I know this post featuring Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi is a bit too late..But "Better late than never." :-)Lord Krishna and Lord Ganesha's b'days are celebrated as Janmashtami and chaturthi respectively by the Hindus. As with any other festival, one of the main attractions is the preparation of array of sweets and snacks which is offered as Neivedyam to the gods.
Janmashtami fell on a weekday and I was off to work. My MIL and visiting mother prepared the snacks..As they folowed the good old ladle and eye measurement, I do not have the cup measurements for the snacks that they prepared. So just sharing the photos and customs that we follow in celebrating the festival..
Janmashtami aka krishna jayanthi is generally celebrated in the evening as Lord Krishna is believed to be born in the midnight. We do the following things for the puja.
1. Put a kolam/rangoli at the entrance of the house. We make a paste out of rice flour and use it to put the kolam. Draw feet of kutty(small) krishna from the entrance till the puja room as if he is visiting our house. 2. In the puja room, decorate the idol or photo of Lord Krishna with garland and flowers. 3. Arrange the items prepared for Neivedyam in front of the idol. The items that are generally kept as Neivedyam are.. Uppu Cheedai Vella Cheedai Murukku or thenkuzhal Appam Ulundu Vadai A small bowl of milk with a tbsp of butter put in it. Vella Aval or Aval payasam These are supposedly kutty krishna's favourites. :-) Along with these, we also keep the usual beetel leaves, paaku(forgot the English word), fruits and coconut. Light vilakku(diyas) in front of the idol. Chant some slokas of Lord Vishnu and then finally do the aarthi.(deepa-aaradhanai) Then ofcourse start eating the prasadams. :-)
Ganesh Chaturthi on the other hand was on a weekend. So I had all the time and energy for preparing the dishes. Ganesh chaturthi is one of the festivals that I lused to look forward to when I was a kid. On the day of the festival me and my father would go to the market in the morning to buy the Ganesha idol made freshly out of clay. Choosing the idol without any defect was a real fun. I mainly used to see if the small munjur(rat) at the bottom is in good shape and if one tusk in the idol is smaller than the other. Then we buy the flowers and other puja items and head back to home. I just used to enjoy this trip. Here are the thing that we do for the puja.
1. Buy the Ganesha Idol. There are some special flowers that we need to buy like erukampoo(a type of fower) and arugampul(a type of grass) 2. Put kolam at the entrance of the home and in the puja room using rice flour mixture. We call this maakolam. 3. Decorate the idol with flowers and also drape a blouse bit(vastram) 4. Arrange the neivedyam items in fron of the idol. The items that are generally kept as Neivedyam are.. Uppu Kozhakkatai(modakam) kadala paruppu kozhakkatai Vella poornam kozhalkkatai Payasam Ulundu Vadai Kozhakkatais are Lord Ganesha's favourite. Along with these, we also keep the usual beetel leaves, paaku(forgot the English word), bananas and coconut. Light vilakku(diyas) in front of the idol. Chant some slokas of Lord Vishnu and then finally do the aarthi. This step is common for most of the puja.
I actually wanted to share the recipe for all the items. But as I missed the paper in which I noted down the measurements, just giving the recipe for semiya payasam. I got the recipe for the payasam from my cousin in Bombay. I have made semiya payasam so many times, but I have never ever got such a creamy and rich payasam before. Special thanks to her for sharing this recipe.
Ingredients to serve 4 adults
Semiya/Vermicelli: 1/2 cup Milk: 2 cups Condensed milk: 1/2 tin(200 gms) Ghee: 1 tbsp Cashew and raisins to garnish Cardomom powder/Elaichi: 1/6 tsp
1. Add ghee in a kdai/pan. Add the cashew and raisins. Once the cashew turns slightly brown and the raisins puuf up, simmer and remove them from the pan. 2. Add the semiya(if not already roasted) in the same pan and roast for a few minutes until it turns slightly brown.(around 3 minutes) 3. Boil the milk. 4. Pour the milk in the semiya pan and cook the semiya in low to medium flame stirring occasionally. 5. The semiya would absorb the milk and get cooked.(around 10 to 15 minutes) 6. Check if the semiya is cooked by pressing a few of them with the finger. If it gets mashed easily then it is cooked. While cooking if it becomes too thick add some more milk. 7. Once the semiya is cooked add the condensed milk and mix well. (Since it is made as Neivedyam, we can't taste now. Otherwise taste the payasam. If more sweet is required, add some more condensed milk.) 8. Garnish with cashew and raisins. 9. Serve hot or cold. While serving if it is too thick, add some more milk.
Semiya payasam cannot get richer and creamier than this.