Yesterday was Poush Shankranti-- Poush is a month in the Hindu Bengali calender and shankranti means the end. The last day of the month is special for agrarian India because on this day winter harvest is celebrated. Various parts of India celebrates in various ways and call the celebration various names. But there are some broad similarities, another example of how India is united in her diversity. Though this is mainly an agrarian celebration, it has spilled over in the urban spaces as well.
Bengalis celebrate it by making pithe, a broad name for a range of desserts made mostly with chal er guro (powdered rice), fresh coconut, notun gur (jaggery of the winter season) and seasonal vegetables.
On this day Ma Lakkhi (the Goddess of Wealth) is worshiped. Dhan (rice husks) play a prominent role in this celebration. In most houses kunke (a traditional rice measuring bowl) is worshipped as Ma Lakkhi. Women decorate their houses with alpona (motifs drawn with a mixture of rice powder, mid and water).
In our home my mother makes a range of pithes and pea kachoris (fried bread). I will share the recipes soon, for now enjoy the photographs.
|This sweet is made of ranga aloo, a variety of potato which is harvested during the winter. It is stuffed with a coconut filling, deep fried and then dipped in caramel. This is called ranga aloo puli.|
|The kunke, which is the traditional grain measuring bowl ; owl, traditionally regarded as Ma Lakkhi's pet and conch shells another sacred thing frequently used in Hindu prayers.|
|Peas Kachori with dry potato curry|
|Rice Husks-- Dhan|
|Coconut ladoos, til er khaja (seasame seed crisp), murir moa ( puffed rice ladoo) and chirer moa (flaked rice ladoos)|
The alpona in the photographs is given by me. The s shapes in the alpona is supposed to be foot marks of the Goddess. It is a popular motif whereby people show the Goddess entering their houses. My father guided me throughout this exercise.
Yesterday I got an email from Blogadda saying that that they have selected me as Notable Newbie. This news came during the week Kitchen Karma turns one. Yes last year kicked after the New Year I started Kitchen Karma. I want to thank everyone associated with Kitchen Karma for helping me along this journey.