The timeless taste of traditions

The timeless taste of traditions

The harvest festival in Lohri, which falls on January 13, starts the long list of festivities in India. Marked by lighting a bonfire and singing and dancing to folk tunes, the festival also celebrates Dulha Bhatti’s (popularly known as Robin Hood from Punjab)’s tale of marrying two girls, Sundari and Mundari, by asking people to donate jaggery and cereal to weddings. . On this day, children visit houses in their neighborhood and sing Sunder Mundriye Ho, a folk interpretation of this tale. As the country prepares for muted celebrations amidst the Covid-19 curbs, food becomes the most important aspect of the festival. Then take a look at the traditional delicacies that form Lohri ki thaali that you can dig into.

Sarson and Saag

It is customary to consume seasonal foods on this day and therefore sarson ka saag becomes an essential part of the menu. “This delicacy requires careful precision to get the right taste. Mustard leaves and spinach are blanched and cooked uncovered, as green vegetables have volatile acids that must be allowed to escape, otherwise the green vegetables lose their color and become bitter in taste. You can add a baby beet, a little radish or a carrot for variety, ”says Rajesh Singh, executive deputy head, Taj Mahal, New Delhi.

Macaques Roti

Sarson ka saag without the rustic makki di roti (cornmeal flatbread) is simply unthinkable. Topped with a generous amount of desi ghee, along with whole green chilies and masala god, this combination is a classic. “To avoid breakage (by getting dry), corn root must either be rolled out with wet hands, or you can use wet silver foil, greaseproof paper, polyethylene paper to squeeze it by hand. You can make it softer by adding ghee while you knead the flour. My father used to add chopped onions, chili, chopped radish leaves and grated radish to the dough to get a fresh taste, “says chef Navneet Singh, head chef, Welcomhotel Amritsar.

Gajak

Prepared with jaggery, peanuts and sesame seeds, the gajak is a familiar dessert or confectionery. There are variants of gajak such as god-to-gajak, til-rewari gajak, khas gajak and til-mawa gajak that prepared on this day. “Experimental versions of gajak and rewari with infusions of chocolate, sea salt caramel and even whiskey, are becoming popular in the market,” informs Rajesh.

Rewri, Tilgul, Til ke laddu, Til Bhugga, Chikki, Til baati are prepared with jaggery and sesame seeds.  (Shutterstock)
Rewri, Tilgul, Til ke laddu, Til Bhugga, Chikki, Til baati are prepared with jaggery and sesame seeds. (Shutterstock)

To Bhugga

It is believed that the term Lohri comes from the word ‘Tilohri’, i.e. ’til’ (sesame) and ‘rorhi’ (gur). Therefore, these constitute the main ingredient in many dishes and sweets made during this festival. Such an item is for bhugga, which is a sweet dish made with sesame seeds and khoya. “The fire is called bhugga and the sweet is named after it. While making these, just keep in mind that the proportion of sesame, sugar and Khoya should be 1: 2: 2. Sesame seeds must be dry roasted and ground, ”says Navneet.

Khajoor

This miniature version of ghewar is made from flour and ghee and is essential for weddings and celebrations in Amritsar. “It is made by frying flour in ghee. During the Lohri Preparation Week, you will see shops that make it live for everyone to see, be lured and buy. It is a sweet that travels well. And it did in the past from Amritsar’s city lines to the homes in Lahore. However, it now remains confidential for the people of Amritsar, ”says Navneet.

Pinni Ke Laddoo

Known as the Lohri special laddoo. Made with whole wheat flour, dry fruits, dry grated coconut, lots of clarified butter, almonds and edible chewing gum, gud ka boora or khaand is generally used as a sweetener for this. “In addition to the traditional varieties, people are experimenting with chia, melon, sunflower and flax seeds to cook rewari, gajak and pinnis now,” says Anand Panwar, pastry chef, Roseate Hotels & Resorts.

This immunity-promoting food is made with Punjabi masalaewala god.
This immunity-promoting food is made with Punjabi masalaewala god.

Spicy Jaggery Halwa

Considered to be an immune-boosting food, this shiny and creamy halwa is prepared with Punjabi masale wala god.

Ingredients:Semolina: 1 Beng cup Bengal gram flour: ½ cup Clarified butter (Ghee): 1 cup Almonds, cut into slices: 1 tbspMelon seeds: 1 tbsp. Milk: 1 tbsp. For jaggery syrup: Water: 8 cups Spicy jaggery: 1 cup if desired

Method:Add grated spicy jaggery to the water in a deep pan. After bringing it to a boil, add the milk. You will find the dirt liquid on top of the syrup. Discard the foam using a ladle. Strain the syrup through the muslin cloth after it thickens. Heat ghee in a non-stick kadai, semolina and bengal grammel. Keep stirring it over a medium flame. Once it has achieved a light golden color and you can smell the aroma of cooked semolina and Bengal flour, add the chopped nuts and melon seeds. Let it cook for a few seconds. Now add the prepared syrup and stir it continuously until it thickens. Serve the halva piping hot, garnished with sliced ​​/ chopped nuts and rosebuds.

By Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji


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