Janmashtami is a grand festival celebrated all over India to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, who is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Janmashtami is the day Bal Krishna is worshiped or Krishna in his infant form is worshiped. A naughty baby who would exasperate his mother no end, Krishna has been a charmer since childhood and is known to win the hearts of everyone he meets.
Each region or state celebrates the festival differently. Example: In the state of Maharashtra dahi handi is played and is very popular. Whereas in some parts of North India, devotees show images of Krishna’s childhood which are placed in swings and cradles outside their homes. In North India many Hindus keep fast on this day. Fruits, dairy products and only some vegetables and herbs are eaten during the fasting period. We use edible rock salt (sendha namak) instead of normal salt. Kindly follow your family’s rules on the ingredients like spices, herbs, oil, etc. you include in your fast.
On this day, there are a few signature preparations that are offered to Lord Krishna, keeping his love for milk and milk products in mind. Interestingly, these recipes have been proven to be good for the human body as they keep the gut at ease after the full day fasting. Sweet is the first thing preferred while fasting as it helps control hunger. Below is our selection of sweets to offer Krishna as well as other surprisingly easy-to-make savory recipes to satisfy your hunger.
1. SHRIKHAND is a magical transformation of simple curds into a delicacy, by a simple procedure. It involves no cooking and is a standard feature of Sunday meals. This traditional Maharashtrian dessert is made from super thick and creamy hung curd, powdered sugar, saffron, elaichi and a bit of milk.
2. DHANIYA PANJIRI: Roast the ½ cup of fresh coarsely ground coriander powder in 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. Let it cool down, then mix in ¼ cup powdered sugar, chopped almonds, cashews, and raisins. Many like to add desiccated coconut too.
3. PIYUSH faraal keeps you full for quite some time, as it is made with sumptuous ingredients like shrikhand and fresh buttermilk. To make piyush, combine shrikhand, unsalted buttermilk, sugar, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder in a deep bowl and whisk well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Pour the drink in a glass and serve chilled garnished with pistachios and saffron.
4. MISHARI MAKHAN is one of his most favorite. Makhan (white butter) is made by whipping the malai (cream) till butter is separated. The buttermilk is drained. Mishri is mixed with makhan. Mishri is called rock candy in English.
5. MAKHANE KI KHEER: Made with milk, dry fruits, and makhana, this delicious festive dessert dish has a rich taste of cardamom and saffron. Considered filling and lip-smacking, this sweet dish is offered to Lord Krishna as a part of ‘Chaapan Bhog’ at the midnight celebration of Janmashtami. Roast makhana and cashews in ghee till the makhanas become crunchy and cashews get golden. Heat whole milk in a saucepan on medium-low to medium heat. Stir at intervals so that the milk does not scorch from bottom. Reserve ⅓ cup of the roasted makhana and blend the remaining to a fine powder. Add cardamom seeds from 4 green cardamom pods along with a pinch of saffron strands.
When the milk comes to a boil, add sugar, powdered makhana, and the reserved ⅓ cup makhana. Mix very well. Simmer till the makhane softens and the milk thickens a bit; about 9 to 10 minutes on a low to medium heat. Scrape the evaporated milk solids from the sides of the pan and add to the milk. Lastly add the golden cashews and raisins. Stir and simmer the kheer for a minute and serve it hot or cold. Leftover kheer can be refrigerated.
6. Creamy and nutty NUTS AND KHOYA LADOO is very easy-to-make and involves no cooking. Combine crumbled mawa (khoya), paneer, powdered sugar, and cardamom powder in a deep bowl, mix well and knead into a soft dough. Divide the mixture into equal portions and roll into round balls. Roll each ladoo in coarsely crushed mixed nuts till they are evenly coated from all sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve immediately. Chilling the ladoos is very important because it makes them nice and firm.
7. DRY FRUITS LADOO is an easy-to-make, nutritious recipe of energy balls that are healthy and tasty. This ladoo is made without any added sugar or jaggery, ghee or oil, is naturally vegan and comes together in under 20 minutes. Packed with nutrients, good fats and fiber, these energy balls are made with dates, figs and various nuts. Firstly begin to roast 3 tablespoons of almonds in a pan on a low heat and set them aside. Roughly chop some dates such that it measures 1 cup and 8 dried figs. In a blender add the dates, figs, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 tablespoons cashews, 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut, and cardamom powder. Add the roasted almonds as well and grind to a coarse mixture. Make small balls with your hands and the dry fruits ladoos are ready!
8. The Janmashtami fasting menu is incomplete without the pious drink made with MILK AND HONEY. Regarded as a symbol of purity, it is offered to Lord Krishna and then distributed among devotees.
9. GOPALKALA, popularly known as ‘food of the poor’, this simple dish is made with beaten rice, cucumber, coconut, curd, ghee, sugar and roasted cumin seeds. After mixing all the ingredients, they are shaped in the form of laddoo and are offered to Lord Krishna during midnight rituals.
10. Regarded as a healthy snack dish, SABUDANA KHICHDI is full of carbohydrates that give you instant energy after the completion of fast. This light dish is made with soaked sabudana, green chili, peanuts, sendha namak, tomato, and ghee. Soak the sabudana in ¾ cup of water in a deep bowl for 2 hours. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add potatoes, sabudana, rock salt, peanuts, coriander, green chillies, curry leaves, lemon juice and sugar. Mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, then serve the khichdi hot.
11. MAKHANA NAMKEEN is a healthy snack recipe made by roasting phool makhana aka fox nuts. Roasted nuts and dry fruits are added to make it more nutritious. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add phool makhana. Roast it with stirring constantly till they become crispy and you notice a very light brown color. Remove it to a bowl. In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon of ghee, cashews, and almonds. Roast them with stirring constantly till they get light brown and toasted. Add to the same bowl with makhana. Also roast coconut slices in the same pan without any ghee for a few minutes, add it to the same bowl. Now while everything is still warm, add salt, pepper, sugar and amchur powder. Mix well, so everything is coated well to the makhana and nuts. Let it cool down completely.
12. SHAKARKANDI CHAAT: First boil the sweet potato in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Let the pressure go down by itself then open the lid. Peel the skin and cut into small cubes. Take cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl, add salt, pepper powder, red chili powder and roasted cumin powder. Squeeze fresh lemon juice in it and mix well so everything is coated well to the shakarkand pieces. Remove it to a serving bowl, serve lemon wedge on side.
13. SAMA PULAO combines a unique, earthy flavor of barnyard millet with the aroma and flavor of whole spices and coriander. This wholesome pulao is a good health option during fasting days and also makes a gluten-free diet. You can have them plain or with vrat ki kadhi or with plain curd.
To make the sama pulao, soak sama millet in enough water for 10-15 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoon ghee in a pan, add cumin, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms, and whole black pepper. Saute till the oil becomes fragrant and cumin crackles. Add green chilies, curry leaves, chopped coriander leaves and saute for half a minute on low flame. Add 2 medium-sized, cubed potatoes, cook on a low flame for 3-4 minutes. Next, add roasted peanuts powder and mix well. Drain the millet and add them to the sauteed mixture. Add water and rock salt as required. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Serve the pulao garnished with dry fruits and coriander leaves; you can also sprinkle some lemon juice.
Shop the ingredients at edobo and celebrate Janmashtami the tasty and nutritious way with these easy-to-make recipes.
Happy Janmashtami! Happy Cooking!!