Friday, March 27, 2009

Ugadi – A New Beginning!!!

“Yuga YugAdi KaLedaru,
YugAdi MaraLi Baruthide
Hosa Varushake, Hosa Harushava
Hosathu Hosathu Tarutide..."

This is part of a famous kannada song of Yugadi by D.R. Bendre (1 of the Jnanapeeth Award winning kannada poet). Meaning of the song is something like this…. “Ages after ages, Yugadi keeps on coming…bringing with it new joy of the New Year…”

Ugadi = Yuga (era) + aadi (beginning), the beginning of an era. The festival marks the New Year day for the people of southern India. Also I think the arrival of spring with new life in flowers-fruits in some way symbolically marks the beginning of existence.

If I remember back home, Ugadi starts with the shopping season much before the actual day of the festival – people throng to markets to buy new clothes, flowers, and sweets and of course home appliances on sale, attractive advts and offers…really captivating!

Ugadi is celebrated as a family event jointly at mom’s place –> all my uncle-aunt’s families get together @ our place to celebrate the festival.
On the actual day of the festival, my aunt used to start off with the main door decorated with fresh mango leaves + neem leaves tied as string (thorana) and the front yards decorated with adorable colorful rangolis (row of colours drawn with finely ground white powder or some colors). Then comes the Abhyanga, where my sis and myself would have been given strict instructions the previsous day itself by my dad to wakeup early in the morning and finish off with a well oiled hair wash and be ready for the Pooja. (We both managed to please our dad :d). Meanwhile the Pooja room’s shining black granite floor would be wiped, rangolied, with all the pooja items arranged for my dad to start off the Pooja. On Ugadi the ‘Panchanga’ (religious almanac) is also kept along with other Gods and worshiped. I remember my dad used to do the pooja with his reference book beside, stumbling on verses and my proud granny being the only spectator of her son and daughter–in-law. Bet you she had all the zeal to stand there and watch the ‘devarapooje’ for almost 1hour and also help my mom in the cooking even at the age of 80. A silver thali with 5 small silver cups consisting of Panchamrata i.e the milk- banana-sugar- honey-mosaru-, 5 varities of fruits, coconut along with its water and the key item of the day i.e. the combo of beevu-bella (literally means neem-jaggery, the combo wud comprise of tender leaves-flowers of neem and jaggery) would be ready for Naivedyam.

‘Bevu(bitterness)+bella(sweetness)’ mixture signifies the fact that our life is a combination of happy and sorrow events and both should be accepted equally. Later during the day this mixture is offered to the known acquaintances.
I simply loved this scene of our Pooja Room with dazzling deepas (lamps) + colorful rangolis and the smell of jasmine flowers.

After the Gods Naivedyam comes our Naivedyam :-p. As my dad gives a finishing touches to the pooja my mom equally would be ready with ‘Habbada Oota’ i.e. the festival food, with a popular menu followed in Karnataka i.e kosambri, bisibelebath, Gasagase payasa (khus khus), hoLige, ambode…to name a few.

In the Evening Panchanga Shravana or listening to the Hindu astrological calendar (yearly calendar) is also an important event of the day. Typically, this happens in a temple with an elderly person or a well-learned scholar refers to the Panchanga pertaining to the coming year (this year it is ‘Virodhi’ samvatsara) and makes a general blessing to all the people present in the gathering. This evokes a scenario where we all used to be infront of the ‘idiot box’ for my granny to pass a standard dialogue: lately with changing times, advent of TV has made people to just switch it on to watch the broadcast of ‘Panchanga Shravana’ recitation at the comfort of their homes :d

Ugadi celebrations also include literary discussions, poetry recitations and also authors being recognized with awards that are conducted at various cultural halls. The best was ‘Harate mallara haasyotsava’ (a humor program televised) munching on hot hot ambodes with tea in the evening Yuuuummmmyyyy :)!

For me now in UK, becomes a vital part, as I would have to inculcate our Indian tradition and culture in my son – it makes me more vigilant and custom bound :). So we did try making the scene something similar to the one mentioned above with the available resources but I think we would be infront of ‘Youtube’ for ‘Panchanga Shravana’ rather than Television ;) {Wish my granny was here to dialogue on this too}

Here goes the recipe for one of the key sweet dishes on this occasion BeLe HoLige or Pooran Poli /Obbattu / Bobbattu in different languages. The recipe I am giving below makes around 20 holiges.

