Healthy Ugadi Recipes
‘Ugadi’ or ‘Yugadi‘ is celebrated as the New Year’s Day by those living in the Deccan region of India i.e the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, who follow the Hindu Lunisolar calendar. This year it falls on the 21st of March.
While it is termed as Yugadi by those in Karnataka, Ugadi by those in Andhra Pradesh; its termed as ‘Gudi-Padwa‘ in Maharashtra. ‘Yuga’ meaning ‘era’, ‘Adi’ meaning ‘beginning’ ‘Yugadi’ literally translates to ‘the beginning of a new era’. This day marks the first day of the new year. ‘Chaitra Shuddha Padyami’ or the first day of the bright half of the month of ‘Chaitra’ or spring season.
My memories lead back to those times when, as children we would experience the excitement preceding festivals. The preparations would begin a week in advance, with cleaning of the entire house and surroundings, buying new clothes for the occasion for everyone in the family, filling us with eager anticipation of the day.
On the day of the festival, we would wake up at the break of dawn first cleansing ourselves by means of oil bath, adorning ourselves with new clothes and finery . The elders in the house would begin decorating the house by tying a string of fresh mango leaves (‘thorana’) at the entrance of the house, signifying prosperity and general well-being; floral patterns called ‘rangoli’ being drawn at the entrance of the house.
Many special sweet and savory dishes would be prepared in the household, the aroma enveloping us as we played around with one another showing off our new clothes; with happy shrieks being heard from kids playing in all our neighboring houses.
A ritualistic worship of Gods would then be performed, seeking His blessings for the new year with prayers for prosperity, over-all well-being.
It is considered auspicious to begin anything new on this special day.
Amongst all the festive dishes savored on this day, in the state of Karnataka where I grew up, one particular combination of sweet and bitterness is distributed to one and all in the form of ‘bevu-bella’ – mixture of sweet jaggery and fresh bitter neem flowers signifying that life is a mixture of sweetness and bitterness .
Whereas in the state of Andhra, a special dish with 6 flavors called ‘Ugadi Pachadi’, is prepared. This entails a mixture of neem flowers and buds signifying sadness, jaggery/ripe banana pieces signifying sweetness or happiness, green chili/pepper signifying anger, salt signifying fear, tamarind juice for its sourness signifying disgust, unripened mango for the tang signifying surprise.
Few other special dishes cooked on this occasion being, ‘Holige’/’Obbattu’ or ‘Puran Poli’ which are sweet flatbreads with various stuffings mainly Bengal gram with jaggery; ‘Puliogre’ or tamarind rice; ‘Mano Rice prepared using shredded raw mango.
The festival takes on an ‘enhanced flavor’ for us this year since, our oncoming Blog-Hop theme happens to be ‘Ugadi Special’
I am sharing with you all here, three dishes –
- Sweet Potato Kheer or Sweet potato Milk prepared as a vegan version;
Holige/Obbattu/Puran Poli which is the sweet flatbread with roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and jaggery filling; and
Mango Quinoa Salad as a contemporary healthy addition.
Sweet Potato Kheer or Sweet Potato Milk
An auspicious way to begin any special occasion is by serving delicious traditional dessert – ‘Kheer’ or ‘Payasam’. While vermicelli kheer (shavige payasa), rice kheer (akki payasa) are commonly prepared and joyously enjoyed, on this occasion, I settled on making Sweet Potato Kheer or Sweet Potato Milk.
The preparation is quite simple, needing very few ingredients and can be put together quickly and quite effortlessly. Similar to any kheer preparation, this involves cooking shredded sweet potato in milk, followed by addition of a touch of sugar, speckled with chopped nuts and flavored with cardamom.
To render it vegan, I used almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk, to render it healthier, used demerara sugar or cane sugar instead of castor sugar.
sweet potato – grated 1 and 1/2 cups
almond milk – 3 cups (regular milk can also be used)
demerara sugar – 1-2 tbsp (adjust as per taste)
assorted nuts – almonds, pistachios 4-5 each, sliced/roughly chopped.
cardamom powder – 1 tsp (or powdered seeds from 4-6 green cardamom pods)
- in a pan add shredded sweet potato, milk and bring it to a boil, then cook at medium to low medium until the sweet potato cooks. Keep clearing the sides, and stir on and off taking the ladle up to the bottom of the pan.
- The milk will reduce in the process to about half the original quantity.
- now add sugar, mix, cook for 1-2 min until it dissolves.
- add cardamom powder. turn off the heat. sprinkle chopped nuts.
- serve at room temperature or even chilled.
Peanut Sesame Seed Holige | Peanut Sesame Seed Puran Poli
A quintessential inclusion in Ugadi festivities is ‘Holige’/’Obbattu’/Puran Poli, which is a sweet flat bread traditionally prepared using maida (refined or plain flour) with fillings varying from Bengal gram and jaggery to sugar, peanuts and even dry fruits, as also coconut.
I have here a whole wheat flour holige with roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and jaggery filling/stuffing, using less oil.
