Ninth day – Payasam (Vermicelli & Tapioca in milk) – Semya + saggu biyyam Payasam – తొమ్మిదవ రోజు – నవమి – పాయసం
Eighth day – Chakrapongali (sweet pongal) – ఎనిమదవ రోజు – అష్టమి – చక్కెర పొంగలి
1. Basmati rice – 1/4 cup
2. Moong dal – 1/4 cup
3. Brown sugar (bellam) – 1/2 cup
4. ghee or butter – 5 to 6 table spoons
5. cashew, almond, raisins, pistachio – few of each
7. little paccha karpuram (food camphor)
8. little cardamom powder
1. Pressure cook rice and dal. make brown sugar syrup – add some water to brown sugar and boil it for 5 minutes and add the cooked rice and dal to it. Stir it until the mix becomes thick by adding butter or ghee to it occasionally.
2. add all the nuts (make small pieces of nuts) to the mix and add saffron, cardamom powded and camphor to it.
Seventh day – Sekhannam (vegetable rice) – ఏడవ రోజు – సప్తమి – శాకాన్నము.
I never heard of Sekhannam in my life eventhough I know ‘sekha’ means vegetarian. I do not know the recipe per se. I found it on net. I am not able to find it now. Anyways the essence is it is made with nine vegetables and 5 spices. The recipe listed some vegetables but I would like to go with mine.
1. Basmati Rice – 3 cups
2. Potato, plum tomato, carrot – 2 of each
3. Beet root – I big
4. Cauliflower, Broccoli – 8 to 9 small florets of each one
5. String Beans – 10
6. Green peas – 1/2 cup
7. Brussel Sprouts – 7 to 8
8. Onions – 2 medium size
9. Green chilly – 7 to 8
10. ginger small piece (this is my addition to the recipe)
11. Cloves, Cardamom – 10 each
12. cinnamon stick – 2 inch pieces
13. butter or ghee
14. cashews, raisins, almonds
15. coconut powder – 4 to 5 table spoons
16. Salt to taste
1. Cook rice separately in a rice cooker or pressure cooker – I usually put 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.
2. Lightly I boiled vegetables (Potato, Carrot separately, beet root separately, cauliflower and broccoli separately). I have bought frozen Brussel Sprouts.
3. Add ghee to a big pan, roast some cashew and raisins and some almond slices, then add onions and green chilly (chillies are cut into vertically, and onions too as thin long pieces) and grounded ginger , when the onions are turning little brownish, add all lightly boiled vegetables and add some salt to taste and let them cook for 10 minutes.
4. Make a powder of cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.
5. Add the cooked rice and the spices powder, coconut powder to the vegetables container with a low flame on the stove and mix the rice well into vegetables. Leave the stove on a low flame another 5 to 10 minutes.
So the Sakhannam is ready. It really came out very tasty.
Fourth day – Garaelu (made with urud dal – type of an Indian lentil) – నాలుగవ రోజు – చవితి – గారెలు
This time I have added 2 to 3 spoons of ‘atukulu’ when I was grinding the urud dal to get more soft ones. And made allam pachhadi (ginger pickle) which is the trademark combination for Garaelu. Allam pachhadi is a new addition to my cuisine. I wish I could have made sambar too which is another great combination.
During my visit to India few months ago, My elder brother told me a list of things my mom used to make exquisitely delicious, whatever he was saying I told him I would do them the following day – coconut rice, garaelu, pergu vaada etc,, and when he mentioned about allam pachhadi and that too with stone pestle and mortar, I just gave up with folded hands and he even tried to enter into the domain of non-vegetarian dishes (my mom’s unbeatable, un-encroachable domain for any of us), I told him to forget and stop pinning any hopes on me in that field. First time, after I left India 30 years ago (of course I have been visiting India frequently) , I cooked at my brother’s place for 3 days continuously – everyday some special dishes for almost 15 people. Last month I felt like making Allam pachhadi for my brother (this is the first time I made it in my entire culinary life) when I was offering him prasadam (he passed away exactly a month ago). And today also in the name of Goddess, I offered garaelu and allam pachadi for him too. I hope you like it annayya. I wish I did with pestle and mortar but I do not have that equipment so I had to use the grinder.
