Makar Sankranti food throughout India

Get ready for an air battle! It is Makar Sankranti, the moment when the skies are a glow of color with comets of all shapes, sizes and tones. Friends and family plan the strategy to overcome each other while trying to cut the kites with a shout of ... kai po chhe! This festival is also the harvest festival of India, celebrated with much fervor. Known as Lohri in Punjab, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Uttarayan in Gujarat and Poush Sankranti in West Bengal, the auspicious day is celebrated in different ways throughout India. Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji shares his thoughts on the food eaten at this festival.



Fervor and flavors

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Reetu says: We have reached a time when we all celebrate festivals such as Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal with great enthusiasm and zeal. Gur rewri, peanuts and popcorn are the three edibles associated with Lohri. Also in the villages of Punjab (Pind), it is a tradition to eat Gajjak, Sarson da saag and Makki di roti on Lohri's day. Roh Di Kheer is an extremely adored sugarcane juice that is consumed on Lohri's day. Makar Sankranti is also celebrated with great enthusiasm. She adds: In Maharashtra, sweets such as tilgul ladoo, puran poli, chikki and murmura ladoo are prepared. In Assam you will see til pitha (pancakes made with rice, til and jaggery) at this time.

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In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the festival is known as Pongal. And you may not know, but pongal is a dish that is a mixture of brown sugar, rice and dal. Makar Sankranti is called Poush Sankranti in Bengal and the highlights of the meal during this time are various types of pathishapta or crepes, pithe puli, the rice dish and payesh, the rice-based pudding. In West Bengal, they call the festival Poush Parbon and many houses prepare delicious nolen gurer payesh (jaggery-flavored rice pudding), for this. In Bihar, people enjoy dahi chooda, made with crushed rice and curd. Jaggery is used to sweeten the dish. In the houses of Gujarat, you will find the undhiyu winter staple on the lunch table along with the sweet jalebi and the basundi. They also prepare a warm up to the chikki as wellas goondar paak.

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