One of the most delicious and popular varieties of Holige is that with a filling of cooked Bengal gram with jaggery formed into a paste. The dough is then flattened out on a plantain leaf using tips of the fingers greased with oil to avoid stickiness of the dough, then cooked on a skillet. Traditionally served with milk and/or ghee.
The method I am following here with Peanut Sesame Seed Holige is similar to any stuffed flatbread preparation such as Alu matar paratha, with a simple filling which just needs brief roasting, which is then flattened using a rolling pin and cooked on a skillet. One point to note would be to ensure the filling doesn’t dry up, by keeping it covered; that would otherwise make it difficult for you to roll the poli.
for the dough>>
whole wheat flour – 1 cup
warm milk – 1 tbsp to soak the saffron
saffron – 1-2 pinch
coconut oil – 2 tsp for making the dough (or ghee can be used)
few spoons of oil/ghee to cook the holige
pinch of salt
lukewarm water to make the dough
for the filling >>
roasted peanuts – 1/4 cup
roasted sesame seeds – 1/4 cup
jaggery grated – 1/2 cup
cardamom powder – 1 tsp
- for the dough>>
- whole wheat flour - 1 cup
- warm milk - 1 tbsp to soak the saffron
- saffron - 1-2 pinch
- coconut oil - 2 tsp for making the dough (or ghee can be used)
- few spoons of oil/ghee to cook the holige
- pinch of salt
- lukewarm water to make the dough
- for the filling >>
- roasted peanuts - ¼ cup
- roasted sesame seeds - ¼ cup
- jaggery grated - ½ cup
- cardamom powder - 1 tsp
- to prepare the dough, in a bowl add whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt. mix.
- warm up 1 tbsp of milk and add the saffron strands to this . allow it to soak for few minutes. then transfer this to the bowl with the flour. add 2 tsp of coconut oil. mix to form a crumbly mixture.
- now, using slightly warm water, make a soft, smooth dough. cover this and keep it aside for 15-20 minutes.
- to prepare the filling, heat up a pan. roast peanuts until golden brown. allow it to cool.
- in the same pan, add sesame seeds and roast until they turn golden brown and start popping. transfer to a plate. allow it to cool.
- grate the jaggery and keep this ready.
- transfer cooled roasted peanuts, sesame seeds to the mixer/spice grinder, grind them to a powder, add grated jaggery, again powder the contents. add cardamom powder, run the grinder again until its well mixed in.
- divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
- take a portion, roll it between your palms to smoothen it. press to flatten it slightly like a patty.
- dip this is some extra whole wheat flour to cover all over.
- flatten using a rolling pin to 2 inch diameter.
- now divide the filling into 4 portions.
- place one portion over this flattened dough.
- bring up all the sides over the mixture, cover it well. again flatten using your fingers while gently trying to spread the filling outwards.
- now again dip this in extra flour all over.
- roll using the rolling pin gently to 6-7 inch diameter circle.
- heat a skillet.
- place the rolled holige, cook until it puffs up at places, flip, cook again until it puffs up at places and develops brown specs.
- spread few drops of oil on the surface, flip, cook by pressing gently all over.
- again add few drops of oil (optional), flip, press and cook until dark brown specs appear.
- transfer to a paper towel
- serve with milk or ghee or as is.
Recipe Reference : gseasyrecipes.blogspot.co.uk
Quinoa Mango Salad
Its the dawn of spring, the dawn of mango season!
Beautifully ripe mangoes in any form add a touch of sunshine to the table, in my opinion. They most definitely had to become a part of this festive Ugadi meal. So far the menu has been traditional, but now it’s time to add a contemporary touch.
A gluten-free delicious way to add protein, iron and fiber is with quinoa.
Quinoa Mango Salad is a healthy whole grain based salad, the ripe and sweet mangoes with the herbs lifting up the dish with their flavors. This has no added sugars or salt.
A good friend once mentioned how beneficial re-training her palate has been to keep her Blood pressure down aiding her in her recovery from a minor stroke she had suffered. This got me thinking and since have been wondering if that can be possible at all. The Indian palate accustomed to spice and salt yearns for these flavors in abundance, which subdues many other wonderful flavors a dish might have to offer.
This Quinoa Mango Salad seemed to prove it to me that is possible. Train your palate to savor the sweet mango, the freshness of mint, the hint of lime and coriander with the wholesomeness of quinoa and enjoy this dish. Your body will thank you for the same.
Recipe Source: BBC Food
quinoa – 1/2 cup raw quinoa cooked
ripe mango cubed – 1 cup (or 1 mango)
spring onion – 2 sliced
fresh mint roughly chopped – 1 tbsp
fresh coriander chopped – 2 tbsp
olive oil – 1 tbsp
lemon juice – 1-2 tsp (as per taste)
- cook quinoa as per the instructions on the pack
- add this to a bowl.
- add in cubed mango, sliced spring onion.
- add chopped mint and coriander.
- add olive oil
- drizzle lemon juice. combine everything.
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