Today is Basant Panchami, a festival that marks the beginning of harvest and spring, a day which is devoted to Maa Saraswati. She is a goddess of knowledge, wisdom and music. On this day, we thank maa for giving us everything we have and pray for granting us Bal, Buddhi and Vidya. In India, different states celebrate this festival in different ways. We make variety of sweets generally in yellow color flavoured with saffron (Kesar) and wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers/fruits/ food to Maa Saraswati. Like in Punjab, Jaggery rice or gur chawal are made. In Bihar, kesari kheer is made. In Bengal, they make Boondi Laddo and Rice Khichdi. Belonging to a Punjabi family, I had sweet rice all my life and I just loved them. However, I never knew how to cook them until I got married. My mother-in-law taught me how to make these sweet rice and if you have read several posts made be me, by now you would be knowing that my mother-in-law was a wonderful cook. Not just that, she was a great teacher too.
This recipe is special as this was perhaps my first few attempts to help her make something that we would offer to our almighty. I not only learnt cooking food from her, she also taught me how to perform Puja. Being a great believer in God, She told me everything from scratch as I was almost a blank slate in Puja as well. Sometimes I truly remember the saying that marriages are made in heaven. So she taught me to serve our sweet food to God first and then we can have it (which is what we call Bhog as when God has it, it becomes a Prasad) and while making such Bhog we should do it with positivity. Fresh washed utensils, fresh water and ingredients too as its to be offered to God.
Following her guidelines, today’s attempt was a good one as told by all in family. Simple ingredients and quick recipe. We need Laung(Clove), Saunf(Fennel Seeds), Magaj(Muskmelon Seeds), Burada( Nariyal ko chura / Coconut powder), Jaggery(Gud). Kesar(Saffron) and Basmati Rice. If you wish you can use sugar instead of jaggery. However, I had sweet rice with both and I found Jaggery rice always better. The method is simple too. Just like we make a vegetable Pulao, I would make Sweet rice in pressure Cooker.
You may add dry fruits as well. I have used only raisins (kishmish) as my family doesn’t like garnished dry fruits in sweet. They have dry fruits separately, but in sweets like Atta Halwa, Gajar Halwa, etc they find dry fruits as distraction from taste. Since raisins are not crunchy so I add them.
For yellow colour I have used Kesar and little bit of turmeric powder(Haldi). You may use food color as well.
Everybody enjoyed it here. Do share your experience with me!
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