Every year around the second week of September, people all over India get ready to celebrate one of the most awaited festivals of the year - Ganesh Chaturthi. They buy new clothes, presents for their loved ones, prepare delicious foods, decorate their houses, and are generally in high spirits. It is truly a wonderful time of the year when people come together with their families and friends and cherish time spent together in the form of traditional activities.
The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi signifies the arrival of Ganesha to earth from the mountain top of Kailash Parbat, where his mother Parvati and Lord Shiva reside. Naturally, the types of delicacies prepared are those that are known to be loved by Lord Ganesha, the most significant one being Modaks. These delicacies, although delicious, are usually rich in fat and sugar because of the ingredients used to prepare them. However, these Ganesh Chaturthi dishes can easily be replicated using some healthy substitutes as well, which not only result in the exact same flavors but also provide some healthy side benefits. Here are some traditional Ganesh Chaturthi recipes made using some healthy ingredients:
Lightly Fried Modak
This crispy and delicious treat is said to be Lord Ganesha’s favorite sweet! Frying using organic ghee instead of oil and replacing sugar with jaggery powder are some of the simplest steps that can be taken to make these treats healthier. Ghee contains healthy fats and vitamins and jaggery is a natural sweetener, both of which are better for heart health. Here is the recipe for one of the best Ganesh Chaturthi sweets:
Ingredients (For the Crust):
• 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
• ½ tsp Black Salt
• 2 tbsp Organic ghee
• Water as required
• 4 tbsp Organic ghee (for frying)
Ingredients (For the Stuffing):
• 1 ½ cups Jaggery Powder
• 1 ½ cups freshly grated coconut
• 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
• 1 ½ tsp cardamom powder
• 1-2 pinches of grated nutmeg
• ½ cup water
• With the ingredients mentioned "for the crust", make a smooth but stiff and firm dough. Cover and keep the dough aside for 20-30 minutes.
• Mix all the stuffing ingredients as listed under "for the stuffing".
• Cook and stir on low or medium heat till the mixture is soft, cooked, and looks moist. There should be no water in the filling mixture. Keep aside the filling mixture to cool.
• Roll a small ball of dough to form a neat ball.
• Roll out to a thin or medium-thin circle of about 3 to 4.5 inches in diameter after lightly dusting with flour. Place the circle of rolled dough on the rolling board. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sweet filling to the center. Brush a little water on the edges. Join and pinch the edges one by one.
• Bring the pinched folds to the center and join them tightly.
•Seal the modak very well. While frying, any small opening will cause the filling to escape into the oil.
• In a pan, heat oil to medium heat. Add the prepared modaks to the hot ghee once it has become hot.
• With a slotted spoon, turn them gently over and continue to fry. Once done, remove the modaks and place them on kitchen paper to drain as much ghee as possible from the pan. Fry the remaining modaks in batches in this manner. Serve hot!
Puran Poli is a sweet flatbread stuffed with a lentil filling made from split yellow lentils and jaggery. It is one of the best Ganesh Chaturthi dishes! Using organic ghee in this recipe ensures that the puran poli will be healthier and more aromatic!
• 500g jaggery powder
• 1 tsp cardamom powder
• 2 cups split yellow lentils
• 1 and 1/2 cups finely-grated coconut
• 350g flour
• A pinch of salt
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• Organic ghee as required
• Soak the lentils for a short while.
• Add the flour, salt, turmeric, and half a cup of water (or less) to a large bowl and knead the dough.
• While kneading, add 2 tbsp of ghee every time so the mixture becomes sticky. After the dough has been properly kneaded, let it rest for at least 2 hours (or even overnight).
• For the stuffing, cook the lentils in an open pan with lots of water (5 cups approximately) until tender but not mushy. If you wish, drain the water and use it to make the accompanying saaru. Let it cool and then grind it with the coconut, jaggery, and cardamom without adding any water until it forms a smooth paste.
• Stir the mixture on a low flame until it becomes thicker, then let it cool. To make the little balls, divide the dough and the lentil-coconut mixture into equal portions.
• After rolling each sphere of dough like a puri, place a sphere of stuffing on it and then cover it with dough. Roll out the sphere carefully on greased butter paper into roti size, then cook it on a greased tawa until golden, adding ghee around the edges as it cooks. Once it is golden-brown, take it off the flame and serve with a blob of ghee!
A classic rice dish that is flavored with coconut milk, cinnamon, cashew nuts, and chilies. Substituting cooking oil for organic ghee in this recipe makes for a much more aromatic and heart-healthy rice dish!
• 1 cup Basmati rice
• 1 ½ cup coconut milk
• ½ cup water
• 3 cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 onion
• 4 chilies
• 1 tomato
• Organic ghee as required
• Salt to taste
• Melt 2 tbsp of organic ghee in a pressure cooker pot.
• Add cloves, cinnamon, cashew nuts, sliced onions, chopped chilies, and saute until the onions become transparent. Then add tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and let it toast for a few minutes.
• Add in the coconut milk, water, and salt. After the water comes to a boil, close the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes on a low flame. Serve the rice hot once it is done!
Medu vada is one of the best Indian snacks or breakfast options and can be prepared at home without much effort. This delicacy is particularly enjoyed during Ganesh Chaturthi in the South, and can be made a little healthier by using organic ghee for frying!
• 500g Urad Dal (soaked overnight)
• 2-3 green chilies finely chopped
• ¼ cup ginger finely chopped
• 1 cup grated coconut
• 1 sprig of curry leaves
• 1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp whole black pepper
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• 5 tbsp organic ghee
• Salt to taste
• Grind the soaked urad dal into a fine paste. Set aside for 30 minutes.
• In a blender, combine salt, chopped green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, black pepper, and grated coconut with some water. Blend again to make a smooth and fluffy batter.
• Take a blob of batter in your hand and make a hole in the middle. Heat the ghee in a pan. Drop the batter into it carefully with your hand.
• Cook the vadas until they are golden brown on both sides.
• Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar!
Ganesh Chaturthi is an extremely beloved festival full of age-old traditions that bring the country together every year. Delicious food, colorful attire, and cheerful festivities mark this celebration as people gather together in high spirits. This year, let your celebration be a little healthier with the help of these recipes, and surprise your loved ones with homemade Ganesh Chaturthi delicacies!