A Karnataka special sweet dish prepared as an offering to Lord Ganesha is Pancha Kajjaya. This literally means ‘pancha’ meaning five and ‘kajjaya’ meaning sweet dish. A sweet dish prepared using 5 ingredients.
Many variations of the Pancha Kajjaya are possible such as using mung dal (split green gram) and chana dal (yellow split peas ) as also using poha (aval or avalakki), some using roasted gram (dalia dal) and so on. Pancha Kajjaya prepared using poha or avalakki is specially offered to Lord Krishna since avalakki (flattened rice) is considered his favorite.
Rituals, traditions, when followed, I feel, bring a certain warmth and a beautiful connectivity to our lineage, our ancestors. One such festivity which is oncoming is Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi. This is the Hindu festival celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed God. It falls on the 17th of September this year. Clay idols of the Lord are prepared, worshipped and then immersed in water after a certain number of days. Lord Ganesh is believed to help remove all obstacles in life, giver of knowledge, fortune.
Certain well known traditional sweet dishes prepared for Ganesh Chaturthi one being the kadubu – which is cardamom flavored coconut,jaggery encased in a flaky pastry dough and deep-fried; modak steamed as well as deep-fried versions, various laddus are believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favorites. You can check out recipes for coconut laddu, dates laddu, peanut laddu.
One sweet offering which is a specialty of the state of Karnataka is Pancha Kajjaya. This recipe is one using whole mung beans or green gram. Keeping the mung bean whole retains a lot of nutrients. A quick dish to prepare which requires minimal cooking. The dish has the bite and texture of the roasted/powdered gram yet juicy, and, is not meant to be soft.
– First dry roast the green gram until you get a nice aroma and allow it to cool. It should turn a brownish green color.
– Then, powder it just for a few seconds using a dry mixer/grinder jar (texture as you see in the middle picture) and if you wish you can blow away the husk. I wished to retain the husk. Hence went on to powder it further to a coarse consistency as you see in the third picture below.
– In a bowl or in the same pan (not on heat), mix powdered or grated jaggery with grated fresh coconut and cardamom powder. Note this need not be cooked.
– Mix everything well using your clean hand adding a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter). This will result in a moist, juicy mixture. To this add the powdered green gram (or mung bean).
– Again, mix very well using your hand. Add dry roasted sesame seeds and mix well. Garnish with ghee roasted cashew nuts and serve.
- ½ cup of green gram (mung bean)
- ¾ cup of fresh grated coconut
- ½ cup of grated (or powdered) jaggery (adjust quantity to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds
- 2-3 cardamom pods, the seeds of which powdered (I used 2)
- 1 teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter)
- 5 cashew nuts slices to be roasted in a small amount of ghee, for garnish
- First dry roast the green gram (mung beans) until you get a nice aroma and it turns brownish green in color. This may need 4-5 minutes. Transfer this to a plate and allow it to cool.
- Now, powder the cardamom pod seeds. Keep this ready.
- Powder or grate the jaggery. Keep grated coconut ready.
- Dry roast the sesame seeds until they begin to pop. Keep this aside.
- Heat a small amount of ghee and fry a few cashew nuts until they turn golden brown. Keep these ready.
- Now, powder the cooled mung beans. Powder coarsely and blow away the husk at this stage if you wish to. But since I wished to retain the husk, I powdered it further until it reached a coarse powdery consistency as in the picture.
- Using the same pan (but not on heat) mix jaggery and grated coconut along with cardamom powder using your clean hand adding a teaspoon of ghee.This results in a juicy mixture. In the process you can break down jaggery lumps if any.
- Add the powdered mung beans. Mix everything well using your hand again. Add dry roasted sesame seeds. Mix well. Garnish with ghee roasted cashew nuts and offer it to the Lord.
If you allow the dish to stand for an hour before serving, the jaggery gets absorbed better onto the powdered mung.