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Friday, 4 September 2015

Narayani Sheera / Janmashtami Special / Festive Cooking / Ekadashi Vrat Prasadam

Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is an annual celebration  of the birth of Hindu deity Shri Krishna, the eight avatar of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day ( Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksh ( dark fortnight) of the month of Sravan ( August - September) in the Hindu Calender. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami festival for 2 full days . Devotees spent first day of the festivity by fasting, singing songs, chanting mantras and preparing Krishna's favourite foods , mostly sweet milk based dishes to be offered to Lord Krishna as Prasad / Bhog at midnight , the time when Krishna is believed to be born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in cradles and swings in temples and homes. It is believed that rocking of this cradle fulfills ones wishes. Fasting is broken by eating the Prasad at midnight.

Since my childhood , I have been fasting on this day and celebrating Janmashtami festival with my family. This was most awaited festival for us apart from Ganesh Chaturthi. Many types of sweet dishes like Dry Fruit Ladoo, Nariyal Barfi,  Suji and Coconut ladoo, Narayani Sheera , Panchamrut  Dhaniya and Khopra ladoo etc are offered as Naivedhyam to Shri Krishna.

Today I am going to share the recipe of Narayani Sheera . Narayani sheera, the name itself denotes that this is the food to be offered to Lord Narayan (Krishna / Vishnu). This sheera is also offered as Bhog / Prasad for Satyanarayan Katha and Ekadashi vrat.

The Narayani Sheera is a sweet preparation made from Suji / Semolina , Cow Ghee, Milk, Sugar, Banana and Dry fruits. Very delicious and healthy, this sheera can also be taken as breakfast or as dessert during winters as it gives warmth to our body. It is called Suji ka halwa in Hindi. Generally the main ingredients ( Ghee , Sugar and Suji )are taken in equal quantities , Milk is added in more quantity. Dry fruits (I have used Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios and Raisins) , Saffron , Cardamom and Nutmeg make it rich and impart nice aroma to the dish.  In this recipe, I have added less amount of ghee.

Ingredients: Serves 4
(Measurements, 1 Cup - 200 ml)
  • Semolina / Suji / Rava - 1/2 Cup 
  • Sugar -1/2 Cup
  • Ghee - 4-5 tbsp
  • Milk  -1 1/2 Cup
  • Dry Fruits and Raisins - (1/4 cup)
  • Saffron few strands
  • Cardamom and Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ripen Banana - 1 medium size
Method :
  1. Heat up Ghee in a wok at medium heat. Add sliced or mashed Banana and fry till aromatic and golden brown in colour.

  2.  Now add the Suji and roast it on a low to medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until it turns pink in colour . Now add the dry fruits and raisins and roast them nicely.

   3.  Add hot boiled Cow milk to the roasted Suji mixture and stir continuously until the milk is completely soaked.  Add the Saffron dissolved milk to it and mix well.

   4. Once all the milk is soaked up, at this stage add the sugar and mix well and keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

  5.  Stir continuously until the sheera no longer sticks to the sides of the wok. Add the cardamom and nutmeg powder at this stage. Mix well and turn off the heat.

  6. Serve hot . If offering to Lord Krishna do keep Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves and then offer.

                          Happy Janmashtami Wishes In Advance !!

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