
Add in the steamed rice balls and mix gently till well mixed. Be careful, as you do not want to break the balls