It is the beginning of a new year, of the Gregorian Calendar to be exact. It is the simplest of Calendars in the world. We have adopted it as a common reference, definitely makes life easier when relating to the western world.
However did you know that Hindu Calendar is more accurate and complex. It is not in much use by the masses in India as the Gregorian Calendar has taken its place for all practical reasons. Yet when we go to the temples we are reminded of our own Hindu Calendar you will agree. It has units which are smaller and a co-0rdinate system that is more advanced. While we are celebrating 1st Jan 2008 we are actually in 5109Th Hindu calendar year! We even have a sixty year cycle for the names of the years and this year is Sarvajit which is the 21st year in the cycle.
While I wish you A Happy New Year. I also introspect. Today I want to pass on random thoughts to my younger generation. Judge it and accept what appeals to you. My tiny group of peers, friends, family thinks I always do what I say so putting these thoughts here else I would not have been so audacious.
Plus a debate that followed after watching, Taare Zameen Par made me want to post this here. Do watch this movie. May be his brother, Faisal was his inspiration behind this movie.
- Do I want to be part of the wave of uniformity that is sweeping the earth or do I want to have diversity. My environmental background reminds me that diverse environs are signs of long term survival where as homogeneity leads the path to perish.
- Do I want to be a part of the only English speaking, dressed in jeans, burger chomping crowd or do I want to follow a heritage that is rich, diverse and spiritual. It is complex, confusing for a young mind but one has to go beyond the crossroads as the unlimited exciting future beckons. One should never feel ashamed to ask for guidance.
- Do I want to be a money churning machine or do I want to enjoy every bit of what I do in life. Yet never be satisfied with what you do. Keep pushing yourself to do better.
- I myself have made non standard decisions, with non standard outcomes but they were mine and I have no regrets about it. I feel if I can say this much it is significant to me spiritually.
- Let the motto of life be, I lived my life on my terms and only I am fully responsible for it.
With that let us bring in the New Year by worshiping Lord Ganapati and asking for his blessings for the year ahead. To appease the Lord lets make Undre. Undre are the coconut filled steam dumplings offered to Lord Ganapati and more popularly know as Modak. Undre is the Koli name derived from the Marathi word Unde meaning lump.
Undre are Lord Ganapati's favorite sweet and are offered to him on Chaturthi, Sankashthi or on Tuesday, as it is the day of Ganesha. This is not the easiest sweet to make and on a scale of 1 to 10 we can rate it at 8. Yet it is a perfect 10 when you devour it.
The Undre in the pictures were made by my Cook, Lakshmi when I was in Mumbai. She is very skilled at making them. Mine however are not so picture worthy I must own up.
So lets try our hand at it.
For the filling
1 coconut grated
1/2 cup jaggery
1 tablespoon ghee
1/8 cup nuts and raisins
2 drops of Kevada essence
For the cover
2 cups Basmati rice flour
1.5 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/10 cup ghee
First lets make the filling. Heat a deep pan add the ghee. Combine the grated coconut and jaggery and add to the pan. Keep mixing till you get a semi solid ball. This filling is called Chauri in Koli. Our Kolis like their Chauri sweeter but this proportion is what we prefer at home. Keep aside.
Now heat a deep pot and boil the water. Once it reaches a rolling boil add the rice flour and salt. Mix well. This will cook the flour and make it into a soft and pliable dough.
Pour the dough onto the counter and knead with water if requires to get a smooth, crack free dough.
Now pinch off the some dough and shape into a ball. Then with your thumb press in the center and shape it like a basket. Next is the tough step, we need to pinch the edges together to get a basket with a flower like design or a diya design. Fill a spoonful of Chauri in it. Once thats done pull the pinched edge of the basket together.
Place all the undre on a greased pan and steam. The are cooked if you see a glaze on the Undre.
Undre taste divine. Need I tell you that!