The Ugadi new year is almost upon us! Ugadi is the holiday that marks the beginning of the new year in the Hindu calendar. Also known as Baisakhi and Gudi Padwa, it is celebrated during early April when the spring season begins. It is believed that Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, began creating the Earth on this day. This spiritual significance combined with the blooming of flowers and arrival of spring marks the fresh beginning that the Ugadi festival signifies.
There are many ways in which people celebrate this festival, whether it’s by decorating their houses using fresh mango leaves or by making rangolis, and most importantly by preparing a variety of Ugadi special dishes. Eating snacks and sweet foods is a tradition during this festival and there are many different types of delicacies that people enjoy. Here we have compiled a list of some of the most popular Ugadi recipes that are prepared and enjoyed during this festival.
The Infamous Ugadi Pachadi
We cannot talk about Ugadi without mentioning Ugadi Pachadi. This is a classic dish that incorporates all 5 tastes - sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. It is a very rich dish as it is made using dried fruits, fruits, nuts, and spices. This Ugadi special food is enjoyed by people of all ages during this festival. Here is the Ugadi Pachadi recipe.
- 1 raw mango, peeled and chopped
- 3-4 raw sprigs of neem leaves with flowers
- ½ ripe banana, chopped
- 3-4 cashews, chopped
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 pinch pink salt
- 3 tbsp jaggery powder
- 1 pinch pepper powder
- Soak the tamarind in ½ cup of warm water till it softens.
- Separate the flowers from the sprigs of neem leaves.
- Add the jaggery powder to 1 cup of water and let it dissolve to form a syrup-like mixture. Add the tamarind water to the same bowl.
- Add the chopped mango, banana, and neem flowers to the bowl, then add the salt and pepper powder. Stir in the cashews as well.
- Mix it well. The neem flowers bring the bitterness, the jaggery brings the sweetness, the salt adds saltiness, raw mango provides the sourness and pepper provides the spice.
- Serve it and enjoy!
The Mouth-Watering Rice Payasam
Rice payasam is an extremely popular sweet dish enjoyed especially in South India and is very similar to Kheer in the North. It is served during many special occasions, particularly Ugadi and is a very rich dessert that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Here is the recipe for a Rice Payasam.
- 4 cups of milk
- ½ cup of sona masuri rice
- 1 tsp of green cardamom powder (or 3-4 crushed)
- ¾ cup of jaggery powder
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 5-6 cashews
- 7-8 raisins
- Wash the rice and soak it in water for 10 minutes.
- Place a heavy-bottom pot on medium flame and pour the milk in. Bring it to a boil.
- In a separate pan, mix the jaggery powder with water and bring it to a boil until it forms a thick, syrup-like mixture. Set aside and let cool.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, add the rice and let it cook till the rice becomes soft and mushy. You can mash the rice with a ladle as well.
- Take the milk mixture off the heat, then add the jaggery syrup. Mix well, then add cardamom powder and again mix well.
- In a separate pan, heat the ghee till it melts, then add cashews and raisins and saute till they become golden brown.
- Add the ghee and dried fruits mixture to the payasam mixture as a topping.
- Serve in a bowl and enjoy!
The Crispy Mysore Bonda
Mysore bonda is a traditional vada made using primarily urad dal and spices. It is very popular as a snack in South India and is often eaten with chutney or spicy masala sauce. Here is the recipe for one of the most loved Ugadi special dishes, Mysore Bonda.
- 1 cup urad dal (whole)
- 1 finely chopped green chilli
- 1 tsp whole black pepper
- ½ tsp asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- ½ bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Sunflower oil (or ghee) for pan-frying
- Pre-soak the urad dal in water for 2 hours.
- Drain the urad dal, and finely grind with the green chilli to form a thick batter for the bonda.
- Transfer the batter into a mixing bowl and stir in the black pepper, asafoetida, salt, and chopped coriander leaves. Incorporate the ingredients well into the batter.
- Preheat a frying pan and add the sunflower oil or ghee into the frying pan. Once the oil is hot, scoop the batter into round pieces and place in the pan. Fry them until they are golden. Make sure to cook all the sides evenly to ensure that the bondas have cooked through and they retain their shape.
- Once they are golden brown and crispy, transfer them to a plate and pat dry the excess oil off using tissue paper. Serve hot!
These are just a few of the recipes for Ugadi special foods that are enjoyed during the Ugadi festival. It is a time when people don’t pay too much attention to the richness of the sweets and snacks that they eat because of the festive mood they are in. However, using healthier alternatives for some of the ingredients can improve the nutritious value of these dishes. Using ghee instead of oil is beneficial due to the presence of butyrate in ghee, which aids digestion and has a lot of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K. Similarly, substituting sugar for jaggery is healthy since jaggery is helpful in controlling blood sugar levels given its sodium and potassium content, and it aids in liver detoxification.
We hope you enjoy a safe and healthy Ugadi, and prepare some of these classic Ugadi recipes!