Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha


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India is a land of diversities, traditions, and endless festivals. And, especially this time of the year, all of us are in high spirits and fully ready to welcome the season of festivals which will mark its beginning with Ganesh Chaturthi this Friday – 29th August, 2014. It’s celebrated each year in the honor of Lord Ganesha (for our friends who may not know who we are talking about, it’s the cute plum god with an elephant head and a mice along with a plate full of his favorite sweets).  

Quick facts:

Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, and generally falls between 19th August and 20th September each year.

The festival lasts ten days with Ganesh Chaturthi marking the beginning when the idol of Ganesha is installed at temples or at home while Anant Chaturdashi marks the end when the idol is taken around in a procession to be immersed in nearby water bodies like rivers or sea, with hundreds and thousands of worshipers singing, praying, and dancing.

Though it’s followed all across India, Maharashtra’s celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi is a spectacular event on its own.

Dress Code:

In India, festivals and traditional occasions often call for the Indian National Dress – Saree. Women, all over the world, who celebrate this festival, adorn themselves in gorgeous and elegant sarees – mostly bright colored and in silk or such material.

However, for some of us, every dress – western or Indian, has to be about making a style statement. And, undoubtedly the current scenario of the Indian fashion industry and the massive developments in terms of Indian ethnic wear enables us to please all our temptations.

Some of the alternatives that you can try this festive season are:

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 And, then there are always the truly ethnic Silk sarees:

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 Check our website for the complete collection.

Recipes and Food:

No Ganesha festival can be complete without offering him his favorite food – Modak. Here is a quick recipe on how to make totally delicious Ukadiche Modak to offer the deity and distribute it as a sacrament to everybody.  

Ingredients:

For The Dough –

2 cups rice flour

Water as required

For The Filling –

1 1/4 cups grated jaggery

2 cups freshly grated coconut

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

1/2 tbsp. cardamom powder

½ cup skimmed milk

Other Ingredients –

1 tbsp. ghee for kneading and greasing

Method For the dough:

Boil 1¾ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan.

Place the rice flour in a deep bowl and add the boiled water gradually. Mix well using a spoon in the beginning and then knead into soft and smooth dough.

Cover with a lid and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Method For the filling:

Step 1: Heat ghee in the deep non-stick pan, add the grated coconut, and cook on slow flame for 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 2: Add milk. Keep stirring continuously for 5 – 7 minutes till it gets thick.

Step 3: Add jaggery and poppy seeds and keep stirring till it becomes dry.

Step 4: Add cardamom powder, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 1 to 2 minutes till all the moisture evaporates and the mixture thickens. Keep aside to cool slightly.

Step 5: Divide the filling into equal portions and keep aside.

Method to make the Modak:

Step 1: Knead the dough once again using ½ tbsp. of ghee and keep aside.

Step 2: Make equal lemon size ball of the dough.

Step 3: Take one ball and roll it 2-3 inches in circumference on a dusted rolling board.

Step 4: Place a portion of the filling in the center of the rolled ball.

Step 5: Bring the edges together towards the center. Join all the edges and pinch them

Step 6: Repeat this procedure to make the remaining Modak.

Step 7: Place a steamer plate in a steamer and place a banana leaf on it.

Step 8: Moisten all the Modaks with little water using your fingertips.

Step 9: Place the Modaks on the banana leaf and steam on a medium flame for 10 minutes.

Step 10: Serve to Lord Ganesha and later enjoy it yourself.

Handy tip:

These Modaks stay fresh for a day at room temperature and for 2 days if refrigerated.

(Recipe Courtesy: The Heath Site)

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(Image Courtesy: India Forums)

Let’s all of us gather together in harmony and say – Ganpati Bappa Morya, Mangal Murti Morya!

Team Sareez wishes all a blessed Ganesh Chaturthi and hope that the god of happy beginnings shower you with prosperity. 

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