Chhath Puja 2021: 5 Signature recipes to try on this occasion
Chhath Puja is a popular festival in Bihar and is celebrated for four days where Sun and his wife Usha are worshipped. This ancient festival is historically native to Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Nepal. The Chhath Puja celebration has already begun. Women who keep fast on Chhath days offer prayers to the Sun God and worship him.
Many dishes like laddu, thekua and kheer are prepared on this festival as an offering. We bring you a few traditional food items along with their recipes exclusively from Bihar by Mrs. Hiranyamayi Shivani, Co-founder of The Chhaunk. These dishes are surely simple, but because of the celebration and devotion, they taste nothing less than heaven.
Thekua is the most popular prasad during Chhath Puja. It is dry sweet and made with wheat flour, dry coconut, chasni (melted sugar) and ghee. Thekua is mostly prepared on the second day of Chhath Puja and then it is offered to the Sun God.
Measurement -1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1¾ cups
Semolina - ¼ cup
Desiccated Coconut - ¼ cup
Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 3 tbsp
Fennel seeds (Saunf) - 1 tbsp
Cardamom powder (Elaichi powder) - ½ tbsp
10-12 Cashew nuts, small pieces
Grated jaggery- ¾ cup
Water - ½ cup (110 ml)
Oil to deep fry the thekua
Add ¾ cup grated jaggery into a bowl and add 110ml water into it. Stir it on low flame frequently until the jaggery gets dissolved with water. Keep the jaggery syrup aside to cool down completely before use.
Take a large mixing bowl and add 1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour, ¼ cup semolina, ¼ cup desiccated coconut, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, 2 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts into it. Mix all the dry ingredients well.
Add 3 tablespoons of ghee into the bowl and mix it evenly until crumbs occur.
Add the jaggery syrup slowly, a little at a time, into the wheat flour mixture and make a stiff dough.
Cover the dough completely with either a wet cloth or cling film and allow it to rest for at least an hour.
Knead the dough once more and pinch out a small portion of it in your hand and make a round shape with it. Then flatten them by pressing with your palm. Mark the leaf with the help of a toothpick or you can create any design as per your choice. Repeat the whole process and shape thekua with the rest of the dough.
Put a pan on flame and let it become completely dry. Add enough oil to deep fry the thekua properly. Heat oil on medium flame. Put the thekua one by one into the oil and fry it in medium-low flame. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry them evenly till golden brown. Turn them in between at regular intervals to cook them evenly.
Drain the excess oil of the thekua and put it on a tissue lined plate. The tissue will absorb the excess oil. Allow the thekua to cool down completely and store it in an airtight container.
2. Hara Chana
Hara chana (or green chana) is just another delicious dish you'll find in Chhath-special thali. Green chana is soaked in water overnight and then it is prepared the next day in ghee along with some green chillies and cumin seeds.
Green chickpeas – 1 Cup (150-165 Gm)
Tomato – 1 Pc
Green chillies – 1Pcs
Coriander powder – 1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 Tbsp
Ginger – 1 inch
Sendhanamak – As per taste
Turmeric – 1 Tbsp
Ghee – 2 Tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds, grated ginger and chopped green chillies and stir well at low flame. Add the finely chopped tomato and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
Add turmeric and coriander powder along with sendha namak and stir well for 2 minutes. Add green chana in the pan and stir well, and cover the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add some water to the pan, and cook on low flame for another 10 minutes. Garnish coriander leaves and it is ready to eat.
3. Kaddu Bhat
This amazing sabzi is most popular in Chhath. It is made with Kaddu/Lauki(Bottle Gourd) with Himalayan salt or sendha namak and cooked in ghee. This delicious sabzi is paired with fried poori or rice. Hence, making it the perfect dish to break the fast with.
Pumpkin – 500 gm
Red chilly powder – 1 Tbsp
Oil – to fry
Salt – as per taste
Coriander Powder – 1 Tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/3 Tbsp
Fenugreek seed – ¼ Tbsp
Mustard Seeds – ½ Tbsp
Dry Mango Powder – ¼ Tbsp
Sugar – 2 Tbsp
Coriander – fresh finely chopped
Put a pan on high flame. Add oil. When oil is hot, bring down gas to low flame and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and a pinch of asafetida, turmeric powder, coriander powder, ginger-green chilli paste and red chilly powder. Mix them well.
Add 1/2 cup of water. Mix well and fry them for 1/2 minutes. Add chopped pumpkin pieces & salt. Mix well. Close the lid and cook for 8 minutes at medium flame.
Check after 8 minutes by pressing with a spoon. If it is cooked then pieces will break easily. Smash the pumpkin with light pressure so that it forms thick gravy. Add black salt, sugar, dry mango powder and mix them well. Add coriander leaves and mix well. And put the flame to off. Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy a very delicious taste with rice.
4. Kasar Laddu
Apart from thekua and rice kheer, another type of sweet is made. It is very easy to make and it is ready in a few minutes. It is made of powdered rice, jaggery powder, ghee and fennel. Kasar Laddu is one such prasad made on Chhath Puja which is made on the day of Sandhya Arghya.
Powdered rice - 1 kg
Jaggery powder - 500 grams
Ghee - 1/2 kg
Fennel seeds - 1/2 cup
Put coarsely ground rice in a big pot. Add fennel seeds, jaggery powder and ghee to it and mix all the ingredients well. Take it and press it with light hands and make small round balls of it.
5. Rasiyaw (Rice Kheer) with Puri/Roti (Chapati)
Rasiyaw is basically rice kheer, but in place of sugar, it has jaggery (or jaggery). It is prepared almost like the regular kheer with rice, water and milk. This dessert completes the Chhath puja meal. It is exclusively offered to Surya Devta before serving for consumption. It is best paired with Dal Puri/Puri/Roti.
Rice- 50 grams (1/4 cup )
Ghee – 1 Tbsp
Cardamom – 3-4 Pcs
Milk – 1000ml
Sugar – 4-5 Tbsp. Adjust to taste
Chopped nuts – 3-4 Tbsp
Rinse the rice until the water turns clear. Then soak the rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes are up, drain the rice using a colander and set it aside.
Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Then add 1 teaspoon of ghee to it and then add the soaked & drained rice. Add 3-4 crushed green cardamom pods.
Toss the rice with the ghee and cardamom for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until aromatic. Then add the milk to the pan and stir well. Set heat to medium-high.
Once the milk has come to a boil, lower the heat to low and let the kheer cook for around 25 minutes on low heat. Stir every 2 minutes or so. The milk would turn thick and the rice will be completely cooked. If you want more thick kheer, cook for 15 more minutes at this point. Add in the sugar and mix. Also, add in the nuts.
Cook the kheer for 5 more minutes. The sugar should dissolve completely. Don't worry if your kheer doesn't look very thick at this point. It will continue to thicken as it cools down. Remove pan from heat and serve.