Diwali is perhaps one of the most special and biggest festivals of north India. But at the same time in my home state Bihar as well as Jharkhand, Chat puja is the biggest festival. As kids, during chat puja, we always used to wait for new clothes and would gorge on variety of fruits and delicious prashaad, besides having a gala time at the riverside. Chat Puja is celebrated on the 6th day of the lunar month after Diwali. It is a four day festival where we bathe in the river at sunrise and then prepare Prasad. Next morning is fasting till sunset and devotee eats at night. On the 3rd day, the fast continues and a huge puja is held on riverbanks offering flowers and earthen lamps. The divinity and the purity of people offering “arghya” (Libation to God)is not just serene, but definetly delightful too! On the 4th day, people visit river bank before sunrise and offer ‘arghya’ and chant hymns. This is just a snippet of the festival that is close to my heart!
Festive season would begin from Diwali and continue till Chat. I am going to share on two important dishes that we have been making at home and specifically on Diwali. I don’t really know, whether it is kayastha recipe or specific to Bihar. As I continue my research on the origin of these dishes, I am sharing what has always been prepared during Diwali in Bihar.
Ol ka chokha ( Suran or elephant foot yam) – the moment we talk about Ol ka chokha, it’s always around Diwali. My grand mom used to make it a day before Diwali and keep it under the sun and we would have it the next day i.e on Diwali.
1 kg suran or ol.
20 gms ginger – crushed
3 big mooli (raddish) – peeled and thinly sliced
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Mustard oil – 1 teaspoon
3 big sized Lemon –we use a different variety of lemon which is very similar to the gondhoraj lebu but little different in taste. Rangpur Lime or Citrus Limonia is the scientific world’s gondhoraj. It is a rare blend — between a mandarin and a lime —and grows and tenderizes the mixture.
4 green chilli – chopped
Salt as per your taste
Peel the ol properly, wash it so that it doesn’t have any mud. Cut them into big pieces and put it in water for boiling.
Mash the entire ol and put them into a bowl. My mom always used to keep it in a martaban( earther/glazed jar )
Add crushed ginger, chopped chilli and sliced raddish. Squeeze the lemon into the mixture. Add salt and mix it properly. Add mustard oil. Check for the salt content.
Place it under the sun for at least 4-5 hours, cover it with muslin cloth and vola , it is ready to eat.
Makhana ki kheer – This is desert which we eat on Diwali along with Puri, kathal ki sabji and ol ka chokha. This too is simple to prepare:
100 gms makhana (Lotus seed)
2 kg full cream milk – we always use cow’s milk.
Sugar – according to the level of sweetness you desire
Chopped – Dry coconut and raisins
Boil and milk and simmer. Crush makhana and add to the boiling milk. Keep stirring and check if the makhana has turned soft. Add sugar after cooking it for 15 minutes. Add green cardamom and 2 spoonful of honey. Stir for another 20 minutes. Check the consistency for thickness.
Garnish it with grated coconut and serve J
I am sure you will love both the recipes. I would like to hear from you as well
Next week I will share my experience on chat puja.
Happy Diwali and say no to crackers. J