Let me begin by saying that I am as proud of Chandrayaan-3 as the next person. I must be explicit about this because to not be proud of the moon landing mission is to risk being accused of treachery. As we all know, anyone who doesn’t applaud when India or Indians accomplish something must be labelled as anti-national and invited to move out to a neighbouring country. So, to reiterate, I am probably prouder of the Chandrayaan-3 mission than most other people I know. I would go a step further and say that I am prouder than the people in charge of monitoring it.
With that declaration out of the way, here’s the point I really wanted to make: I am proud, but also unhappy about one thing. I don’t like how coverage of the moon landing ended up spending more time on Indian Space Research Organisation scientists than on the people genuinely responsible for this achievement. I speak, obviously, of our politicians. Where were they, I asked myself time and again, as I switched between news channels looking for a sign from Rashtrapati Bhavan. Why were they not on screen as much or more than that tiny space capsule was? What was the point of showing us something landing on the moon’s surface without more footage of our ministers applauding?
This is why I believe our journalists had the wrong approach. Ask yourself a simple question, about how a country ends up putting a rover on the moon. Does it manage this with the help of scientists sitting together to solve a series of problems? Or does it pull this off by virtue of dedicated politicians who speak about the importance of moon landings every other year? I am firmly of the opinion that it is the latter. It was our honourable representatives in Parliament who made this possible, by virtue of drumming up publicity. Without them, most of us would never have heard of moon landings, let alone managing one. I hope they get these leaders get the congratulations they deserve in the coming months when we are finally done patting scientists on their backs.
It is publicity and public relations that matter more than science, and residents of New and Improved India 2.0 should know this better than anyone. Newspapers in the West were making a big deal about how the Chandrayaan-3 mission cost less than the average Hollywood blockbuster but failed to consider how much our government had spent on drawing attention to the mission. Getting that rover onto the moon without it tipping over may have been a bit difficult, but was it harder than drawing up a marketing plan? I think not.
Also read: Ganesh Chaturthi: Let visarjan not end up being someone’s funeral
Someone ought to think about the work that goes into marketing and advertising these and all the other missions currently underway across the country. In this instance, I am sure teams of people had to figure out how best to place the Prime Minister’s photograph at every stage of the mission, from launch to final touchdown. Designers and digital marketing professionals had to ensure all banners featuring the Prime Minister would trend at the same time as the rover began its final descent. Everything had to be choreographed to perfection, so the Prime Minister’s face took up 70 per cent of our television screens, leaving exactly 30 per cent for the moon’s surface. This is what real work is about. It may sound easy, but it comes only after a hundred similar exercises involving other achievements, major and minor.
What’s done is done, but I believe we should have more rigorous rules in place when it comes to reporting in the years to come. If our scientists manage to send a rover to Mars, for example, we should have access to the Prime Minister’s speeches about Mars along with footage of the rover in question. We should also consider renaming these celestial aircraft after ministers because, although Chandrayaan is an undeniably classy and catchy name, it doesn’t have the ring of more popular names we have grown accustomed to.
Future missions should also carry photographs of one leader emblazoned on the side of every rover, in the event of alien encounters. If an alien comes across a lunar rover sent from India, I would like it to recognise the politician responsible, and take that information back to its own planet. Other galaxies should also acknowledge what we know: that everything good coming from India happens because of the presence of one politician alone.
When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira
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The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper
Modak holds a special place in the hearts of Mumbaikars. This delectable treat is not only a culinary delight but also a symbol of profound love and devotion for Bappa. It’s believed to be Lord Ganesha's favourite indulgence, and its association with the deity makes it an indispensable offering during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
The word ‘modak’ is derived from the Sanskrit word "Mod," which implies happiness. Therefore, modak serves as an extension of the joy and prosperity that Lord Ganesha is believed to shower upon his disciples. Mythology reveals that Lord Ganesha was offered modak by his mother, Goddess Parvati, as a special treat. Impressed by the taste, he declared it his favourite treat.
In Mumbai, the culinary landscape constantly evolves, and chefs are not only preserving the traditional flavours of modak but also infusing innovative twists into this timeless dessert. From classic steamed rice flour modak stuffed with coconut and jaggery to contemporary interpretations featuring flavours like chocolate, mango, and even savoury versions with ingredients like cheese and herbs, there's a modak to cater to every palate.
These modern avatars of modak not only pay homage to tradition but also reflect the city's dynamic and multicultural culinary spirit. Consequently, Ganesh Chaturthi becomes a delightful blend of tradition and innovation which attracts locals and tourists as well. Midday combed through Mumbai, leaving no stone unturned in its search for traditional and innovative Modak varieties. Here’s a round-up of Mumbai’s modak mania.
"Lord Ganesha's favourite modak reminds us that life's sweetness is found in simple things,” shares Chef Lalit Chunara from Blabber Juhu. This Ganesh festival, his house-made modaks are a rendition of freshly grated coconut and jaggery, with a soft shell that is made from rice or wheat flour. There is no artificial colour or processed food used, informs the chef.
It contains ghee which helps in rebuilding the intestinal lining and elimination of toxins. “The coconut we add in ukadiche modak contains sterol which helps to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and improves high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, hence have health benefits,” shares Chunara.
What’s on the menu?Date and figs modakA variation of steamed modak moulded with ghee with a filling of dates, figs, chopped and nutsCoconut and apricot modakModak steamed and stuffed with freshly grated coconut and apricots, finished with a pinch of cinnamon to enhance the flavourMava and biscoff modakModak enriched with dense mawa and biscoff fillingsWhere: Blabber Juhu, Stanza Living Monterrey, 46, Gulmohar Rd, near CritiCare Hospital, Juhu SchemePrice: Rs 400 onwardsOrder on Zomato Fusion of flavours
This assorted modak box features a trio of flavours: rose, kesar, and chocolate. This festive menu offers a delightful blend of traditional and modern tastes. Each modak is thoughtfully crafted to ensure a harmonious balance of flavours, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a diverse modak experience. These modaks are not just a treat for the palate but also serve as a visual delight, making them an aesthetic addition to festive celebrations.
