The month of Shraavan is considered to be most auspicious month of the Hindu Calendar and dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many Hindus perform fasting on each Monday of this holy month and it is known as ‘Shraavan Somvaar Vrat’. The beginning of the month differs by 15 days between North Indian states and South Indian states and states in Western part of country. For the states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab Shravan commences 15 days before the month begins in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat.
The month carries a great significance owing to several important festivities that are celebrated in this month. The festivals like Nag Panchmi, Rishi Panchmi, Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmashtami and Teej are celebrated in this month and Nag Panchmi is the first festival of this month.
Nag Panchmi is celebrated on 5th day of Shravan and as per Hindu traditions, is dedicated to Snake God. The importance of Snake in Hinduism can be understood from its reference in Vishnu Puran, one of the ancient texts in Hinduism. As per Vishnu Puran, earth rests on the head of Sheshanaag, a mythical 5 headed Snake that stands tall with its fangs in a universal Ocean and Vishnu rests under its fangs.
Apart from the religious importance, practically too snakes are important to a farmer. Being a majority agrarian country, farming is still a prevalent job in country. Rats are a big nuisance for farming produce and snakes that are above the rodents in the food pyramid help the farmers by consuming rats and indirectly saving their produce from damage.
Nag Panchmi is celebrated in many different ways in different parts of India. In Maharashtra, my home state, this festival has a special importance!
Farmers do not plough their fields and women worship the Nag Devta (Snake God). In homes, snake drawings are made on wooden board, called “Paat” in Marathi! An age old tradition that is followed on this day in Maharashtrian kitchen is of only making steamed food. Cooking techniques like roasting on tawa, deep frying, cutting with knife are prohibited on this day.
Hence the Naivedya or Prasad is only cooked by steaming method. Ukadiche Modak, Puranache Dind and sweet Surali wadi are the preferable options.
Make this authentic and traditional Maharashtrian sweet at home this Nag Panchmi and May Lord Shiva bless you and your family with all the happiness, wealth and success.
Happy Nag Panchami
- 1 Cup=200 gms Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)-soaked in water for 2 hours, drain
- 1 Cup=200 gms Grated Jaggery
- ½ tsp Cardamom Powder
- ½ tsp Dry Ginger Powder
- 1½ Cup=225 gms Wheat Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- Ghee as needed
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- We will start with making Puran. For this we will cook Chana Dal in water. Heat 3 Cups water (for 1 Cup Chana Dal). Add Soaked Chana Dal in pan and mix well. Cook Chana Dal on low-medium heat
- We have cooked Chana Dal for 20 mins on low heat. Uncover and let's check the Dal. Dal is well cooked now. Remove from heat and strain the cooked Dal
- Heat a Pan. Put Chana Dal in it. Add grated Jaggery and allow it to melt on low heat.
- As Jaggery starts to melt, with the help of a Potato masher, coarsely mash Chana Dal and Jaggery. The Puran (Chana Dal and Jaggery) cooked for Puran Poli must be of smooth consistency but the Puran cooked for Dind must be of coarse consistency.
- We have mashed Chana Dal and Jaggery together for almost 5 mins. Remember the consistency of the Puran must be coarse. Now, we will cook Puran on medium heat until it gets dry. Add Cardamom Powder and Dry Ginger Powder and mix well. Remove from heat and allow it to cool down completely
- While Puran is getting cooled to room temperature, we will knead a dough for Dind. In a large bowl, put Wheat Flour. Add 1 tsp Salt and mix well. Add 2 tbsp Hot Oil. Oil must be well heated. Addition of Hot Oil ensures that Dind does not become sticky or chewy and mix well.
- Knead into a firm dough (similar to Poori) consistency. I have used ½ cup water while kneading. Cover and keep aside for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins, take the dough and knock it one more time. Make lemon sized balls from the dough. Smoothen each ball to remove cracks. Apply some Ghee on the balls and some ghee on rolling board. Do not use any kind of flour for dusting. Use Ghee for rolling
- We have rolled into a Poori of even thickness. Take small portion of Puran and shape it into a ball. Place it at the center. Fold the two opposite edges and bring it into center overlapping on Puran. Bring in the remaining two sides to the center. This completes the shaping of Dind. Keep it in a plate that is greased with some Ghee.
- Take a steamer plate. This plate has small pores in it for even cooking. Grease this plate with some Ghee. Place each Dind on this plate.
- Water has been put to boil in steamer. Let's steam the Dind now. Water has been boiling now. Keep heat on medium and lower the plate in the steamer. Cover and cook on medium heat for 18-20 mins
- We have steam cooked Dind for 18 mins on low-medium heat. These are now cooked and the color has also changed. Remove from heat and serve hot
- Do not forget to pour a generous serving of ghee while serving these hot Dind
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