When I got married, and moved to the US as a new bride, my mom insisted that no matter where I am, there a few pandikai (festivals in tamil) that I should never miss. She staunchly believed that by celebrating these festivals, we carry forward our tradition and culture. Living in a faraway land, I guess that is the best way to preserve your identity and also teach / pass it on to the next generation. Even though, I don’t go the whole nine yards, I try to stick to the tradition as much as possible. To think that a few years ago, if someone said that I would be following all these traditions, I would have scoffed at them. But now, I never fail to celebrate Pongal, Karadaiyar Nombu, Gokulastami, Vinayagar Chathurthi etc. I guess age & experience can really change one 🙂
Every year, I never fail to make Uppu seedai and Vella seedai on Krishna Jayanthi. The seedais along with the fresh butter make the neivedyam for Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna, as we all know, was born in the night and so the pooja is usually performed in the evenings. I remember as kids, we (my brother & I) used to assist my mom in making the uppu (salty) seedai balls. She also used to make kai murukku, thattai, vella (jaggery) seedai among other things. My mom would fast the whole day, make all the goodies for neivedyam. Also she would decorate the house with beautiful kolams based on rice flour batter. It is believed that Lord Krishna comes to everyone’s house that day and so little feet of the Lord were drawn to, using the fist. I will post a picture / video blog of this some day, was a pretty interesting site to watch as a kid. My dad would perform the elaborate pooja in the evening, and we would just wait for the pooja to complete so that we can feast on the goodies.
Now, I realize how difficult it is to make all these on a single day, even it is not a working day, as it was today 🙂 As usual, I just confined myself to making the 2 varieties of seedai. This is my entry for the SriJayanthi Event hosted by Latha Aunty. For both these varieties, you need rice flour and urad dhal flour and the ratio of the flours is 2:1/4. I first dry roast both flours and spread them on a newspaper or tray to cool them down.
Make the dough using 2 cups of roasted rice flour, 1/4 cup of roasted urad dhal flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sesame seeds, a handful of pre-soaked channa dhal (red gram), 1 tbsp butter, about a tsp of cumin & black pepper powder and a pinch of asafoetida. The dough consistency should be similar to chappathi dough. Make really small balls (1/4″ radius) and deep-fry in oil, till they turn golden brown.
Mix 2 cups of jaggery in 2 cups of water and cook it till soft-ball consistency. To determine soft-ball consistency, add a drop of the jaggery syrup in a cup of water – it should form a soft ball and disintegrate when you touch it. At this stage, turn the gas off and add 2 cups of roasted rice flour, 1/4 cup of roasted urad dhal flour, cardamom powder, 1 tsp sesame seeds. Mix this into a nice dough and let it cool. Then, make about 1/2″ radius seedai balls using this dough and deep-fry in oil, till they look crispy and brown. Extra care and patience is needed when the dough is prepared for vella seedai as otherwise the seedai will disintegrate in the oil.
Happy Gokulastami and may Lord Krishna shower his blessings on all of us!