Pumpkin season is right around the corner here in the United States. Perfect time for Ganesh Chaturthi Prasad. Why not take advantage this season? Pumpkins are actually very healthy! They are low in calories, fat and sodium, and rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber! Pumpkins may not be available in every region. You can certainly substitute pumpkin with sweet potato. Follow same cooking instruction. But cooking time may vary. This dish can certainly be made vegan. It takes very less milk. Replace milk with coconut milk.
Ganesh Chaturthi is also a festival of food. Lord Ganesh is said to be a foodie. His favorites varieties of Prasad are modak, kheer, Puran Poli, undrallu, kudumulu, and the list goes on. Foodies wait for mouth-watering food made of grated jaggery, coconuts, and dry fruits.
Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is celebrated on 4th day of Hindu lunar calendar month of Bhadrapada maasa. Which is usually in mid-August to mid-September. Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day-long festival every year. It is the most popular festival of Maharashtra. It is said Ganesh Chaturthi was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji and It is been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers: Satavahana, Chalukya, and Rashtrakuta. Now it is mainly celebrated in southern states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh. Among them, Maharashtra is the state known for high scale celebrations.
This dish is mimicked out of paala undrallu natively made for Ganesh Chaturthi in southern parts of India. It is made of fresh rice balls immersed in milk, jaggery, coconut and sesame gravy. I make my own rice flour at home every year for Ganesh Chaturthi. All of the typical south Indian Ganesh Chaturthi sweets are made of rice flour. Rice balls come out hard with store bought rice flour. The trick is to not dry rice completely after soaking.
Pumpkin is an inexpensive source of vitamins and fiber. But pumpkin is huge. Can you use up the whole pumpkin? Not. You can cook pumpkin and freeze to use all year round. It is not just great for lentils, soups, and stews as well as a good addition to baking.
I hope this dish brings high spirit to you and your family to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi.
- For rice flour
- 1 cup rice
- For gravy
- ½ cup cooked pumpkin or sweet potato puree
- ½ cup Milk (vegans use coconut milk)
- ¼ to ½ cup Powdered Jaggery
- ½ tsp Cardamom Powder
- ¼ cup freshly ground poppy seeds powder. (Substitute with coconut if you don't have)
- 1 tsp Ghee (vegans can use coconut oil)
- One to three days before: Wash rice for 1-2 hours. Then drain water, and spread on a towel to dry. Dry for 1-2 hours depending on heat. Do not let it dry completely. Rice shouldn't have any dripping water. You should feel slight moisture. This time is perfect to grind.
- Grind rice to flour. Do not store in tight container. For best results, take a wide baking dish, or plate, spread flour and loosely cover. If stored in a tight container, since it has moisture, fungus will develop in 1-2 days.
- On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi,
- for pumpkin gravy
- Add water to a pot or pressure cooker. Cook pumpkin or sweet potato till soft. Turn off the stove. Mash along with water to make it thin watery consistency. Add water if necessary.
- For rice balls
- Take 1 cup of water. Boil in a pot. When boiling, simmer and slowly add rice flour. Make sure of no lumps. Stir and boil for 5-8 minutes with lid closed. When flour absorbs 80% of water, close lid and turn off the stove. Let it cool.
- When cooled, take a small sized dough. Roll into a ball. Dip fingers in ghee if the dough is sticking. Keep aside.
- Now we will prepare gravy. While you make a dough ball, gravy can be boiled.
- Bring milk or coconut milk and a quarter cup of water to a boil. Add jaggery, pumpkin puree, ghee and mix well.
- Reduce the flame, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add poppy seeds powder, cardamom. Switch off the flame and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Then add the dough balls to the gravy and cook for 8 - 10 minutes.
- Serve hot.