What’s on the menu?Rose modakChocolate modakKesar modak
Where: The Coco Butter, Lower ParelPrice: Box of 9 modaks: Rs 400Box of 6 modaks: Rs 340Call: 91370 19622 Vegan treats
Mumbai chefs are known for their creativity, and during Ganesh Chaturthi, they experiment with various fillings and presentations. Yogisattva's limited-edition sweets are a wholesome delight, crafted from organic ingredients such as coconut, almond butter, coconut milk, flour, a medley of spices, and unrefined coconut sugar. These modaks are a testament to health-conscious indulgence, as they are not only vegan but also gluten-free, devoid of refined sugar, and entirely plant-based. The delectable range comprises three tantalising variations.
What’s on the menu?Vegan coconut jaggery modakVegan besan modakVegan rose besan modak
Price: Rs 800 onwardsWhere: Yogisattva, 7th Floor, Pinnacle House, 15th Road, BandraCall: 9867455009, Zomato and Swiggy Modak Extravaganza
There is something in store for those in Pune. Head to Conrad Pune for an exquisite setting where tradition meets culinary artistry with a curated assortment of traditional modaks. Crafted from a blend of pure ghee, coconut, jaggery, cashews, raisins, flour, and cardamom powder, the inner filling of a modak is meticulously prepared to strike the optimum balance of sweetness and flavour. If you like the oozy fillings, this is your corner.
What’s on the menu?Coconut jaggery modakKesar modakOG modak
Where: Pune Sugar Box, Conrad PuneWhen: September 19 – 29Call: 02067456745 or +91 9168603850 Modak Medley
The Modak Medley Box of 18, available at the Bombay Sweet Shop, offers a delightful assortment of modaks that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. Each modak is thoughtfully crafted with a blend of ingredients, including nuts, gluten, besan, soy, dairy, and coconut, ensuring a rich and diverse flavour profile. Each modak is carefully handcrafted to ensure an exquisite and preservative-free treat. It serves as an ideal choice for those looking to savour the essence of Indian sweets during special occasions and festive celebrations. The box includes three distinct varieties:
Coconut Khubani ModakThis modak encapsulates the essence of coconut and khubani (apricots), creating a harmonious blend of sweet and nutty flavours.Puran Poli ModakFor those who appreciate tradition, the Puran Poli Modak combines the classic flavours of puran poli, offering a nostalgic and comforting taste.Chocolate Fudge ModakA modern twist on the traditional modak, the Chocolate Fudge Modak boasts a rich and indulgent chocolatey centre, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
Where: Bombay Sweet Shop, JAK Compound, Lane, Byculla EastPrice: Rs 1300 per box onwards Order: bombay sweetshop.comCall: 9136192636 Modak the authentic way
“Modak is a highly revered festive dish and we like to keep it authentic,” said Laxmi Kesarkar in a telephonic conversation. Well in advance of the festive season, Kesarkar and Namrata Pawaskar, longtime friends hailing from Dadar, are in high demand for their signature ukadiche modak and puranpolis. If you happen to be fortunate, they might accommodate a last-minute request.
Laxmi Kesarkar and Namrata Pawaskar, DadarPrice: Rs 35 onwards per pieceCall: 9322844376 or 8652145490 Whip up a modak at home
Ingredients:Water, 220 gmSalt, 1/2 tspGhee, 1 tspNachni flour, 200 gmFresh coconut grated, 250 gmCoconut sugar, 100 gmCardamom powder, 1 gm Dried rose petals, 1 gm Method:Bring the water, salt and ghee up to a boil. Once boiling, add in the nachni flour and cook for a minute while stirring with a wooden spatula. When the flour absorbs all the liquid, cover it with a lid and leave it off the heat for five minutes. This allows the flour to hydrate fully. Now knead it into a ball and continue kneading for five minutes until smooth. Add a little water if needed but sparingly. For the stuffing, de-seed 10 green cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle. Toast the dried rose petals and grind it into a powder.Heat the coconut sugar until it melts.Once melted, add in the grated coconut and spices. Mix thoroughly to prepare the batter.Make small modak pods and fill them with the batter.Place in a steamer at low flame for 10 minutes. Moist and supple modak is ready to be served.
Recipe by Chef Rahul Punjabi, Masala Library Mava and Biscoff Modak
Ingredients:Modak flour, 1 cup Blue pea water, 1 cupSesame oil, 1 tbspPinch saltMava, 1 cupCrushed biscoff cookies, 1 cupCardamom powder, 10 gmBiscoff spread
Method:Boil blue pea water in a vessel. Add flour to it and stir it till it mixes thoroughly. Switch off the gas. Cover the above mixture for five minutes. Take out that dough and knead it for five minutes until it gets smooth. Now cook mava and biscoff cookies together at a low flame. Add cardamom powder and biscoff spread to the mixture. Then fill the mixture with rice coating. Place in a steamer at low temperature for 8 to 10 minutes. Once the modak is steamed, brush with desi ghee and serve.
Recipe by Chef Lalit Chunara, Blabber Juhu
On Friday, the Central Railway announced that there will be no mega block on CSMT-Kalyan section main line and CSMT-Panvel harbour line including Trans-harbour line and BSU line suburban sections.
According to the Central Railway, they have taken the decision in view of the ongoing 10-day Ganpati festival. Moreover, for the convenience of passengers, the Western Railway has decided to run eight Ganpati Special local trains from midnight of September 28-29, 2023 between Churchgate and Virar stations.
Meanwhile, in order to carry out maintenance work of tracks, signaling, and overhead equipment, a Jumbo Block of four hours will be taken on UP and Down Fast lines from 00.30 hrs to 04.30 hrs between Borivali and Bhayandar station in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, i.e. on September 23-24, 2023.
As per the press release issued by Sumit Thakur, Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, during the block period, all Fast line trains will be operated on Slow lines between Virar/Vasai Road to Borivali station. "Due to the block, some Up and Dn suburban trains will remain canceled," the press release said.
The press release added, "Therefore, there will be No Block in Day Time over the Western Railway Suburban section on Sunday, 24th September 2023. Detailed information to this effect is available with concerned Station Masters. Passengers are requested to take note of the above arrangements."
The Western Railway on Friday said that they will run eight special local trains on the intervening nights of September 28 and September 29 due to Ganapati Visarjan. The WR also stated in their media statement that UP fast trains running during peak hours, i.e., 5 pm to 8.30 pm, will be halting at all stations between Mumbai Central and Churchgate. In the statement issued by Sumit Thakur, Chief PRO of Western Railway, said that to reduce congestion at platforms, all the UP slow line trains (towards Churchgate) will not be halting at platform number 2 during the peak hours.
