Monday, March 11, 2013
Sunday was Maha Shivratri--a day dedicated to Lord Shiva.This day holds and has held a special place in my heart--the raw Energy that Lord Shiva projects is at odds with His Ascetic Image--yet a more easy God to appease is difficult to find.Also called "Bholenath" for his Simplicity and "Neelkanth" or the Blue Throated One--a result of the deadly Poison He drank and held in His Throat during the churning of the Ocean actually are both facets of His mesmerising personality.And believe me mesmerising is the only word that can describe him most aptly.
In my childhood Maha Shiv Ratri Festival used to be fun.There would be a variety of "Sattvik" or pure Food to gorge on--cooked only in Clarified Butter and without any Spices or Onion or Garlic---deliciously satisfying!!Even Sea Salt was never used--instead a certain Salt called "Sendhav" was used to cook the Food.To be honest this Festival is one of the most important religious events of the year.That day a late Lunch would be served--the Table literally groaning under the variety of the dishes cooked.There would be Peanut Curry,Amaranth Grain cooked with Green Chillies and Ghee,boiled Potato Curry cooked with Peanuts,Pancakes cooked with Water Chestnut and Amaranth Flour,a Savoury Sago Dish and deep fried Sago-Potato Patties all served with plenty of Buttermilk.For us kids it was a welcome break from the daily Food--something exotically mouthwatering but reassuringly Indian!!How much effort really went into it was something I realised only after I got married--a result of which was that during earlier years I preferred eating only Fruits and drinking about a 1 litre of Milk that day!!
However all this came to a stop once it was discovered that I was diabetic.Sudhir gave me a choice--either I ate something prescribed by our Saints and Seers--or I didn't fast at all!!I chose the former--and began cooking a few things I remembered from my childhood.My favourite was steamed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes as well as Indian Yams--both Purple and White--served with a garnish of Green Chillies,Sendhav Salt and Lime Juice.Also I chose to drink both Milk and Buttermilk during the 24 hours I fasted.Yesterday it was for the first time in years that I cooked a few of my childhood favourites--Sago savoury called "Khichadi" and a Stuffed Banana Dish---Sweet golden "Rajaali" Bananas from Vasai stuffed with a stuffing made with roasted Fresh,grated Coconut,Jaggery,Green Chillies,roasted crushed Peanuts and Lime Juice and then baked at 200 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes till brown--simply deliciously yummmmm!!There was also a savoury made from shredded Sweet Potatoes and our favourite Boiled Potato Curry cooked by Mikki--and after consuming small portions of all that I had to admit--I AM getting old for i could barely put away a fraction of what I'd have loved to eat earlier!!