Monday, October 14, 2013

Vijayadashmi Special - Neivedhyam, Thirumadhuram and Roasted Chana

Happy Vijayadashmi / Dussehra !! Hope every one had a good festival!! Thought of writing a blog post as to how we celebrate the festival at home and of course share the recipe of the simple  dishes that we make as Prasadam during the festival. Names are many for the festival and so are the legends. One among the various legends is celebrating the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur. Usually celebrates various forms of Goddess Durga as Goddess Shakti, Saraswathi, Parvathi and so on and lasts around 9 to 10 days. Another legend associated with Dussehra is Killing of Ravan by Rama. All in all, the popular notion behind the festival is the victory of good over the evil.  Let us celebrate the festival by eradicating evil/false thoughts from our mind and by being righteous. 

In Kerala, the festival is celebrated as Poojavaippu and Pooja eduppu/vidhyarambham. Usually the day before Mahanavami, we keep our books, pens, our work tools in front of Goddess Saraswathi and do a small pooja to the Goddess. We are not supposed to lread/write once we keep Pooja. And now you can guess, why this happens to be one of my favorite festival. I was so happy during childhood that my parents wouldnt be telling me off to study and let me watch TV. Another special reason for loving the festival is that my star birthday according to Malayalam calendar falls mostly on Vijayadashmi day. So that means, my mom will prepare a special payasam for me other than the neivedhyam on the day. Two delicious Payasams in one day!! Yum! But there was a drawback as well. My birthday falls on a holiday always and that meant I never got to take sweets for other kids in class for birthdays and never got to stand in front of class and hear my classmates singing birthday song :( Hence started celebrating my date of birth when I grew older :) Coming back to the festival, Vijayadashmi day is celebrated as Vidyarambham, when we initiate little kids to writing. This can be done at home with elders or some do it at temple. I read somewhere that even churches have started following this tradition of initiating kids to learning today. At my home, we keep Pori (Murmura/ Puffed Rice), Aval (Flattened Rice Flakes),Pazham (Banana) and some fruits along with Text Books, Pen, Paper in front of Goddess. Today after doing Pooja, we wrote "Om Hari Sree Ganapathaye Namaha" in paper and read our books and use the tools which we had kept in front of Goddess. Here is a picture of things kept for Pooja at my home this year. 

My mom prepares a Payasam for Neivedhyam for Pooja on Vijayadashmi day along with roasted Chickpeas and Thirumadhuram. For the first time in my life, I got a chance to follow her tradition today. I  am not sure what I did for Pooja during the first year of my marriage. Sigh.. Probably wouldnt have sacrificed my sleep for getting up early and preparing Neivedhyam or would have been busy with office work. Glad to think that I have matured a little :) Hopefully from now on as much as possible, I will try to keep up the tradition taught by my parents. And there are no words to express the satisfaction / joy when I devoured the Prasadams made by me after the Pooja and shared them with my neighbours as well :) Memories came flooding back from childhood and all I was wishing was I could see my dad doing the Pooja and singing the various hymns once again and this time, I will learn it all :)

By the way, Vijayadashmi day is considered auspicious to start anything new. I have decided to try to learn driving from today. Also to try for some volunteer work in library or something. And also to try to control my temper a little bit. Resolution lists are endless. Let us see how much I can keep up :)

Now let me share the recipes of 3 dishes prepared as Prasadam for Pooja today. First one is the simplest of all - Thirumadhuram.

I was unable to take individual pictures of each dish as I had kept it for Pooja. Plus I was in a real hurry :( 



2 - 3 Bananas (Best if you can get Palayam Thodan)
2 - 3 Tbsp Ghee
3 - 4 Tbsp Sugar


Cut Bananas into thin round shapes. 

Method of Preparing:

Mix sugar and ghee with Bananas well and serve. 

Second recipe is that of the Roasted Chickpeas.

Roasted Chickpea/ Chana:


1/2 cup Chickpeas / Chana
1 - 2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Mustard seeds
4 - 6 Curry Leaves


Soak Chickpeas in water for atleast 8 hrs. 

Method of Preparing:

Step 1 :

Pressure cook Chickpeas after adding salt and water. I need 6 whistles on my pressure cooker for the Chana to cook well. But the number of whistles may vary for each. 

Note: Do not overcook the chickpeas.  

Step 2:

Heat 2 Tbsp Oil in a pan and when the oil becomes hot, add mustard seeds. Once it crackles, add curry leaves. then add chickpeas and mix well for 2 minutes. Switch off and serve as an excellent snack. 

Third recipe that I would like to share is the Neivedhyam or the Payasam usually prepared during Pongala at temples. 

Neivedhyam ( Pongala Payasam)


1 and 1/4  cup Rice ( I used Sona Masoori)
2 cups semi grated Jaggery
3 Tbsp Ghee
1/2 Tbsp Cardamom Powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated coconut
1 small Banana (preferrably Palayam Thodan)

Method of Preparing:

Step 1:

Heat 6 cups of water in a big wide pan(Uruli) for preparing Payasam. Once the water boils nicely, add rice. Cover half and let it cook till the rice is almost done. Takes around 10 - 15 min on sim.

Step 2:

Now add Jaggery and mix. Jaggery will melt and coat the rice nicely. Once it thickens a little, add ghee and mix well.

Step 3:

Now add grated coconut and mix well. 

Step 4:

Once the rice thickens and start coming off the pan, add Bananas cut into thin rounds and mix. Cover and cook for 2min.

Step 5: 

Add cardamom powder and cover with lid and cook for 2 min and switch off. Serve hot. 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on festivals and am simply sharing the traditions followed at home. 



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