Chikki has been giving me endless reminders about how I have not really contributed to our blog yet. So here goes. Today is Varalakshmi pujai and yes I refuse to say puja instead of pujai.
Festivals always remind me of associated edible goodies. Varalakshmi Vratham to me brings an image of my mom in her ‘madisaar’ standing over a frying pan making vadais while shooing me away so I would not touch her.
Coming back to the pujai itself, apart from decking the goddess in colorful finery and jewels, the array of dishes prepared as offering are vibrant as well. There are the pacharisi idlis – idlies made of raw rice instead of the usual parboiled rice, kozhkattais – rice dumplings stuffed with coconut and jaggery concoction, vadai – savory doughnut made of lentil batter, payasam – sweet pudding made of lentils and jaggery garnished with cashews and cardomom powder and maha neiveidhyam – plain rice and paruppu.
I did not go the whole nine yards though, restricted myself to making payasam and wearing a regular pattu podavai.
2 handfuls moong dhal
1 handful channa dhal
1 handful rice (broken in a mixer)
1 cup jaggery
1 cup milk
8-10 cardomom peeled, powdered
15 – 20 cashews, split and roasted in ghee
1 tsp ghee
Roast dhals and broken rice with ghee. Pour water enough to cover once roasted and let cook till dhals cook well. To this add jaggery and let cook on medium heat till well integrated. Turn off gas, add 1 cup boiling milk and stir in. Add powdered cardomom and garnish with roasted cashews. If end product looks too thick, dilute with warm milk.
Serve warm or chilled.