As the occasion of Basant Panchami, which marks the onset of the spring season, is just around the corner, people are gearing up to seek blessings from Goddess Saraswati, who is considered as the deity of wisdom, intellect, and learning.
Associated with yellow color, the festival of Basant Panchami also marks the start of preparation for Holika and Holi, which occurs nearly 40 days later. But every festival is incomplete without some delicious dishes to gorge on, and if you are planning to prepare something lip-smacking this Basant Panchami then we have got you all covered!
Ex Radisson Chef Anil Dahiya suggested a list of delicacies that one can savor on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami:
Sweet Saffron Rice
- One cup long-grained basmati rice
- Six tbsp ghee
- Two tbsps almonds chopped
- Two tbsps pistachios chopped
- Two tbsps cashew nuts chopped
- Two tbsps cranberries chopped
- Two tbsps raisins
- Two cardamoms green
- One bay leaf
- Two cinnamon sticks
- Six cloves
- Half cup sugar syrup (Chashni)
- Two tbsps milk
- Two cups water
- One pinch of saffron sachet powder
- Rose petals for garnishing
Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Heat ghee in a pan, and then add the chopped nuts and dried fruit. Saute on medium flame until cashews are golden brown and raisins are puffed up. In the remaining ghee, add the cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir for one minute or so until the cinnamon unfurls and cloves are puffed up. In another bowl, wash rice and drain them and add to the pan. Toast the rice with the spices on a medium flame for two to three minutes. Then add two cups of water. Bring this to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the flame, cover with a lid and allow to cook for eight minutes. Then, mix the saffron powder in the milk, pour sugar syrup, and saffron on rice. Gently toss the rice in the saffron milk until it gets a uniformly golden hue. Remove the pan from the flame. Mix half the fruit-nut mix into the rice. Remove this onto a platter. Garnish with the leftover fruit-nut mix rose petals.
Bengali Cauliflower and Potato Curry
- Cauliflower – 250 gms
- One large potato
- One piece of cinnamon
- Three cloves
- One bay leaf
- One tsp cumin seeds
- Half tsp chili powder
- Two large pinches of turmeric
- Three tbsp of mustard oil
- Salt to taste
Peel and cut the potato into 1/2” cubes. Clean and break the cauliflower into small florets. In a wok or kadhai, heat the mustard oil. Add the cumin seeds and wait till they start to change color. Add the bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon. Stir fry for 10 seconds. Add potato and stir fry for five minutes. Add cauliflower and stir fry for five minutes. Add one cup of water. Cook covered till the potato and cauliflower are parboiled.
Turmeric Ber Fruit Smoothie
- One cup of almond or any other milk curd
- Half tsp of turmeric juice
- 10 sweet Ber fruit seedless
- One tsp of honey
- Five soaked almonds
- Half tsp of cardamom powder
Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until all the ingredients are mixed properly. Warm the milk (optional) and it’s ready to serve!
Makkai Kesari Halwa (Polenta Halwa)
- One-third of Makkai fine Dalia or polenta
- One-third cup of sugar
- One-third cup of ghee
- One-fourth tsp of cardamom powder
- Two or three cups of hot water
- Roasted dry nuts
- Two tbsp of khoya
- Four to six drops of yellow or orange food color
In a pan, heat the ghee. Add the polenta and saute for about five minutes. When the polenta gives off a gentle aroma, add the sugar ad cardamom powder. Now add the water and food color and mix well. Over medium flame, cook till the water is absorbed and the polenta Kesari is slightly translucent. Turn off the heat and let the Kesari cool to room temperature. Using a spoon or a fork, mix the Polenta Kesari well so that it becomes a bit crumbly. Garnish with roasted nuts and grated khoya. Served with poori.
Masala Jhaal Muri
- Two tbsp of mustard oil
- One cup of peanuts (raw)
- Half cup roasted gram dal/Dalia
- 10-15 curry leaves
- Two tsp Asafetida or Hing
- Two tsp of turmeric
- Salt to taste
- Two tbsp boiled potatoes
- Eight cups of puffed rice or brown puffed rice
- Two tsp of red chili powder
- One cup of sev fried chickpea noodles (optional)
Heat oil in a pot, add peanuts, and stir well. Add roasted gram dal and curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, salt and mix well. Add in puffed rice and stir well. Add in the red chili and mix well to combine. Add sev and potatoes, again mix it well. Serve with tea and enjoy.
Apart from these lip-smacking dishes, one could also treat their taste buds with sweets such as Rajbhog, and Sondesh. These sweets are first offered to Goddess Saraswati and then distributed among the devotees celebrating the occasion.
Here’s wishing all our readers a very happy Basant Panchami 2021!