Janmashtami is a grand festival that marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated with much fervour across the country. Homes are beautifully decorated, and the priests sing devotional songs and there is revelry and celebrations throughout the night. Just like most festivals in India, sweets and savouries are one of the highlights of Janmashthami. All across the country, people prepare the Lord Krishna’s favourite traditional food items and offer it as Prasad, as a token of their love, gratitude, and devotion.
Here are the different prasad offerings made by different regions across India:
It is one of the most popular prasad items offered to Lord Krishna during Janmashtami in North India, especially in Punjab, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. It is prepared by roasting dhania powder in ghee till it turns brown and aromatic. This is taken off the flame and dry fruits, nuts, coconut and jaggery is added. Once it cools down completely, Dhania Panjiri is served as prasad. You can choose nuts and seeds as per your preference. The key ingredient, dhania powder is rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, as well as nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Try Tata Sampann Coriander Powder which contains natural oils. These natural oils give the spice flavour and health benefits.
Another Janmashthami special food offered as prasad, especially in the Braj region of Mathura and Vrindavan, is Makhan Misri. Lord Krishna’s love for white butter has been widely celebrated. Makhan Misri, with its soft and sweet taste, is made by churning cream with cold water, till the butter separates from the whey. Then, to this beaten butter, we simply add crystalline sugar lumps, also known as misri. Cardamom, pistachios, and almond flakes are used as toppings for this swirling delicacy.
In Maharashtra, the Dahi Handi ritual is a huge part of the Janmashthami celebrations. Shrikhand is a popular traditional sweet dish that is offered to Lord Krishna as prasad. As a healthy variant, it can be prepared by mixing hung curd with honey, instead of sugar. While the curd is packed with proteins, a topping of fruits and nuts provide a heart-healthy dose of nutrients. Curd is a great source of probiotic which aids in digestion and maintains a healthy environment for the gut. Another popular prasad is the Gopalkala. Learn more about it Gopalkala article
In Tamil Nadu, Gokulashtami is celebrated by offering sweets and snacks to Lord Krishna. One of the popular savouries is Seedai. Rice flour is shaped into tiny cylinders, and mixed with jeera and butter. Coconut is also added, providing a dose of healthy fat. For sweets, people usually offer vella seedai, which is made with rice flour and jaggery. While most recipes call for frying the seedais, a healthier cooking method is to bake them.
In Bengal, Taler Kheer, a common homemade Bengali sweet, is offered made to Lord Krishna during Janmashtami, or Nandotsav. It is made by scooping out the golden pulp part of Asian palm fruits, and mixing it with milk and coconut. As a healthy alternative to sugar, any natural sweetener can be used in this delicious kheer. Asian palm fruits are rich in Vitamin B and C, as well as minerals like riboflavin, calcium, and potassium.
One of the most popular prasad items made in Kerala during this festival is Paal Payasam. It is prepared by cooking rice in milk until it is soft. Then, elaichi powder, which is rich in iron and manganese, is added along with jaggery. Finally, it is garnished with raisins and cashew nuts. The result is a delicious and creamy rice pudding.
So now that you’ve had a glimpse of the various Janmashthami treats across the country, tell us which region’s food offering you’re going to prepare and try out at home this festive season!
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