Summer has just arrived, and while we’re all eagerly awaiting those delicious mangoes, it’s also when people from different parts of India celebrate the festival of Ugadi. It marks the beginning of a New Year and the harvest season of spring, according to the Hindu calendar. In Sanskrit, `Yuga’ means age and `Adi’ means origin. H ence, the word Ugadi means the birth of a new age or period. Although the festival is referred to by different names in different parts of the country, many of the rituals and traditions are similar.
The nine-day long spring festival of Vasanta Navratri (Chaitra Navratri) begins on the day of Ugadi and ends on Ram Navami. A lesser known fact is that according to ancient mythology, at the time of the world’s creation, it is believed that the four Vedas that sprouted from Brahma’s mouth are responsible for creating the universe. Hence, this day is celebrated in the southern part of India as Ugadi. The story that ties Lord Brahma to this auspicious festival is an age-old legendary belief that one day of Lord Brahma’s life is equivalent to a year in our lives. Thus, it is considered that praying to Lord Brahma on this day brings good luck and fortune for the rest of the year.
People prepare for this festival well in advance, and the day starts by following the tradition of taking an oil bath. The reason for this is that people believe Goddess Lakshmi dwells in oil and the Goddess Ganga dwells in water on Ugadi. So by taking an oil bath, you receive the blessings of both these goddesses.
A Delicious Festival
As Ugadi is a harvest festival, foods play a significant role in its celebration. On this auspicious day people welcome the six tastes of life with a special dish known as the Ugadi Pachadi. This divine dish is a typical remainder of numerous facets of life, in that it combines six different tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, tangy, spicy, and sour. All these tastes represent different emotions in life. The jaggery symbolises happy moments, the neem flower represents the sad experiences, the unripe mangoes represent the surprise elements, red chilli powder signifies the angry moments, salt represents the simple pleasures, and along with the sour taste of tamarind makes our lives complete and diversified. Other traditional dishes prepared are Bobbatlu, Pulihora, Payasam, Dahi Vada, Rava Laddu, and Kesari. Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the traditional Ugadi delicacies, it’s time to share the festive spirit with our loved ones by indulging in some of these mouth-watering recipes presented by some lovely ladies. --- Akhila
Housewife Keerti Ramineni is fond of baking. For Keerti, Ugadi is a special time when her entire family joins together for celebrations that include wearing new clothes, decorating the house, offering prayers to the deities and, most importantly, preparing delicious festive dishes. She presents one of the main dishes every household makes for this festival, Ugadi Pachadi.
vepa puvvu/neem flower
- Soak tamarind in water and squeeze out the juice and keep it aside.
- To the tamarind juice, add mango, coconut pieces, salt, chilli powder, and jaggery. Mix well and add neem flower to this. It is ready to serve.
For housewife, Syamala Devi, Ugadi is a special time for family bonding, offering prayers, decorating the house, making and distributing Ugadi sweets. Here she presents one of her family’s favourite sweet dishes that she prepares at home on this auspicious occasion of Ugadi.
sooji/ Bombay rava
1/2 cup (grated)
1 ½ cup
- In a frying pan, add ghee and roast cashews and raisins until they turn golden brown. Keep this aside.
- Now in the same pan, ghee roast the rava/ sooji until it turns golden brown. To this, add elaichi powder, grated coconut, roasted cashews, sugar, and raisins and further roast for a minute.
- Now take another vessel and boil the milk. Keep this aside.
- Now, little by little, add milk to the rava mixture and make small round shaped balls. Before serving, garnish with cashews and raisins.
Belonging to a traditional Telugu family, Swarupa Rani feels that Ugadi is all about rituals and traditions. She and her family celebrate this festival by first offering prayers to the divine deities, followed by indulging in preparation of Ugadi Pachadi and other festive delicacies. Here she shares the recipe of one of her favourite dishes --- Payasam.
as per taste
- Boil milk and set it aside.
- Take a pan and add some ghee. To this, add seviya and fry until it turns golden brown.
- Add seviya to the milk and keep stirring on a low flame until it becomes soft. Then add sugar and mix well.
- In another pan, add ghee and fry the cashews and raisins till they turn golden brown.
- Add cashews and raisins to the seviya mixture and mix well.
- Serve with a hot garnish of cashews and raisins.
Palkonda Swarna Latha Reddy
Palkonda Swarna Latha Reddy celebrates Ugadi by decorating her house beautifully and seeking the divine blessings of god. She loves to spend the day with her husband and children, and indulges in preparing festive delicacies. The traditional rice dish, Pulihora, is a regular feature for her during Ugadi.
- Cook the rice, and then set it aside and allow it to cool slightly. Meanwhile, grate the raw mangoes.
- Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame, then add mustard and cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add the Bengal gram, black gram, and peanuts. Make sure the heat is on a low flame.
- Roast all the spices till they turn golden brown. Add dry red chillies, green chillies, and curry leaves. Fry them for about 15 seconds.
- Add grated mangoes, turmeric powder, and salt. Stir well and cook it until the mangoes are tender and cooked well.
- The next step is to add hing and cooked rice. Mix all the ingredients gently until the rice absorbs all the flavours and turns yellow.
- Before serving, garnish the dish with coriander leaves and cashew nuts.
