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Festive treats: Try alternatives to the modak from across the country

Ganeshotsav means grand celebrations, elaborate pandals and, of course, modaks. But few know that the festival can be a treat for food lovers across the country. From West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, each state has a special Ganpati dish. This year, give the modaks and puranpolis a break, and try one of these lesser-known recipes, to celebrate the festival with a twist.

Bellam Pasham, Telangana
Serves 2
• For the base, knead 350 gm maida with water to make it into a soft dough. Spread a blob of dough on a flat surface. Use a knife to cut strands of it. Roll each strand using your hands to give it a noodle-like shape.
• For the jaggery syrup, take 250 ml water and soak 100 gm of jaggery in it. Strain the syrup. Add the wheat noodles into the syrup and bring to a boil. Add half a handful of cashew nuts, 4 crushed cardamoms and 1/2 cup finely chopped coconut. Cook until the jaggery water is soaked in by the noodles. Before serving, pour a spoonful of pure ghee on top of the Pasham and serve with modaks and laddoos.
Recipe: Sandeep Raj, chef and organiser at the Ganeshotsav committee of Andhra Pradesh
Read: Environment comes first for Ganpati, Durga Puja organisers
Ello Jhelo, Bengal
Serves 3

Ello Jhello, also called Bengali churros, is a dish that literally signifies happiness. (Ananya Banerjee)

• Mix 2 cups maida with a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of poppy seeds in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of oil and mix using water to knead into a soft dough. Make round puris from the dough.
• Flatten out each puri and use a knife to make vertical lines in the middle, without cutting it out from the edges of the puri — the ends should remain intact, with strands in the middle.
• Fry puris in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Dip them in sugar syrup (by dissolving sugar in water in 1:2 ratio, and letting it cool until all sugar granules are properly dissolved); or dust with icing sugar for garnish. Serve with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.
Recipe: Ananya Banerjee, home chef and author of Planet Gastronomy: 100 Most Popular Global Recipes
Read: Now, park vehicles at Shivaji Park during Ganesh immersion
Sundal, Tamil Nadu
Serves 3

Sundal, from Tamil Nadu. (Ananya Banerjee)

• Pressure cook 1 cup chickpeas soaked overnight; keep aside.
• Roast 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 3 tbsp chana dal and 1 dried chilli in hot oil; blend to a powder.
• Heat 1 tsp hot oil and crackle 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 sprig curry leaves and a pinch of hing. Add roasted ingredients to pressure cooked chana and mix. Season with salt, chilli powder and ground masala; add 3 tbsp grated coconut to it and mix well.
• Garnish with coriander, nuts and raisins before serving
Recipe: Ananya Banerjee, home chef and author of Planet Gastronomy: 100 Most Popular Global Recipes

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