Lord Krishna’s Birthday is celebrated by Hindus all over the world! In
North India this day is called as Janmashtami. In
South India, the Iyers call this festival as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami and the Iyengars celebrate as Srijayanthi or Krishna Jayanthi.
Reading Lord Krishna’s stories in the Bhagawatham is a sheer joy. His pranks, his divinie manifestations, his play foolery are all filled with wonder. In fact I would go to the extent of saying that no other God in the Hindu pantheon has so much romanticism involved with him. Having said all that, what best way to celebrate the birth of his greatness than to cook for him, offer him our salutations and eat in his divine remembrance?
In South Indian households, it is a practice of drawing little krishna’s foot marks using rice flour from the entrance to the place where the lord is arranged. This symbolizes the entry of
Krishna to our home.
A lot of dishes made on Krishna Jayanthi are with milk and milk products, because this child-god is looked up to as a lover of milk. Don’t we all know the stories of how he stole butter? And of course we bring you a whole lot of snacks and savories to go with it on this day.
Seedai is what comes to my mind – those tiny cricket balls, my friend used to call them. Crispy, salty and golden in color, reminds me quite of Lord Krishna.
Vella Seedai, (jaggery flavored seedai) is another sweet snack. It looks like the seedai but is sweet to taste, because of jaggery. This is yet another delicacy of Krishnaashthami. It is said
Krishna loves both the kinds of seedais.
Seedai and Thatthai go together. Thatthai is yet another salty and crispy snack, made just like Seedai, but instead of crispy balls, you have flattened crispy disc shaped savories. It is a rage with kids.
Navaneetham, they say is adored by the Balakrishna or baby
Krishna. In it’s unflavored form it is plain butter mixed with sugar. Which child would not love this concoction? If you have a child at home, do not forget to offer him/her this. It symbolizes
Krishna tasting the sweets prepared in your home.
Bhog ki kheer is especially famous in
Northern India and is served with puris. It is rice cooked in milk and cream, and then added with sugar and flavors. You could call it a small variation of the South Indian Payasam.
Yet a totally different recipe is the Dahi Undi. Mix boiled rice with curd, add salt and make it spicy enough with chillis and other spices. Check out the recipe here. The North Indians claim that
Krishna absolutely loved these curd rice balls. Who knows? The recipe is definitely mouth drooling.
Gopalka is a wonderful dish made of beaten rice. It is said
Krishna loved this when prepared by his friends’ families.
I am sure the Lord would have loved Aloo Shak and Puri. And which child does not love potatoes?
Singhare ki poori is yet another delicious snack which kids and adults would love alike.
Home made peda is heavenly. Milk sweets are prepared in abundance on Krishna Jayanthi. And peda made from fresh Khoya is utterly divine. Cashew nut barfi is yet another easy to prepare delicacy made especially on this day.
Sweet Aval or Poha made from flattened rice, jaggery and flavoired with cardamom and coconuts, they say is
Krishna’s favorite dish of the day. Legend says,
Krishna’s best friend Sudama brought him sweet aval when he visited.
Sukku Vellam is basically dried ginger and jaggery. This is a must on Krishna Jayanthi. Infact I would say this can be prepared and stored and used on all days when you have festivals, parties and celebrations. Oh yes, this is the best remedy for indigestion, a common occurrence on festivals ;)
This is just the tip of the ice berg. On Krishna Jayanthi, nowdays, people are improvising the dishes and recipes. I once chanced upon a household where they offered even chocolates, cookies, candies and ice creams as part of the 108 offerings to Lord Krishna. The kids had a whale of a time.
Yes, festivals, gives us opportunities to remember God and be in the divine thought. But most importantly, it also us brings days of joy, togetherness of families, general well being and peace.
Awesome Cuisine wishes you a great Gokulashthami.