“Considering the heavy rush at Charni Road station due to Ganpati immersion on September 28, 2023, it has been decided that all UP fast trains which run during the peak period i.e., from 17.00 hrs to 20.30 hrs, towards Churchgate, will be provided halt at all stations between Mumbai Central and Churchgate, including Charni Road,” the Western Railway said.
“In order to reduce congestion at platforms, all UP slow line trains, between 17.00 hrs to 22:00 hrs on 28th September 2023 going towards Churchgate will NOT halt at PF No. 2 of Charni Road station. Hence, there will be no train available during this period from Platform No. 2 at Charni Road station,” it read.
“For the convenience of passengers, WR has decided to run 8 Ganpati Special local trains during the midnight of 28th/29th September 2023 between Churchgate & Virar stations. These special suburban trains will halt at all suburban stations between Churchgate & Virar,” the media statement further read.
“The first Special Suburban service from Virar will depart at 00.15 hrs & will reach Churchgate at 01.52 hrs. The second Special Suburban service from Virar will depart at 00.45 hrs & will reach Churchgate at 02.22 hrs. The third Special service from Virar will depart at 01.40 hrs & will reach Churchgate at 03.15 hrs and the fourth Special service from Virar will depart at 03.00 hrs and reach Churchgate at 04.40 hrs,” it stated.
It further read, “Similarly in down direction, first Special service will depart Churchgate at 01.15 hrs and reach Virar at 02.50 hrs, second Special service will depart Churchgate at 01.55 hrs and reach Virar at 03.32 hrs, third Special service will depart Churchgate at 02.25 hrs and reach Virar at 04.02 hrs and fourth Special service will depart Churchgate at 03.20 hrs and reach Virar at 04.58 hrs.”
The crisscross bylanes of Girgaum have come alive with divine manifestation. The lord of beginnings – Ganesha has traversed celestial realms to personify idols, crafted to perfection. According to Hindu mythology, the 10-day observance starting on September 19, marks a period when he visits his devotees and blesses them with a prosperous dawn.
A flying speck of white dust becomes our guiding force into ‘Ganpati Karkhana’ at Keshavji Naik Chawl – the epicentre of Ganesh Chaturthi gatherings since 1893. Scores of idols grace the multi-layered shelves with the pot bellied deity. Inside the studio, the 5th generation idol-maker – Sridhar Datta Chawlkar perches on his pedestal to paint his standard 2 ft tall idol.
At this time of the year, idol makers are in their artistic element. At the fifth stop of 2nd Kumbharwada, is Deepak Durge’s atmospheric studio which is a hidden gem of clay idols in a market dominated by POP (Plaster of Paris) models. Draped in muddy white shades of clay, he can be seen adding final details to his 150th sculpture of the Elephant-headed deity, this season.
Also Read: How Muslims welcome Lalbaugcha Raja at Byculla and Nagpada
Ganpati draped in grandiosity
Over a special cutting chai, he tells Midday, “Adding embellishments and studs on Ganpati idols has become highly popular in recent times. Not only studs, but people are increasingly demanding idols adorned with expensive jewellery, clothing, and accessories.” However, upon closer observation, it comes to light that none of his idols carry embellished studs.
Durge recalls how, last year, one of the Ganpati idols was decorated with LED lights. He goes on to add how another idol was covered with a wig made of human hair. “Artists have also started placing Ganesha’s head upon diverse structures. For instance, on the bodies of other Gods or human avatars like a doctor, or a superhero figure like Spiderman, even in the body of Sai Baba or a swami.”
Sagar Panchal, the owner of the iconic Atul Sagar Arts at Lalbaug has a distinguished clientele which includes the Ambani family. “They have had a standard request of a 5 ft-sized idol for the past 14 years. In 2009, when they first came to us, they picked an idol that was already made. The design left such an impression on them that they decided to commission a Ganesha idol from us every year. Hence, we designed a particular mould for their idol and continued with the same.”
A point to be made here is that a mould idol implies a (Plaster of Paris) model. Over the years, Ambanis have requested add-ons like ornaments, elaborate backgrounds, golden seats and sheen fabric, informs Panchal. However, the ban on POP during the pandemic made them switch to paper or clay models with a height restriction of 3 ft.
People have become particular about the draping styles on Ganesha’s body. To cater to the evolving demands, Panchal has come up with creative draping styles – one where the drape flows from both the shoulders of Ganesha, one where He is clad in Kurta with a drape on one shoulder and another where the drape flows from the right shoulder and left arm.
Additionally, there is a growing demand for diamond and artificial jewellery on Ganesha idols at Panchal’s studio as well. There is artisanal creativity to be noted in the variety of diamonds with shapes ranging from round to rhomboid to square studs. Moreover, the pagdis come in innovative styles too – some based on elaborate fabric folds, some in traditional forms, while some decked with flowers.
His signature idol is the one where Ganpati is clad in sheen white drapes, wearing a white dhoti, a white pagdi decorated with flowers – holding a yellow modak in His left palm. “We have 2000 idols in the same mould. It is our unique selling product that has garnered maximum patrons owing to its distinct design,” shares Panchal.
Sourabh Mururkar, 27, is a first-generation idol-maker at Lambodar Arts in Keshavji Naik Chawl. In his experience of 20 years at the workshop – he has also observed a rise in the demand for decorative detailing. “Earlier, people used to be concerned with flowers and backdrop design. Now they want miniature diamond jewellery, intricate mukuts and elaborate draping for Ganpati,” informs Mururkar.
A rise in pomp and show
Traditionally, Ganesh idols were relatively small, often handmade with clay and standing at a manageable height. However, in recent times, there has been a rising trend towards larger and more extravagant idols. Some communities and individuals compete to have the tallest or grandest idol, reaching enormous heights, remarks Mururkar.
“How can I beautify my idol more?” asks Mururkar in a rhetorical manner to imitate his customers. His team designs 50-60 idols each year as they are all hand-made. “The height of the idol has been consistent at 18 inches for the last 20 years that I have been practicing. Size demand never changes, but the décor is evolving fast to grab more eyeballs.”
What is the driving factor behind this trend, we ask? Durge responds by saying that Ganesh Chaturthi has come to be associated with pageantry owing to a variety of socio-economic and cultural factors. “Rising disposable incomes have enabled individuals and communities to allocate more resources to elaborate celebrations. Additionally, a competitive spirit drives them to outdo one another in terms of idol size, decoration and festivities.”
