September 15, 2023

Ganesh Chaturthi Special Prasadam (Vinayaka Chaturthi) - Ganesh Utsav / Ganeshotsav

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 Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is the most sought after Hindu Festival . Everyone loves to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with pomp and glory .  Ganesh Chaturthi falls in the Holy month of Bhadrapada as per Indian Almanac which is around August - September as per Gregorian calender . This year we are celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi on 18th September 2023.

Mumbai is known for  Ganesh Chaturthi festival which lasts for 10 days  known as Ganesh Utsav or Ganeshotsav .We can hear everyone singing Ganapati Bappa Morya , Mangal moorthy Morya while they invite Ganpati Bappa Home.

Having grown up in Mumbai, I have my set of beautiful and divine memories of celebrating the Ganesh Utsav for 10 days.It is very difficult to bid adieu to Ganesha on Ananth Chaturthi.  The entire city of Mumbai puts up a very vibrant look and there is just positive vibes all over.  I always have my heart in Mumbai during Ganesh Utsav .Bangalore also celebrates Ganesh Utsava in its own way and there is a vibrant charm all over the city.

The atmosphere is so positive and vibrant during this festive season in every home . Everyone at home gets into planning of bringing the best Ganesha idol home by placing the order for the Murthy well in advance with the sculptor .The decor planning also starts much before with kids ,elders all getting into festive mood . The ladies of the house get into the planning of prasad and neivedya making and list out what bhog to be offered as long as we have Ganapati Bappa at our abode. I am detailing the list of prasadams we can offer to Lord Ganesha during the 10 day Festival . Click on the recipe names below for a detailed procedure to make.

South Indian Style Prasadam Menu 

Modakam/ Kozhukkattai 
Ammini Kozhukkattai 
Kondakadalai Sundal 
Pachai Arisi Idli (Raw rice Idli)
Ulundhu Vadai (Medhu Vadai)
Aval Payasam 
Baalehannu Rasayana 


Maharashtrian Style Prasadam Menu

Ukidiche Modak 
Varan Bhaat
Puri - Batatachya Bhaji 
Kothimbir Vadi 
Khamang Kakdi
Dry fruits Kheer

After the 10 day festivity, it is very heart breaking to send off Lord Ganesha . This process is called as Visarjan wherein Lord Ganesha is immersed into the sea and we bid a farewell to him .While sending him off,we all wish and pray for his return next year and the mind begins to plan on how to welcome him home coming year .
Ganapati Bappa Morya ,Pudchya Varshi Lavkar Ya ..this is what is chanted while we bid him adieu,meaning  "oh lord Ganesha,pls come back soon next year" .

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September 07, 2023

Keerai (greens) Kootu - vegan south Indian accompaniment

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 Keerai is the Tamil name for Green Leafy vegetables in general . Spinach is known as palak keerai , fenugreek is known as Vendhiya Keerai , Amaranthus is known as Arai Keerai , Dill Leaves is known as Soi Keerai ,Drumstick leaves as Murunga keerai so on and so forth.

We all know how healthy and beneficial is the inclusion of greens in our daily diet . So pls do make it a point to include greens as a part of diet atleast once or twice a week  . Of course please exercise caution and consult your Doctor if greens need to be  avoided due to underlying medical conditions.

I am very fond of keerai sambar, keerai masiyal and keerai kootu in south indian cuisine whereas in North Indian cuisine my favorites are Dal Palak,Palak Paneer , Methi theplas, Palak Paratha which feature frequently on our meals regularly. 

Keerai kootu has been my childhood favorite and I would eat this almost everyday as a little girl . The mild sweetness from the cooked moong dal blends well with the coconut jeera paste and cooked palak and the final tempering of mustard in coconut oil simply elevates the flavor profile of the kootu.  You can pair it with some delicious sambar rice or mix this kootu with some steamed rice and ghee and enjoy as is.   You can use any variety of keerai for this kootu,but I personally love palak.  I don't like Methi in kootu as it imparts a slightly bitter taste to the kootu which puts me off.

The green Leafy vegetables need to be cleaned very well before using.  There may be a chance of lot of weeds or some rotten leaves hidden in the bunch . I am sharing a detailed video on how to clean the green Leafy vegetables at ease.  If the stems are tender,I chop them finely and use it too while making the kootu.

If you are a lover of exotic greens, then Baby Bokchoy and Shitaake stir fry by Preethi will be the best choice.  I was paired with Preethi for August's Theme of Leafy Greens theme suggested by Seema of Mildly Indian.

Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Complexity - easy
Serves - 2 to 3 


2 small bunch spinach/palak 
1.5 cup cooked moong dhall
1/4 cup grated coconut 
1tsp jeera
1/2 tsp pepper
2 to 3 dry red chillies / 1 tsp red chilli powder 
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1/2 tsp udad dhall
Pinch of asafoetida
Salt as needed 


  • Clean and wash the spinach  bunch well . Finely chop the palak and cook it well . No need to pressure cook .you can cook it in regular open pot until the raw flavor is lost. Use a heavy bottomed pan always.
  • Grind the coconut, jeera ,pepper, red chillies to a fine paste with sufficient water.
  • Once the palak is cooked, add this coconut paste,bring it to a rolling boil and then add the cooked moong dhall .
  • Ensure the cooking is on medium flame and you are stirring constantly to avoid burning . Moong dhall and coconut paste will stick to the pan very quickly.
  • Once the kootu reaches a rolling boil,turn off and prepare a tempering of mustard, udad dhall and asafoetida in coconut oil and pour it over the kootu . Relish the kootu with rice and papads.