Tandalachi Kheer though being a simple rice pudding has a great deal of significance during 10-days long Ganesh festival. It can be offered as a Naivedya to Lord Ganesh with Pooris during one of the days. It has a more religious significance in Maharashtra during the festivities of Gauri Pujan which is 3-day event and coincides with Ganesh festival.
Besides, worshipping Lord Ganesh during these 10 days, a section of people also welcome Lord Ganesh’s mother-Gauri in their homes. In Maharashtra, it’s a widespread belief that the two sisters in form of Gauri follow Ganapati to every home that he visits and they represent health, wealth happiness and prosperity. Also known as ‘Mangala Gauri’, Gauri Puja is regarded as festival of Women. An ancient mythological story exists about Gauri Pujan. In the fight between Gods and Demons, wives of Gods asked for help from Mahalakshmiji. MahaLaskshmi ji defeated demons and to celebrate this victory, she is worshipped. In Maharashtra, Mahalakshmi’s Gauri avatar is worshipped. It is also said that Gauri (Ganesh’s mother) comes to her mother’s home during this month. She is worshipped with lot of love and affection and treated with many delicacies. Female Members of family come together and play different games like Zhimma and Phugdi. It is an occasion for women to enjoy along with their friends.
Gauri Pujan is also popularly known as ‘Jyestha Gauri Pujan’, the reason being that it falls during the ‘Jyestha’ Nakshatra. Gauri Pujan is performed by married as well as unmarried women of the family. Married women perform this Puja while praying for happiness, wellbeing and prosperity of their family and unmarried women perform this Puja to get appropriate life-partner. It is believed Goddess who is consort of Lord Shiva fulfills wishes of her devotees.
Mother Gauri is welcomed with great excitement on day one also known as ‘Gauri avahana’. Two married women from the family bring in two idols of Gauri (Jyeshtha and Kanishtha)- also sometimes considered two sisters of Lord Ganesh. One of the idols is brought in from front side and other from the back side of the house. Devotees draw the footprints of Goddess Gauri with Turmeric and Vermillion while bringing the idol. These idols are then put on each of these footstep drawing and offer Haldi-Kumkum and Akshata.
Next day is known as ‘Gauri Pujan’ and on this day the Goddess is offered a lavish and elaborate spread of meals-in form of 16 veg preparations (Leafy vegetables), Bhakri, Tandalachi Kheer and Lal Bhoplyache Gharge . A ceremony of Haldi-Kumkum is organized by the host in which all the female members are invited.
Final day is known as ‘Gauri Visarjan’ when the Goddess is believed to take our leave and she departs for her home. Clay idol of the Goddess is immersed in a water-body thus completing the 3- day event.
Today, as we celebrate the day one of Gauri Avahana, here’s a recipe of Tandalachi Kheer that you can make with Lal Bhoplyache Gharge and offer to Goddess for ‘Gauri Pujan’. May Gauri Mata bring in happiness, health and prosperity to your family.
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- 1-liter Full Cream Milk
- ½ Cup=125 gms Rice (Short Grain and Aromatic or Basmati rice)
- ¾ th Cup=180 gms Sugar (You can increase quantity of Sugar)
- 1 tbsp Raisins
- 1 tbsp Chopped Cashewnuts
- 2 tbsp Chironji/Charoli
- ½ tsp Cardamom Powder
- ¼th tsp Nutmeg Powder
- Clean and Wash rice. Strain it in a strainer for 30 mins. Grind rice in grinder for 10-seconds. Do not make a fine powder. Grind to break the rice grains and make a very coarse powder.
- Boil 1-liter Milk in a Pan. As Milk begins to boil, reduce the heat and stir it with a ladle. Now add coarsely grounded rice. Stir well to prevent formation of any lumps. Now cook rice on low heat. Stir intermittently.
- While rice is getting cooked, in a small Pan heat 1-2 tbsp Ghee. Add Chironji/Charoli and fry until it becomes light brown in color
- Remove from Pan and now add Cashewnuts. In same pan, fry Cashewnuts until it becomes light brown in color. Remove Cashews from the Pan.
- Now add Raisins and fry until it becomes puffed
- Scrape in the layer of cream at the sides. This makes Kheer thicker in consistency
- We have cooked rice and milk together for almost 12 mins on low heat. Rice and Milk have become thick too. Add Sugar and mix. Cook for few more mins on low heat.
- We have cooked Kheer for 8 more mins on low heat. Total cooking time=20 mins
- Now add fried dry nuts. Add Cardamom Powder, nutmeg powder and mix well. Kheer is now ready to be served. Remove from heat
- Tandalachi Kheer-Chawal Ki Kheer is now ready. It can be served with Hot Pooris or with Kaddu ki meethi Pooris (Gharge)
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