The Making of the HoLige begins with preparing the Hoorna i.e the stuffing
You will need
Togari beLe/Toor dal – 1 ¼ Cup
Kadale beLe/ Chana dal – ¾ Cup
Grated Jaggery – 2 Cups
Cardomom powder – ½ tspn
Water – 4 Cups

  • Pressure cook both the lentils with water till they are soft. Once the pressure is released, the broth is removed and kept aside. (you can use this broth to make‘hoorna da saaru’ – a nutritious soup)
  • Add Jaggery to the cooked lentils and mix well and bring it to boil on a low-medium heat.
  • Now further cook till the mixture thickens and comes to a halwa consistency on low heat as shown in the fig ( you can note that the sides of the vessel starts drying). Make sure you stir the mixture in between as it might catch the bottom.
  • Next blend cardomom powder to get the additioanl aroma, this constitutes the hoorna.
    Take off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Then the stuffing is sieved through a steel utensil made specifically for Hoorna to achieve a smoother consistency. Here I generally grind it in a mixie or a food processor due to the unavailability of the tool.

    Next comes preparing the KaNaka i.e the dough
    You will need
    All purpose flour/ Maida – 1 ½ Cup
    Wheat flour – ½ Cup
    Pinch of salt
    Turmeric – ¼ tspn
    Oil – 2Tbspn for mixing and ½ cup for soaking the kanaka

  • Mix and knead all the ingredients with water to make a smooth dough which is slightly softer than the chapathi dough. Leave this soaked in oil for a few hours.
  • Keep kneading the dough in between to make it more stretchy. It should be stretchy because HoLige tastes best when the kaNaka(dough) is really thin just to hold the hoorna(stuffing) together, which I feel is the most difficult part.

    Now with both hoorna(stuffing) and the kaNaka(dough) HoLige can ge rolled out
  • Take a small amount of kanaka and pat it to a medium sized circle on your palm.
  • Place a golf ball size of the hoorna at the centre of this dough and wrap around the hoorna to make a ball ( something similar to what we do for alu paratas) & make sure to close the tip well.
  • Gently pat to flatten it, then using a rolling pin roll carefully into a large, thin circular pancake shape ( Here I have used 2 thick greased plastic sheets to easen the task – keep the patties in between the sheets and roll it as shown in the fig below).
  • Meanwhile keep a griddle on medium heat. Transfer the rolled pancake over the hot griddle while reducing the heat to low. Roast it with some ghee, turn over and apply some more ghee. Repeat this till they are golden brownish in color giving out a nice aroma.
  • HoLige is ready to be eaten now.

    These HoLiges can be refrigerated in a air tight container and stored upto 1week or 10days.

    Tip : HoLige turns out best when rolled on a greased plantain leaf (baaLe ele). The Plantain leaf is then inverted on the hot griddle, the hoLige tends to adhere to the griddle as it is hot. Using a spatula one of the edge of the hoLige is detained on the griddle, while the plantain leaf is peeled away by hand. This leaves the hoLige on the griddle and thereafter the same procedure is followed as mentioned above.
    If the HoLiges are refrigerated they might slightly become firm, then you can microwave it for 5-10secs & top it with ghee just before serving.

    Serving Suggestions : HoLige itself is quite sweet and often eaten as such. If you want to eat/serve it in a ‘maduve mane ootada’ style (wedding meal stlyle), then top it with a spoonful of ghee and a cup of warm milk.
    Some prefer to eat hoLige with ‘mavina haNNina seekarne’ (squeezed mango pulp+milk+cardomom powder).
    People with sweet tooth can top it with some castor sugar and warm milk.

    Whether you celebrate Ugadi or not try out new dishes and let Ugadi bring joy and fame to you all!!

    Ugadi Shubhashayagalu! Wishing you all a very happy Ugadi and a bright year ahead!


  1. Wow!! Looks soooo yummy:) Perfect for Yugadi!!

  2. superrrrrrrrrrrrr dearrrrrrrrr :) :) my mouth's watering :)..

  3. Hey Rashmi it would be nice if you specify how many holiges(of the size shown in pics), or how many ppl it serves..

  4. @ archana slipped out of my mind to make a note of it here...adding it right away, thx for reminding me :)

  5. Hey Rashmi, Thanks a lot for such wonderful description, we tried it and loved it:). And using plastic sheet made the whole process sooo easy!!

  6. Hi Arcs!
    Good to hear that u liked and tried making of Holige :)....thanks for your cheering note :)!!

  7. Love your blog dear.. gr8 recipes.. :D


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