The amount of money spent on Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, including idol creation, decoration, and various rituals, has surged over the years. Many communities and individuals are willing to invest substantial sums to ensure that their celebrations are the most impressive. This includes not only the cost of the idol itself but also expenses related to pandals (temporary structures to house the idol), lighting, sound systems, and cultural performances, adds Panchal.
Panchal points towards an idol whose dhoti folds he had painted in yellow shades. “You can see how sublime the folds are. If you ask me, I personally don’t like the trend nowadays. As an artist, when I paint an idol – I want my creativity to show. With the add-on requests of fabric dhotis, my creativity gets affected as it hides my art.”
Commenting on the shifting trends, Durge defines this as a major deviation from Hindu shastras which lay out the principles of deity worship. The primary intent of this idol is devotion; it should be a plain representation of the deity that bridges the devotee with the divine. Adorning it with vivid colours and ornaments drives us away from the sacred tradition of Ganesha worship, opines Durge.
The supply-demand equation is to be equally blamed for, says Durge. People are demanding Ganesha in innovative avatars. Seeing the rise in this peculiar demand, idol-makers are coming up with more elaborate Ganpati idols. So much so, that the supply of spectacular idols has misguided people. “A true artist will do it the ceremonial way rather than playing with the ritualistic ways,” remarks Durge.
Traditions vs. traction
Durge’s design ethos does not align with extravagant idols. Hence, he has chosen to stick to the traditional idol-making style that involves the use of shaadu mitti (Clay) and is devoid of any embellishments. “As per the Hindu rituals, the idols are meant to be designed in a certain manner that aligns with nature and we do it that way. Had we been in the money-making business – we would have resorted to smarter ways.”
At Lambodar Arts, Mururakar has noticed a rise in eco-friendly idols. “Earlier people didn’t care about POP or clay, but now there is a growing awareness. It works in our favour as we don’t have POP moulds for our idols.” Since childhood, Mururkar has been using shaadu mitti for all his idol designs. However, how economical is it given the growing demand?
Panchal admits that at his studio, customer demand decides the fate of the idols. “We charge extra for each add-on requested by people. With each fabric add-on, the scale of my profits increases by 20 per cent. A non-embellished, non-fabric idol costs anywhere between Rs. 8000-10,000. However, when I add a drape to it, the price rises by a margin of Rs. 1500-2000.” Panchal prioritises art first, but when people demand more, he obliges.
“If I don’t comply and stick to ethics, I will be left behind,” remarks Panchal. He runs an enterprise of six workshops in the interiors of Lalbaug. This year, he has designed up to 3000 Ganesha idols with the help of 25 domain experts. His team comprises people who are exclusive experts in draping, finishing, painting, etc. The distinguished clientele at his studio includes the Ambanis, Ex-Chief Minister Ashok Shankarrao Chavan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Usha Mangeshkar and more renowned personalities of Maharashtra.
Approximately, 70 per cent of his customers now want draping and studded idols. “For me, Ganesha Baba is on top, so I don’t mess with him,” chuckles Panchal. He inherited the studio from his parents, which has been in business for the past 50 years.
Apart from being an idol-maker, Panchal is also the secretary of Lalbaug Paran Murtikar Sangathan. He expresses his dissatisfaction with the ban on POP idols. “Eco-friendly idols cannot be made in a span of 2-3 months. We get the pandal permissions 3 months prior to the festive date which is also the rainy season.”
“It becomes impossible to design idols in such a short span. With PoP, I can design 10 idols in a day but with clay – it adds up to 1 only. Secondly, labour is not cheap in Mumbai and there is a dearth of skilled labourers. Most of the workshops lack clay as its material and hence they resort to moulds only. The ones designing clay idols have created their monopoly and are charging double for their skill.”
In today’s date, there are at least 25,000 idols being made at Lalbaug which clay, as a material, cannot cater to, informs Panchal. Additionally, there is limited space to stack the idols at his workshop. “One POP idol weighs around 4-5 Kgs, whereas a clay idol weighs around 10 times more. Thus, it becomes a real challenge to work with clay.”
Is the traditional appearance of Ganpati getting lost?
Durge is a prodigal figure whose name echoes across the wadis of Girgaum. Customers flock to his studio seeking idols meant to be placed inside their homes. “Clay idols are to be a matter of expense which require expert craftsmanship. For this, we start from the start. Our tools are also designed with technical precision with the help of carpenters,” shares Durge.
Back in 2005, people demanded bigger idols made from POP, informs Mururkar. While clay idols are entirely crafted by hand, POP idols are an extension of moulds. He believes in presenting his art first rather than selling mass-produced mould idols. In his studio, patrons can find idols that have been crafted from the initial design stage to their final form. “There is a novelty in making clay idols.”
Commenting on the splendour-driven traction of POP idols, Durge informs that out of 100, 90 statue manufacturers drape Ganpati idols in grandiosity due to people’s incessant demands. “The traditional appearance of Ganpati idols is vanishing from the market. It does exist in the nooks of Girgaum but is being gradually replaced with pompous-looking Bappas.”
A Ganpati idol is more than a mere figurine. Durge compares it to a newborn child who is taken care of with the most delicate clothing and skin care products – similarly, a Ganpati idol is fragile and needs to be treated with utmost care. Breaching the dignified lines harms spirituality and the essence of worship gets lost. He believes that moving away from traditions causes Ganesha’s spirit to exit the idol.
People have made a multi-million-dollar business out of art born from devotion, remarks Mururkar. The intense competition in the market has urged artists to resort to unscrupulous ways. To sustain the business, idol-makers switch to POP which is not eco-friendly, big on extravaganza and available at cheaper rates.As a conscious artist and mass-producer of idols, Durge has taken it upon himself to educate his customers. “When you venture out for idol shopping, it is natural to get captivated by studded idols draped in shimmery fabrics. The laws of photography state that our eyes are meant to be drawn towards the brightest spot in the room. But is it the most viable spot?” asks Durge.
People need to delve into authenticating the materiality more than the pomp and pageantry. Shimmer has its moment, but the simplicity of clay is eternal. As per Shastras, the idol should be made from shaadu mitti only, people need to relearn this, opines Durge. For worshipping idols inside homes, it is essential to switch to natural elements.
Ganesh Chaturthi has put the city of Mumbai in a festive mood. several celebrities have been visiting the city's famous Lalbaugcha Raja to seek blessings. On Friday, actor Sunny Leone and her husband Daniel Weber were seen visiting Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal to seek blessing from Lord Ganpati. The couple looked stunning wearing traditional attires. Sunny wore a lovely suit with a dupatta over her head, while Daniel opted for a kurta.
