The four-day long Chhath Puja is marked by strict fasting as well as healthy feasting. Here are six easy to make sattvik traditional recipes for Chhath.
Thekua is a traditional Bihari cuisine. Photo: Eklavya Prasad
Chhath Puja is being celebrated in several states of north India and this festival, dedicated to the Sun god and Chhathi Maiya, is incomplete without special delicacies.
As it is with Indian festivals, the four-day long festival of Chhath too comes with its complement of special foods — thekua, kohda ki sabji, chana dal kaddu, ole ki chutney, pakodas.
Tempting! Isn’t it?
Most of these traditional cuisines of Bihar that are prepared for Chhath Puja are sattvik (without onion, garlic and spices) in nature. Apart from having ritualistic significance, these food items also have several health benefits considering devotees go without food and water for 36 hours.
Here are six mouth watering special recipes of Chhath, which are easy to make and nutritious too. Craving for them already? Cook, share and savour them.
Jaggery (500 g)
Coarse wheat flour (1 kg)
Heat a little water in a pan, add jaggery to it so that it dissolves. To check the consistency of the mixture, dip your index finger and using your thumb, stretch that drop to see if it makes threads or not. The proportion of jaggery and flour is 1:2. The jaggery shouldn’t make threads.
Add fennel seeds and jaggery syrup to the dough, and knead it hard. Ghee (clarified butter) doesn’t have to be added to flour if it is for the deity, but otherwise, feel free to add ghee to make the thekuas crispy.
Make small balls of the dough, flatten them on the thekua mould, and press. The imprint gives it a dash of festive flavour.
Deep fry it in ghee (for puja) or refined oil (otherwise) in a kadhai till deep brown. Keep the fried ones on a paper napkin or cloth napkin for the oil to drain, and it is ready to serve.
Pumpkin (500 g)
Panch phorna, which is an aromatic blend of five whole seeds — jeera (cumin), methi (fenugreek), kalonji (nigella sativa), saunf (fennel) and rai (mustard)
Ghee 2-3 tbsp
2-3 dried red chillies
Salt a pinch
Jaggery or sugar (not more than 20 g)
Cut the pumpkin lengthwise without peeling off its skin, and then into small square pieces. Heat ghee in a kadhai, add panch phoran, chillies, and once it splutters, add the neatly diced vegetable, mix well. Add turmeric, salt and cover it with a lid and let it simmer on low heat.
When the pumpkin becomes soft, add jaggery, and mix well. It will leave some water, you could increase the flame to dry that moisture. Once the pumpkin changes texture and colour, it is ready to eat.
Kaddu (bottle gourd) 500 g
2 dried red chilli (optional)
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Salt according to taste
Split chickpea lentils 100 g
Coriander leaves to garnish
Ghee/oil 1 tbsp
Peel and cut the bottle gourd lengthwise, and then into neat cubes. Wash the lentils and soak in water overnight or boil it in a cooker.
Put oil in a kadhai, add cumin seeds, chilli and let it splutter. Add chopped vegetables, turmeric and salt, followed by lentils. Cover it with a lid, keep the flame low and keep mixing it in between. The vegetable leaves ample water and helps in cooking.
Once it is done, take it off the stove, garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, and serve with steamed rice.
Ole/suran/jimikand (yam) 250 g
Salt ½ tsp
Lime juice 1 tbsp
1 medium-sized onion
2 green chillies
Paste of 1 medium-sized onion, 10 garlic cloves and 1-inch ginger
2 bay leaves
2 dry red chillies
Whole cumin seeds 1 tsp
Desi ghee 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 2 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder 2 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Garam masala powder ½ tsp
Coriander powder 3 tsp
Black pepper powder ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Wash, clean, peel and cut yam into equal-sized square pieces. Use mustard oil on your hands while cutting it because it might get itchy in some cases. You could either marinate it with some salt and turmeric and leave it aside for a few minutes. Or bring a pan of water to boil and add the yam pieces, some lime juice and salt, and boil for 10 minutes, and then drain and let it dry.
Shallow fry it in mustard oil. Once it changes colour to a golden brown, take these pieces out and keep them aside on a plate.
To prepare the curry, add bay leaves, dried red chillies, followed by onion. Once onion changes colour to a dark golden brown, then add paste of onion-ginger-garlic. Let it mix well so keep stirring. Then add the powdered spices and salt. Add a little water so that the spices cook well. Cover it with a lid, and leave it to simmer on low heat.
Once it is cooked, add a little more water, and when the mixture comes to a boil, add fried yam pieces, followed by garam masala powder. Cover the lid, and cook it for not more than two minutes.
You can roast cumin seeds in a small ladle, add ghee to it, and then pour it over the curry. It gives a nice flavour to the curry. Serve it with steamed rice.
Ole/suran/jimikand (yam) 250 g
Green chillies (finely chopped) 2
Yellow mustard (powdered) ½ tsp
Ginger (grated) 1 tsp
Garlic (finely chopped) 1 tsp
Carom seeds ½ tsp
Nigella seeds ½ tsp
Mustard oil 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Wash, clean, peel and cut yam into equal-sized square pieces. Use mustard oil on your hands while cutting it because it might get itchy in some cases. Cook it in water and salt. Once it is done, drain water and let it dry.
Put other ingredients in a bowl, add boiled yam, and mix well. Add mustard oil and keep it in the sun. Store in an airtight container and it makes for a great winter addition to the meal.
Vegetables – potato, eggplant, raw banana, peas, spinach leaves, and onion/garlic leaves, cauliflower
Paste of ginger-garlic-chilli
Mustard oil to deep fry
Potatoes, eggplant, and raw bananas are cut into thin round slices. A thick batter of gram flour with a dash of rice flour, ginger-garlic-chilli paste and salt is readied. The cut vegetables are dipped and then cooked on a tawa on low heat. When it changes colour to a deep golden brown, it is ready to be served. These are called bachkas.
Peas, spinach leaves, and onion/garlic leaves follow the same procedure but are deep-fried in oil and called chhanuas.
When vegetables, like potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, etc, are dipped in a thin gram flour batter mixed with ginger-garlic-chilli paste and salt, and deep-fried, they are called pakodas.
So what are you preparing today – ole curry, chana dal-kaddu, or pakodas?
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