Archive | August 2013

Naga Chaturthi and Naga Panchami

Naga Chaturthi and Naga Panchami are very auspicious days in the Madhwa calendar. On these days we worship the Serpent God – Naga.

Naga Chaturthi is observed by Ladies who pray for the welfare of their children and Naga Panchami is performed by all. Naga Panchami is also a day when women pray for the welfare of their brothers.

Naga Chaturthi (Nagaachautha)

Significance

Nagaachauth, a festival to worship Nag Devatas (Serpent Gods), is mainly a women festival. It is observed by married women for their wellbeing of their children.It is also believed that praying to Naaga will keep one away from skin disorders and ear problems.

Note: I know that people say that Snakes don’t drink milk or any of the things that are offered as part of the ritual mentioned below. However I think the ritual might have been started to encourage people to live in harmony with Nature. Apart from this, by offering this to the Termite mount, we might be feeding and supporting a lot of other insects and organisms around it.

Preparation

  • Unboiled milk
  • Ghee
  • Flowers
  • Rock Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rice flour
  • Jaggery and Til (ground in mixie)
  • Thambit (Rice flour, Jaggery, Til and Coconut)
  • Green moong (lightly roasted)
  • Full channa (lightly roasted)
  • Nel Pori
  • Cotton
  • Rangoli powder (Kola maavu)
  • Paat (Plank)
  • Diva/Lamps for lighting
  • Fruits, Flowers and Cocunut
  • Haldi
  • Mantarakshata, Vasthra – Both Yellow for Naga chaturthi (no kumkum)
  • Silver Naag (for pooja)

Items for Pooja

Procedure –

1) Make a rangoli outside the house with 2 Nags (Usually there is always a big Nag and  small child Nag drawn in all the places). A similar one is done near the stove in the kitchen and on the Paat on which the Naag is going to be kept for the pooja.

2) Draw Naag outside the house on the wall with turmeric water – 2 Naags are to be drawn. (If you live in an apartment and dont want to draw it on the wall, you can do it on paper and stick it outside). Put Vastra for this Naag also.

3) Keep the Silver Naag for Pooja in a plate or small bowl. Keep this on a Paat.

4) With a silver Udharani, put 3 spoons of water, then put 3 spoons of unboiled milk, Ghee and then again water.

5) Put little of each of the following (or whatever is available) – Salt, Black pepper, cotton, Rice flour, Channa, Full moong, Jaggery and til paste, Nel Pori.

6) Put Haldi, yellow Mantarakshata (made with only turmeric), Vastra (made only with turmeric).

7) Light the lamps, Put flowers and pray to Naag for the well being of children and all others in the family.

8) Do Mangalaarathi and namaskara.

9) Saanje (Sojji or Rava Kesari) is made as Neivaidhya. Offer the same to God. Also offer coconut and other fruits as Neivaidhya.

10) Usually women with children do Palahara once – This depends on family tradition also, so please check and follow accordingly.

11) If possible go to the temple (puthu – Termite mount) and offer all the items that you offered to the Naag at home.

12) There is also  practice of tying Daava (a thread like Raakhi) to small children below 5 years. The Daava is tied on the right hand above the elbow.

Nagas drawn outside

Naga chaturthi Pooja

Naga Panchami

On Naga Panchami day, all the people in the house should do pooja in a similar way as mentioned above. You can also include Kumkum, Red mantrakakshata and Red Vastra on this day.

We also make a Putthu like object using Clay and keep a few Naagas on it and do Pooja (Forgot to take a picture of this).

This is a festival and so festival food is prepared and eaten.

Tips –

1) You can get a few things like all the items for Pooja a day earlier.  Keep 3 portions of this – one set for the Nagachaturthi pooja, one set for Naga Panchami pooja and one set for the temple pooja.

2) Palahara items for Naga Chautha are usually Uppit, Sojji, Sadudhana Bakala bath had along with Vadaya (Papad).

3) I have mentioned almost an exhaustive list for what all needs to be put on the Naaga for the pooja. However it is all optional and you can use whatever is easily available.

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Eggless Vanilla Sponge cake/cupcake

It has definitely been a while since I have been able to post anything on the blog 😦 …. so I thought I’ll put in this Sponge cake recipe that my sis has been asking for quite some time! This sponge cake recipe has definitely become my favourite recipe and I have made it sooooooooooo many times already 🙂

The original recipe is here but I have modified it slightly as given below.

The original recipe calls only for Maida (All-purpose flour), but I have tried this with substituting 2/3rds of the all-purpose flour with Wheat flour to make it a healthier cake and the cake still comes out very very yummy! I like to make these as cupcakes as I can put it in my son’s snack box (that is currently my biggest challenge – to find stuff that I can send so that he would definitely eat)! I have also halved the oil called for in the recipe and added some flax seed powder and water.

Ingredients-

Wheat flour (Aata) – 1 Cup

All-purpose flour or Maida – 1/2 cup

Yoghurt – 1 cup

Sugar – 3/4 cup

Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp

Cooking oil – 1/4 cup

Vanilla essence – 1 1/2 cup

Flax seed powder – 1 tbsp

Warm Water – 1/4 cup

Procedure –

1. In a mixing bowl, Mix sugar and yoghurt till sugar dissolves

2. Add the baking powder and baking soda to this and mix well.

3. Keep this aside for 5 minutes

4. In another small bowl mix the warm water and the flax seed powder and let this also rest for 5 minutes.

5. Add the vanilla essence, oil and the flax seed mixture to the mixture in Step 3 and mix

6. Add both the flours to this and mix well till creamy.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C

8. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for about 15-20 minutes. My cupcakes were done in about 18 minutes. Check with a toothpick to check if it comes out clean. (Large cakes will take about 40 minutes – again this depends on the oven and you need to check when your cake is ready)

Hot cupcakes with the wonderful aroma filling the house!

Really soft sponge cake is ready! Be careful when you remove the cake from the pan or when you remove the cupcakes from the paper liners – they are so soft that they can crumble in your hands!

Tips

– For the measurements given above you will get about 15 small sized cupcakes

-You can add some choco-chips or raisins etc instead of a plain sponge cake

-Increase the sugar to 1 cup if you like it to be sweeter.

Hope you enjoy these egg-less cupcakes and it is a wonderful and easy option for kid’s snackbox!

Cupcakes for the snack-box!