Earlier, she took to her Instagram handle to share Ganesh Chaturthi's wishes for her fans. She shared an adorable family pic and wrote in the caption, "Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!! May Lord Ganesha bless us all with good health and happiness. Love the Webers!! @dirrty99 Asher, Nisha, & Noah".
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On the work front, Sunny has been part of several movies including 'Jism 2', 'Jackpot', 'Shootout at Wadala', 'Ragini MMS 2', among others. Recently, she was seen in 'Kennedy', helmed by Kashyap, it also stars Rahul Bhat and Abhilash Thapliyal in the lead roles. The film revolves around an insomniac ex-policeman, long thought to be dead, but still operating for the corrupt system, and looking for redemption.
A while later, Shilpa Shetty was also seen visiting the famous mandal with her mother, Sunanda Shetty. The actress' film'Sukhee' also hit the theatres today. On Thursday, the actress hosted a special screening of the film for members of the film industry. Rekha, Kartik Aaryan, Govinda, Pooja Hegde, and many others were seen at the movie screening.
On Friday afternoon, actress Pooja Hegde was also seen arriving at Lalbaugcha Raja for blessings. She was seen dressed in a bright orange anarkali suit with a pink duppatta.
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Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day festival that starts on the fourth day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month 'Bhadrapada', started on September 19 this year. This auspicious 10-day festival starts with 'Chaturthi' and will end on 'Anantha Chaturdashi'. It is celebrated with much fanfare in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra with lakhs of devotees converging into mandals to seek blessing from Lord Ganesh.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde joined forces with approximately 100 women functionaries from the Shiv Sena's women's wing in Thane, Navi Mumbai, and Mumbai and performed a special aarti celebrating the passage of Women's Reservation Bill in the Indian Parliament. They invoked Lord Ganesha's blessings to mark the historic achievement.
The women functionaries used this occasion to express their deep appreciation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their instrumental roles in steering the women's reservation bill through Parliament. The bill, known as the 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam,' aims to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and state assemblies for women. It achieved unanimous approval in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), with all 214 Members of Parliament present casting their votes in favour.
The event at Shinde's residence was attended by several prominent figures, including party leader Vikas Repale, party spokesperson Shital Mhatre, and Meenakshi Shinde, the Thane district women's wing coordinator and former mayor.
CM Shinde shared photos and videos from the do and wrote, "Parliament yesterday passed the Women's Dignity Nari Shakti Vandan Bill by a majority. On this occasion, a special aarti was performed on behalf of Shiv Sena Mahila Aghadi to Ganapati Bappa who was seated at Varsha. Women officials of Shiv Sena's women's front participated in this aarti. We offered our gratitude to Ganapati Bappa through the aarti and it was extended to the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and Home Minister Amit Shah who made special efforts to make this dream a reality."
संसदेत काल महिलांना त्यांचा सन्मान मिळवून देणारे #नारी_शक्ती_वंदन विधेयक बहुमताने मंजूर झाले. यानिमित्ताने #शिवसेना महिला आघाडीच्या वतीने वर्षा निवासस्थानी विराजमान झालेल्या गणपती बाप्पाची विशेष आरती करण्यात आली. या आरतीत शिवसेनेच्या महिला आघाडीच्या महिला पदाधिकारी सहभागी… pic.twitter.com/A2TCiTSDW7
— Eknath Shinde - एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) September 22, 2023
"At this time Mrs Vrushali Srikant Shinde, Shiv Sena Spokesperson Mrs Sheetal Mhatre, Thane District Mahila Aghadi Sanghatika Mrs Meenakshi Shinde, former corporator Vikas Repale and the majority of women office bearers from Shiv Sena's Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai divisions were present," CM Shinde further wrote.
The passage of the women's reservation bill represents a pivotal moment in Indian politics, as it endeavours to provide greater representation and participation for women in legislative bodies. The unanimous approval in the Rajya Sabha showcases bipartisan support for this crucial initiative, highlighting the shared vision for gender equality and women's empowerment.
It's that time of the year when all you want to do is gorge on delicious food for Ganeshotsav. However, over the the years, many people have become very health conscious about the way they consume sweets. While others may wonder what all the fuss is about, even city chefs say health matters and have been adding healthy twists to traditional sweets.
They not only make unique varities of modaks with oats and nachani but also make laddoos with raw turmeric, dry nuts and wheat; last but not the least, they even make kheer out of avocado.
Here are some recipes to keep you busy during this time of the year:
Oats and Nachani modak
Have you always loved modaks but want to eat healthy? Chef Ashutosh Balodhi from The Dukes Retreat in Lonavala says you can easily do that this Ganeshotsav by making a modak with oats, nachani, coconut and jaggery. He explains, "During festivals, the joy of food knows no bounds, but it is essential to strike a balance. As a chef, I believe in celebrating the flavours of tradition while also embracing the gift of good health. Let us savour the sweetness of life, but remember to keep our sugar intake in check with this version of the modak, ensuring that every bite remains a delightful and wholesome experience."
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Oats 125 gm
Nachani atta 30 gm
Grated coconut 200 gm
Jaggery 100 gm
Cardamom powder a pinch
Ghee 40 gm
Dry fruits 25 gm
1. First roast the oats in slow flame for 2-3 minutes or until it turns slightly golden brown. Remove from flame let it cool completely and make a powder.
2. For filling in same pan heat 20gm ghee, roast dry fruits, add the grated coconut, cardamom powder and jaggery, cook until golden brown and let the mixture cool.
3. Now make a tight dough with the powdered oats and nachani atta using warm water.
4. Grease a modak mould with ghee, make small balls of the dough and press it into the mould then add the filling in the center and shape.
5. Steam the modak for about 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Serve hot with melted ghee on top.
You may have eaten all kinds of kheer over the years with all their richness, but it's often difficult to imagine one that is healthy. Chef Binod Kumar at Four Points By Sheraton in Navi Mumbai's Vashi suggests making a healthy avocado kheer during this time of the year to honour the festival while dishing out alternatives.
