Basant Panchami, or Vasant Pachami, marks the arrival of spring after winter, and is often considered a time of fresh beginnings. As the new season comes knocking, there is a sense of celebration in the air. This festival, which falls on January 26 this year, is also associated with the colour yellow, that symbolises prosperity and optimism. You'll notice many festive-special dishes have yellow or orange hues.
Here are some must-try recipes during Basant Pachami.
This is popularly known as meete chawal or zarda, which comes from the Persian word ‘zard’ that translates to yellow, a reference to the colour of the dish. Soaked rice, usually basmati, is cooked with cardamom, cloves, saffron, and orange food colour. When it is half-cooked, sugar, ghee, and roasted dry fruits are added, and this is stirred until the sugar melts. It’s garnished with a few chopped nuts. You can choose to replace the artificial food colour with saffron.
If you are looking for a simple sweet dish, this kheer might interest you. This is made of rice cooked with milk and a sprinkling of cardamom powder. Crushed jaggery is added to the mixture once the rice is cooked. As the jaggery melts and combines with the mixture, it is topped off with dry fruits sautéed in ghee. This is mixed well and served hot.
A spice-infused twist to the popular idlis, this dish puts the focus on ingredients that are usually use for tempering, such as cumin seeds, pepper, and curry leaves. To the regular idli batter, add dry ginger powder, turmeric powder, and coriander leaves. In a heated pan, sauté mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, pepper, cumin seeds, ginger, green chillies, and cashews until golden brown. Add this mixture to the batter, and use it make the idlis. These are usually served with coconut chutney.
Keeping up with the saffron theme, this is a melt-in-your-mouth halwa. Roasted semolina is cooked with ghee, saffron, and water. Some people use food colouring to enhance the orange tinge. Sugar is added after the semolina is cooked completely. This is stirred until the sugar melts and the halwa thickens. Sauté some dry fruits and nuts in ghee until golden brown and mix it with the sweet and and serve hot.
This is a savoury Gujarati delicacy that can be enjoyed as breakfast or snack. For this simple dish, gram flour, salt, turmeric powder, whisked curd, and baking powder are mixed. After steaming, it is seasoned with oil, mustard leaves, green chillies, and curry leaves, along with a mixture of water, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Garnish with coriander leaves and desiccated coconut, and enjoy.