Lavanya Jagarlamudi comes from a traditional South Indian family, and the festival of Ugadi holds a poignant significance for her, as it is the occasion of the Telugu New Year. The day starts for her with the decoration of her house and performing puja. Lavanya and her family spend the rest of the day eating some of the dishes prepared on Ugadi. She shares the recipe of one of the popular Ugadi sweet dishes, Boondi Laddu.
- Boil sugar by adding one glass of water on a medium flame until it thickens a little. Remove from flame and keep it aside. Prepare a smooth batter with the gram flour by adding water. Take a deep cooking pan and add oil. Then fry cashew and raisins. Set them aside.
- Check the consistency of the gram flour batter by frying a few boondis. If they become flat, then the batter is too thin; in this case, add a bit of gram flour and check by frying a few boondis again. On the other hand, if they get tail ends, the batter is thick; then, add more water and check by frying a few boondis. Once the correct consistency is achieved, proceed by frying all the boondis. Set them aside.
- It is important to make sure that the boondis do not become crisp because then they will not be soft and won’t absorb the sugar syrup.
- Making the Boondi Laddu:
- Strain the fried boondis well with a slotted spoon and then add them directly to the hot sugar syrup. Add the edible camphor, elaichi powder, fried cashews, and raisins and mix thoroughly. The last step is to grease your palms using some ghee and take the boondi mixture and make round shaped laddus.
For housewife Shruti Kurra, Ugadi is the most exciting festival of the year and a great opportunity to bond with loved ones. Apart from spending time with near and dear ones, it is also about indulging in traditional mouth-watering delicacies. Here she shares the recipe for one of her favourite Indian sweet dishes – Rava Kesari.
- Heat 2 tbsp of ghee and roast cashews and raisins until they turn golden brown. Set aside.
- In the same pan, ghee roast the rava on low flame for about 5 minutes. Set aside and allow it to cool.
- In a large deep cooking pot, boil 1 cup of water. Add food colour or saffron water to the boiled water.
- Add roasted Bombay rava to the boiled water. Keep the flame on low. Stir continuously till the rava absorbs water, making sure there are no lumps.
- Add sugar to the mixture. Stir well on low flame until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Now add ghee and stir continuously so that no lumps form.
- Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the rava gets cooked completely.
- Before serving the dish, garnish with raisins, cashews, and cardamom powder.
Shoba Rani is an excellent cook and loves to travel when she finds time. She has visited over 60 countries including Croatia, Mongolia, Estonia and Egypt. She was born and brought up in a traditional South Indian family, and for she and her family, Ugadi is about enjoying tasty traditional homemade delicacies and performing age-old rituals. Shoba shares the recipe of her favourite dish.
- Soak urad dal for 8 hours, then drain the water and grind urad dal into a fine paste by sprinkling very little water.
- Add salt to the paste and whisk till it becomes fluffy. Then take a deep cooking pot and heat oil for deep frying. Put the flame on medium.
- Wet your palms with water and take a lime-sized ball of batter and flatten it into a round shape on a greased banana leaf. Remember to make a hole in the centre of the vadas.
- Gently slide the vadas into the hot oil and fry until they turn golden. Then place the vadas in a bowl of water
- and let them soak for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat
- 2 tsp of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add cumin seeds, red chillies, green chillies, sliced onions, and curry leaves. Stir fry for
- 2 minutes and switch the flame off.
- Whisk the yogurt with 3/4 cup of water and add salt, pouring the tempering over the yogurt and mix well. Set aside. Remove the vadas from the water and set on a serving dish. Pour the yogurt mixture over the vadas. Finally, serve with chilled garnish by adding grated carrots and finely chopped coriander.
- Shoba mentioned that along with Perugu Vada, her family is also fond of Prasadam Boorelu during Ugadi. It includes ingredients such as urad dal, jaggery, rice and Bombay rava.
Born and brought up in Dharwad, North Karnataka, Poornima Jyoti is a fashion designer and housewife. She hails from a Kannadigan family, and for her, Ugadi is all about celebrating with family and friends. Being a food lover, Poornima has shared the recipe of a traditional sweet dish that she makes at home on the auspicious occasion.
For the dough:
- Prepare the dough using maida and water, along with the turmeric, salt and oil. Make sure the dough is soft enough and sprinkle some more oil on top. Keep the dough aside and cover for 2 hours. In a cooker, add chana dal along with 3 cups of water and cook for 3 whistles. Once it is done, strain the dal and add jaggery and cook it further until the jaggery dissolves and becomes dry. Let mixture cool for 5-7 minutes.
- Grind the dal and jaggery mixture into a fine and thick paste. Let the mixture cool down, then add some elaichi powder and make small balls out of this mixture.
- Take the dough and, using your thumb form a disc shape, then take a small ball of the dal and jaggery mixture (stuffing) and place it in the centre of the dough, bringing all the ends of the dough together and sealing them well. Gently roll it out using a rolling pin. Make sure the stuffing does not come out (use oil if needed while rolling it).
- Heat some oil in a pan on medium flame. Place the Bobbatlu on the pan and cook on both sides. Once it turns light brown, place it in a serving dish and serve with a generous amount of ghee.
- Poornima also mentioned that moong dal salad is another popular dish in Karnataka, and is known as Kosambari. This dish is eaten before or after eating the Bobbatlu.