Avocado pulp 50 gm
Grated coconut 60 gm
Raw rice powder 60 gm
Jaggery 40 gm
1/4 cup boiled milk 120 ml
Water 80 ml
Ghee 20 ml
Cardamom powder 5 gm
Whole cashew nuts, broken 10gm
Raisins 10 gm
Garnish with gold or silver work
1. Soak jaggery in warm water (till immersing level) crush it well.
2. Then heat it up until it is slightly thick (no string consistency needs to be checked).Strain and keep aside.
3. Rinse rice well and soak in water for at least 30 minutes and set aside.
4. In a mixer, grind rice and coconut together with little water to a coarse paste.
5. Boil water, keep in low flame and add the coconut rice paste and let it cook in medium flame for 10 minutes.
6. Once the rice gets cooked soft and the mixture is in porridge consistency, add jaggery syrup.
7. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes, add well ripped avocado pulp and cardamom powder, and stir well.
8. Meanwhile in a tadka pan with ghee fry cashews and raisins.
9. First, add cashews once it starts to brown add raisins, let it bubble up then switch off.
10. Switch and let the payasam cool down for 10 minutes.
11. Then add milk and stir well.
12. Add ghee fried cashews and raisins, give a quick stir.
Raw Turmeric, Dry nuts and Wheat laddoo
If you don't want to make kheer from avocado, then Kumar says you can opt to make some laddoos from raw turmeric, dry nuts and wheat.
Fresh Raw turmeric 100 gm
Wheat flour 250 gm
Ghee 160 ml
Almonds 20 gm
Cashew nuts 20 gm
Walnuts 20 gm
Pistachios 20 gm
Melon seeds 50 gm
Jaggery 120 gm
Water 20 gm
Raisins 20 gm
Desiccated coconut 20 gm
Black pepper powder 10 gm
Cashew nuts for garnish 80 gm
1. Heat ghee in a pan and add grated raw turmeric. Cook until it reduces to 1/4th and the raw smell of turmeric goes off.
2. Heat a pan and dry roast the wheat flour, stair until golden colour then mix with turmeric paste
3. Heat ghee in another pan and fry almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, pistachios, and one by one set aside.
4. Dry roast melon seeds.
In a pan, melt jaggery in 1 tbsp water to make jaggery syrup.
5. Grind the roasted dry fruits into a coarse powder.
6. Grind the fox nuts separately and mix them into the dry fruit mixture.
7. Add the powder and raisins to the jaggery syrup and mix properly.
8. Add cooked raw turmeric mixture and mix well. Once the mixture cools slightly, add desiccated coconut, roasted melon seeds, black pepper powder and mix well.
9. Make round smooth laddoo and garnish with cashew nuts.
This time around, we don’t just welcome lord Ganesha into our homes. We also bring home the goddess Gauri. As per the Hindu legends, the goddess is the mother of lord Ganesha and also the wife of lord Shiva. Each year, many Maharashtrian families having different cultural backgrounds carry out Gauri puja in their own unique way. Ahead of Gauri celebrations, we speak to two families based in Mumbai who share with us how they celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Uma Dandekar (85), a resident of Andheri has been celebrating Ganpati and Gauri for decades. She has successfully carried forward her family’s tradition and passed it on to her daughter-in-law, Nandita Dandekar. She says, “Goddess Gauri is treated as a mahervashin (married woman who comes for a stay at her parent’s place to have a relaxed time.) In the ancient days, most women were married far off and visited their parents less often. This made their visit special. Married women were welcomed back home with love. Assorted dishes were prepared for them and complete rest and relaxation were ensured. Goddess Gauri signifies a married woman who is welcomed home after a long period of one year.”
At Dandekar’s residence, Gauri is brought home in the form of a plant named Terda which is considered to be pious. The plant is then tied together and dressed up as a goddess. It is wrapped in a beautiful saree and adorned with gold jewellery.
Elaborating on the rituals, Dandekar mentions, “We bring Gauri into the house only in the evening. She is held by the door by one of the married daughters of our family. The mother of the daughter then cleans her daughter’s feet, performs a small pooja at the door and then brings her in. Gauri is then given a tour of the entire house and her footprints are imprinted on the house’s floor and important items like cupboards and bedroom doors. After she is placed in the house, mostly in the hall room, we offer her simple food like bhakri, gud and laal math bhaji. She is then put to sleep. This signifies she gets good rest after an entire day of travel.”
At Dandekar’s residence, a special lunch is organised the next day that involves a variety of delicious dishes like puris, vada, any sweet dish, rice, and mutton. All family members relish this lunch. Goddess Gauri is a guest for one night and is immersed in the ocean the next day in the afternoon marking her return to her husband’s place. Dandekar says, “Our Ganpati visarjan also takes place on the same day along with Gauri visarjan. This signifies that the mother takes her son and returns to her husband.”
Following a similar tradition is Nayana Joshi (75), residing in Goregaon, who performs the Gauri pooja on seven stones brought from either the banks of any river or the sea coast. Joshi says, “There are around four forms in which Gauri is worshipped by people. According to our family’s tradition, we worship Gauri in the form of seven stones. A married woman in our family goes to collect these stones with water in her mouth. She is not allowed to speak till the time she comes back home with the stones. At the time of her entrance, we wash her feet with milk and water and welcome her into the house.”
Joshi and her family decorate the stones and perform pooja on them. Just like Dandekar, Joshi too, prepares a variety of dishes however they don’t include meat in their naivedya platter. Their platter includes sweet dishes like Ghavan Ghalta, Kheer Puran and 16 varieties of vegetables.
The whole process right from bringing goddess Gauri home to her immersion is extremely fun, says Joshi. “We all ladies get together and have a gala time.” During this festival, all women, married and unmarried, visit each other’s homes to worship the goddess. Not only this, in most parts of Maharashtra, women also stay up late in the night and play games called Mangla Gaur which mainly involves two games, Jhimma and Phugadi. Women dress up in beautiful sarees, wear gold ornaments and spend a joyous time together. Also Read: How women of Mumbai’s dhol tasha groups are playing dhols in style
Famous Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal in the financial capital of India, Mumbai, received donations of over Rs one crore in two days of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The festival began on September 19 this year.
ANI reported that the Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal received donations worth over sixty lakh on the second day of the festival. According to the Mandal, it received over 60,62,000 on the second day taking the total to over 1,02,62,000 in two days of the festival.
Lord Ganpati idol has also received an offering of 183.480 grams of gold and 622 grams of silver as a donation. Compared to the first day, the second day received more donations in cash.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sudhir Salvi, the Secretary of Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal lauded industrialist Mukesh Ambani's youngest son Anant Ambani for his support towards the Lalbaug committee's activities.
