Happy Janmashtami! Janmashtami is a celebration of the birth of beloved lord Krishna. Janmashtami is one of those festivals that is celebrated all over the world. Today has been relaxing Saturday, where we spent day watching Krishna movies, reading books, listening to music and in evening will be heading to temple for pooja. On this festival, there is drama, worship, contest like dahi handi, and of course, there is food! Like I have mentioned earlier, festivals and foods are integral part of Hinduism. Any festival is incomplete without special food preparations. The food served on this festival can be of two types – either its fasting or festive delicacies. Many people fast on this special day excluding grains, wheat, and rice. Lord Krishna’s favorite food was butter and all things made of milk. I will be sharing both types of recipes today giving you options to eat while you celebrate Janmashtami!
It has been difficult and challenging to explain the significance of festival to my 3.5 yr old son but I have found creative ways to get him engaged and at the same time making sure that he learns something about this festival. We spent some time reading Krishna birth stories, watching animation movie, coloring krishna pages, and handi games. I found some ideas HERE
Kesar Pista Elaichi Shrikhand (Sweet yogurt with saffron, pistachio, and cardamom)
Kesar Pista Elaichi Srikhand is most versatile recipe and one of the first recipes I learned in childhood. In india the first recipe you learn to make as a child is homemade yogurt. The integral key of getting the perfect shrikhand is to hang yogurt in cheese cloth for at least 4-6 hours. Once you learn how to make yogurt, shrikhand becomes one of the easiest sweets to make! Once you have hung curd, you can whip this recipe up within 5-10 minutes. This has been one of those desserts that pair well with gujarati food and often made in every household. This is one of the simplest, easiest, egg free, no fail dessert recipe. Once you get the technique to make this recipe, you can get creative and add choice of flavors to your shrikhand.
2 cups of plain yogurt
2-3 tbsp of powdered sugar
½ tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp of pistachio finely chopped & some for garnishing
Pinch of saffron in 1 tsp of warm milk
Put cheese cloth on a strainer. Transfer your yogurt inside the cheese cloth. Wrap the cloth and tie a knot. Squeeze the water out as much possible and put it refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Heat 1 tsp of milk and add pinch of saffron. Mix it well and leave it for 15 minutes. After 4-6 hours, most of the excess water from the yogurt will accumulate in the bowl. Squeeze out excess water as much as you can and transfer it in a medium size bowl. While mixing the hung yogurt, add powdered sugar, cardamom powder, saffron milk and finely chopped pistachios in the bowl. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are uniformed in the yogurt. Garnish with few saffron strings and finely chopped pistachios. Store Shrikhand in the fridge and served chilled. You can store Shrikhand in air tight container in refrigerator up to 4-5 days.
If you don’t know how to make homemade yogurt, then you can buy plain full fat Greek yogurt from the store and follow the recipe. you can add variety of fruits of nuts of choice to shrikhand and customize it. You can adjust sugar to taste.
Tapioca Fritters (Sabudana Tikki)
When it comes to fasting food, Sabudana and Potatoes are most commonly and widely used ingredients. Sabudana are also known as tapioca or sago. They are manmade starch balls and when they are soaked or cooked, they become larger, translucent, soft, and spongy. Tapioca are very versatile, you can make appetizers, main course and even desserts using them. They are very bland and adapts to the spices added to the dish.
Beware of these Tapioca fritters, they are very addictive! Whenever I am fasting on festivals, this is one of those dishes that is always made in the home. Tapioca are rich in starch and carbs, so it provides a quick boost of energy for people who are fasting. You can deep fry, pan fry, or bake these fritters. Most of the time I pan fry or bake these fritters for healthier option.
When you are making a dish with tapioca, it is important to get the perfect texture. There is a trick when it comes to soaking them. After many attempts, I have found to add the 1:1 ratio when it comes to soaking. For perfect texture follow this method, if you take 1 cup of tapioca, then add 1 cup of water for soaking. I usually recommend soaking them for 4-6 hours.
½ cup of tapioca pearls (sabudana), ½ cup of water for soaking
2 medium boiled potatoes mashed
2 tbsp roasted peanuts (grind into coarse powder)
3 green chilies finely chopped, adjust to your taste buds
3 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ginger grated
1 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste
3-4 tbsp oil for shallow frying tikkis
Wash sabudana under running cold water until water runs clear. Soak ½ cup of tapioca in ½ cup of water for 4-6 hours. Always use shallow bowl to soak. After soaking, you will notice sabudana will swell up and triple in size. Drain any excess water in strainer and let it drain for 15 minutes prior using them.
In a bowl, add soaked tapioca, mashed boiled potatoes, chopped green chilies, chopped ginger, chopped cilantro leaves, salt, sugar, cumin, lemon juice, and roasted coarse peanut powder. Mix everything very well and grease your hands. Make tennis size balls and slowly flatten them into thick discs. Grease your hands with oil as needed while forming fritters to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
One you have the fritters made now you have three options – deep fry, shallow fry or bake it in the oven.
Deep fry – Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, slowly place the fritters in the oil and cook them until nice golden brown and crispy. Once cooked on both sides, remove them on the paper towel lined plate to remove excel oil. Serve them hot alone or with choice of chutney.
Shallow fry – Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot slowly place the fritters and slowly cook each side until its nice golden brown and crispy. Once cooked on both sides, remove them on the paper towel lined plate to remove excel oil. Serve them hot alone or with choice of chutney.
Baked – Preheat oven at 425F. Line parchment paper on baking tray. Transfer your fritters on the parchment paper. Brush each side with oil or oil spray. Bake for 30 minutes each side or until nice golden brown and crispy. Brush with more oil if required when flipped after 30 minutes. It will take total of 50-60 minutes approximately depending on fritters thickness. Serve them hot and crispy by itself or with choice of chutney.