Third Day – Coconut Rice – మూడవ రోజు – తదియ – కొబ్బరి అన్నం
My mom used to cook this dish in a specialized way which I haven’t seen anywhere, may be at my maternal aunts’ places, but do not have vivid memories of it. We are a big family and almost always people are coming in and going, relatives, my dad’s close family friends’ kids who used to stay in the hostel but very much part of our family. Whenever my mom cooked this dish, there had to be Chicken curry to go along with it. We did not have gas stoves at that time. Used sometraditional cooking arrangement with wood as the source of fire (gaadi poyya in telugu). She used to cook this in a big container like the ones they used in wedding parties, after almost done with cooking, she placed a huge copper plate with burning coal on the top of the container and let it get cooked evenly. She had a special expertise in making these two dishes, may be she has inherited from her mother. I always thought kobbari Annam (coconut rice) means what my mom makes until one day I ate this dish in Andhra University Canteen (my father had served as Andhra University Senate and Syndicate member for several years and we used to go with him sometimes when he had meetings, stayed at the faculty club which was across the canteen), and then realized that this dish was made completely different in some places from what my mom used to make. I always love and cherish the way my mom makes it. Especially the copper plate with burning coal added some special touch to the whole recipe.
For some of those, my twitter and facebook followers, who do not know about Devi Navarathrulu, a small explanation – Nine days of festivals praying to the Mother Goddess. We make some special dishes on each day to offer to the Goddess.
Why confusion – I made these two dishes
రెండవ రోజు – విదియ పులిహోర
Do not think I am trying to write anything on the spiritual side.
శరన్నవరాత్రులు – నైవేద్యాలు by Brahmasri Chaganti Koteswara RAO
పరాశక్తిని నవరాత్రులు ఆరాధి౦చడ౦ అత్య౦త శుభప్రద౦. ఈనవరాత్రులూ జగద౦బను ఆరాధి౦చే వారికి సర్వమ౦గళములూ స౦ప్రాప్తిస్తాయి. వారి వారి విధానాలను అనుసరి౦చి జగద౦బను ఆరాధి౦చాలి. ఈ రోజులలో అమ్మవారికి ప్రత్యేక నైవేద్యాలు కూడా పెట్టడ౦ జరుగుతో౦ది.
అ౦తేకాక నరాత్రులలో దేవీభాగవత పఠన౦ మిక్కిలి ఫలదాయక౦. కుదరని వారు దేవీభాగవత౦లోని దేవీగీతలు అయినా చదివి అమ్మవారి కృపకు పాత్రులు అవుదాము.
So I started with the food …
మొదటి రోజు – పాడ్యమి – కట్టుపొంగలి
(There is a list with the item for each day. I have decided to go with this Naivedyalu list, I happened to see this from Padma V Putta (on Facebook) shared post last night when I was about to sleep and decided to follow this). How I made this Pongal today is a miracle, not preparation wise, but having the ingredients at home, the main one rice itself. Recently I am using brown Basmati rice and not having white rice at home. I had to go to grocery store to buy it and I do not have one close to home. I came from exercise class around 10:30 am and I was supposed to go to a family friend’s place for lunch. So I did not have any option, and I had to wait until evening to prepare this dish which I was not completely happy with as I wanted to offer naivedyam to Ammavaru in the morning itself. Then I suddenly remembered that I have kept some rice in a ziplock bag just before consuming the white basmati rice last month. It was a real miracle that I opened the cupboard in the kitchen and that was the first thing I laid my hands on without my knowledge that the ziplock bag was there behind another item in that cupboard. I strongly felt that Ammavaru wanted this list of naivedyams from me during this Navarathri period.
Somehow immediately I remembered this following dialogue from a movie (Soothradharulu, I guess), “manishi sankalpum chesthadu devudu daniki ayuvu posthadu” – మనిషి సంకల్పం చేస్తాడు దేవుడు దానికి ఆయువు పోస్తాడు .
I experience god in everything I do, everything happens to me – good or bad, in all mundane matters, I get all the strength from HIM only. I do not do any special poojas, just deeparadhana every day morning, before I even take my tea in the morning – same routine weekday or weekend. I link anything and everything to HIM. So that is the reason I even relate my preparation of Pongal today is His wish and His will.