“Today the dialysis centre of Lalbaugcha Raja is getting started, it has 24 machines which were given by Anant Ambani and along with that we have a blood donation camp as well to help every patient. There is a lot of support from Anant Ambani,” he said.
The history of the Lalbaugcha Raja is quite famous as it is the popular Ganesh idol of Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, located at Putlabai Chawl, a place of worship founded in 1934.
Also read: Maharashtra govt suspends women empowerment scheme within 24 hours of announcement
The Lalbaugcha Raja Ganapati idol has been taken care of by the Kambli family for over eight decades.
Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day festival that starts on the fourth day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month 'Bhadrapada', started on September 19 this year. This auspicious 10-day festival starts with 'Chaturthi' and will end on 'Anantha Chaturdashi'.
Also read: Maharashtra: ‘Farmers are dying, when will govt declare drought?’
It is celebrated with much fanfare in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra with lakhs of devotees converging into mandals to seek blessing from Lord Ganesh.
For the festivities, people bring Lord Ganesh idols to their homes, observe fasts, prepare mouth-watering delicacies, and visit pandals during the festival. (With inputs from agencies)
Every year, Ganeshotsav is celebrated with full festive fervour and with food being an important part of every festival in India, this one is no different. While modaks, being a favourite of Lord Ganesha, are really popular, halwa, shrikhand and kheer are not far behind and loved by all. As most of us have grown up eating them, we may often want to try out new variations, and that is why mid-day.com reached out to Indian chefs from all over Mumbai and India to share their innovations with these traditional dishes. For others, who worry about gaining weight, there are a lot of alternative options that chefs believe shouldn’t stop you from celebrating and worshipping Lord Ganesha.
With their experimentations in full swing, these chefs have not only shared recipes for chocolate modaks but have also added coconut to it, and even encased rabri in lavender and saffron to serve with it. They have even taken the liberty of converting rabdi into a mousse, to serve it with gulab jamuns, with a helping of saffron gel. In fact, why stick to modaks? They encourage you to eat more than one bowl of plain shrikhand, by making a trio in the form of bite-sized tarts. While these are all rich and indulgent, we also have another healthy version of a halwa, and that means everybody can enjoy and revel in the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi this year.
Chocolate Coconut ModakKeeping the love for the classic modak in mind, chef Amandeep Singh, executive sous chef at The Westin Mumbai Garden City elevates the traditional modak by not only giving it a twist with chocolate but also adds some coconut to it. He shares, "The chocolate not only enhances the flavour but also adds a delightful surprise to every bite. The blend of chocolate and coconut creates a harmonious balance of sweet and nutty flavours, making these chocolate coconut modaks a perfect fusion for your Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations." Ingredients:Desiccated coconut 1 cupSweetened condensed milk 1/2 cupSemi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cupCardamom powder 1/2 tspGhee (clarified butter) 1 tbspA pinch of saltModak moulds or your hands to shape the modaks
Method:1. Heat a non-stick pan over low heat. Add the ghee and let it melt.2. Add the desiccated coconut to the pan and roast it for a few minutes until it turns slightly golden and aromatic.3. Now, add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan.4. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or using a double boiler until smooth.6. Divide the coconut mixture into two portions. Mix one portion with melted chocolate and the other portion with cardamom powder.7. Grease your modak moulds or hands with a little ghee.8. Take a small portion of the chocolate-coconut mixture and press it into one side of the mould, making sure to create a hollow center.9. Fill the hollow centre with the cardamom-coconut mixture.10. Seal the modak by pressing both halves of the mould together firmly. If you're shaping them by hand, use your fingers to create a modak shape.11. Repeat this process for the remaining mixture.12. Allow the modaks to cool and set for a few hours.
Lavender and Saffron Rabri encased, perched atop with nutty chocolate modakIsn't it impossible to imagine Ganesh Chaturthi without modaks? If you want to innovative with the classic modak, then just like Singh, chef Paul Noronha, who is the executive chef at ITC Grand Central says you should definitely elevate the much-loved sweet. The chocolate-flavoured modak combines perfectly well with the rabdi that is encased in lavender and saffron, producing flavours that will leave you delighted with every bite. He explains, "With the continuously evolving taste and demands of the guests, we feel such innovation works wonders. Desserts provide a sense of comfort, playfulness and fun. These flavours evoke positive memories. Traditional flavours are continuously being challenged by the younger generation with a broader definition of desserts." Ingredients:
For rabdi encasing:Full fat milk 1 litreSugar 150 gmLavender flowerSaffronAgar agar Chocolate modak:Marzipan 100 gmCocoa powder 100 gmRoasted nuts as per choice Saffron glazeCondense Milk 200 mlWhite chocolate 300 gmSugar 150 gmWater 150 mlAgar agar 7 gmGlucose 300 gm Method: Rabdi:1. Take 1 litre full fat milk.2. Add sugar into it.3. Reduce the milk to 250 ml until it thickens.4. Keep it aside. Rabdi encasing:1. When the rabdi is warm, add agar agar and slowly cook further.2. Divide it into two portions.3. In one portion, mix lavender flowers and saffron in the other portion.4. Pour both the portion in a mould and let it set for 30-40 minutes. Saffron glaze1. In a pan, take condense milk.2. Add sugar, water and glucose and cook together.3. Add agar agar and take it of the flame and add saffron into it. Nutty chocolate modak:1. In the marzipan, add cocoa powder.2. Mix it well and add nuts of choice.3. Mould the mixture into a shape of a modak. Placement:1. Take the lavender rabdi encased and place saffron encased on top of it and let it set.2. Then pour the saffron glaze on to it and let it set.3. Place the nutty chocolate modak on top of it.4. Garnish with silver vrak and pistachio.
Trio Shrikhand TartsShrikhand is everybody’s favourite during this time of the year. While the traditional form is the best, chef Bhairav Singh, who is the executive chef at Native Bombay says you can indulge in not one but three versions of it with the Trio Shrikhand Tarts that is served at the city restaurant. He explains, “Shrikhand is native to Maharashtra where it is widely made during festivals due to its quick and easy recipe. The thought process highlights adding a touch of modernity accompanied by tantalising flavours of saffron, thandai, chocolate, which do not break the traditional taste. Another factor that adds to the creativity of this dish is that the major three elements - thandai, chocolate and khus, make a beautiful combination of colours which gives the dish an appealing presentation. Though we have used khus syrup here, one can make Shrikhand with any fresh berries or pulp owing to its versatility with no limits in terms of ingredients or flavours.” Khus Ki ShrikhandIngredients:Hung curd 200 gmCaster Sugar 50 gmCardamom Powder 1 tspKhus Syrup 50 ml Method:1. Beat the hung curd with caster sugar in a mixing bowl by the whisker and make a flowing consistency.2. Add khus syrup and cardamom powder, mix it properly and transfer to a bowl.3. Keep it in the refrigerator.
Thandai Shrikhand Ingredients:Hung Curd 200 gmCaster Sugar 50 gmCardamom Powder 1 tspThandai Paste 50 gmSaffron water 10 ml Method:1. Beat the hung curd with caster sugar in a mixing bowl by the whisker and make flowing consistency.2. Add thandai paste, saffron water and cardamom powder, mix it properly and transfer to a bowl.3. Keep it in the refrigerator. Chocolate Shrikhand Ingredients:Hung curd 200 gmCaster sugar 100 gmCardamom powder 1 tspChocolate syrup 50 ml Method:1. Beat the hung curd and caster sugar in a mixing bowl by the whisker and make a flowing consistency.2. Add chocolate syrup and cardamom powder, mix it properly and transfer to a bowl.3. Keep it in the refrigerator. For Tart: Ingredients:Refined flour 225 gmButter 150 gmIcing sugar 75 gmMilk 45 ml Method:1. Mix all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and make smooth dough.2. Open the dough through a rolling pin and make a little thick sheet.3. Cut the dough with a roundel mould and place into the tart mould and set with the fingertip.4. Bake all the tarts into a preheated oven at 160 degrees Centigrade for 20 minutes.5. Remove from the oven and cool down and demould the tart.6. Fill each tart with different flavours of shrikhand through a piping bag.7. Serve cold and garnish with chopped dry nuts. Gulab Jamun with Rabdi Mousse & Saffron GelLove eating Gulab Jamuns? Chef Jagdish Naidu at Ishaara in Mumbai says one can take this very love for the Indian sweet by putting on their chef's hat to add an elaborate touch to it. At the restaurant, they serve gulab jamun with rabdi mousse and saffron gel. The delicious combination of gulab jamuns, sugar syrup and the rabdi mousse with saffron gel, has a familiar sweetness with a touch of grand festivities. He shares, "A warm gulab jamun with a light cold rabdi is best thing to have during Ganesh Chaturthi." Ingredients: Gulab JamunKhoya 100 gmCardamom powder 1/2 tspBaking powder 1/4 tsp Milk 50 gmFlour 2 tbspGhee as needed for frying Sugar syrupSugar 1 1/2 cupWater 1 cupCardamom powder 1/2 tspLemon 1 no
Rabdi MousseMilk 100 gmCream 25 gmMilkmaid 20 gmCardamom 1 gmSaffron a pinch. Saffron GelWater 30 gmSugar 30 gmSaffron 1 gm Method: Gulab jamun1. In a mixing bowl, stir khoya, flour, cardamom powder and then baking powder together. Then pour milk little by little and make dough soft. Sugar syrup1. Mix all ingredients and bring it boil in a saucepan. Rabdi Mousse1. In a saucepan, add milk and cream bring it to boil then add milkmaid to it. At the end, add cardamom and saffron. Saffron Gel1. In a saucepan, add sugar, water and later add saffron. Gluten Free Atta Ka HalwaIf you are worried about eating rich food during the festive season, then chef Raveena Taurani, founder of city-based Yogisattva Cafe says one can enjoy the classic Indian halwa but with a gluten-free twist. Taurani also promises that she has kept the sugar in check with this recipe. She shares, "This halwa is a perfect option for Ganesh Chaturthi without the guilt of the excess sugar. The amount of sugar I have used is perfect for a serving among four people so you can enjoy the dish guilt-free. The idea is to indulge during the festive season but mindfully using clean, nutritious and wholesome ingredients.” Ingredients:Water 1 1/2 cupsSweetener of choice (Jaggery/coconut sugar/brown sugar) 180 gmGolden raisins 2 tbspSunflower oil 4 tbspSorghum flour 100 gmAlmonds, roughly chopped 2 tbspCardamom powder 1/2 tspGround pistachio for garnish Method:1. In a medium-sized pot add water, sweetener of choice, and raisins. Bring this mixture to a boil and gently simmer while prepping the remaining ingredients.2. In a separate heavy-bottomed pan, heat sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Add the flour and mix well.3. Cook for 7-8 minutes, mixing continuously to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.4. Add almonds and cardamom. Mix well.5. Keep stirring the mixture for another two minutes till it starts to pull away slightly from the sides of your pan. It will be aromatic.6. Turn your heat to high, and with the lid of the pan handy, very carefully pour your water mixture into the pot with the oil and flour mixture. Everything will initially steam and splash up, so be ready to cover it with a lid. As it calms down, keep mixing it well. Cook for another 5 minutes until your flour mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.7. Turn the heat off, put the lid on the pan and let your halwa sit for 5 - 10 minutes to settle.8. Garnish with ground pistachio, almonds and edible flowers and eat warm as a dessert. Makhana aur Badam ki kheerAt Araiya Palampur, chef Rinku Yadav, who is the culinary artisan at the property innovates with the classic kheer to make one by using makhana. He suggests keeping the Makhana aur Badam ki Kheer, also known as Fox nut and almond pudding, for prasadam too. He explains, "For Ganesh Chaturthi, we have our satvik menu with this vegan delight. We have incorporated almond milk and fox nuts with palm jaggery (natural sugar). The dish is sugar-free and gluten-free too." Ingredients:Almond milk 500 mlRaw Fox nut 50 gmCoconut oil 20 mlPalm jaggery 80 gmCardamom powder 2grmPistachio, chopped 10 gm for garnishVegan silver leaves 2 nos for garnish Method:1. Heat the almond milk in a thick-bottomed pan to reduce it to half of its quantity.2. Heat coconut oil and toast makhana or fox nuts in a skillet; powder one-third of the quantity and add it to the milk to cook and thicken to keep consistency; the rest is kept for garnish and topping the pudding.3. Add palm jaggery for sweetness on low flame (high flame may cause the curdling due tochemical changes), add more cardamom powder.4. To plate, we recommend the brassware for Indian cuisine.5. We garnish it with coconut toasted fox nuts, silver leaf fragments and pistachio.6. Serve warm to hot temperature depending on preferences. Also Read: Ganesh Chaturthi 2023: The ultimate Ganpati décor guide in Mumbai
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