One of the most boisterous festivals, which the people of Maharashtra await for with much love and eagerness, is that of Ganesh Chathurthi. Yes, the elephant headed God is a favourite and considered the Lord of Lords.
Come festivals and the Maharashtrian’s indulge in their sweet tooth. However one thing, every single resident of Mumbai is aware of is, that their sweet innocent Lord Ganesh simply adores sweets. And not just sweets, he seems he have his favourites. On the Lords wish list are Modaks which tops as his favourite, followed by banana Sheera, and Motichoor or Besan ladoos.
The fondest memories each resident of amchi Mumbai harbours are the preparations going on in their mother’s kitchen for welcoming the Lord Ganesha. On the first day of the lords arrival steamed(ukadiche) Modaks are made. Here rice flour is rolled into small discs filled with fresh coconut, jiggery and dry fruit fillings.
The rice disc is then shaped into dumplings pear shape and steamed. Traditionally these are the original modaks, however now plenty of varieties are available like chocolate modak, banana nachni and even motichoor modaks. The lord’s love for modaks has won him the moniker or nickname of modakapriya.
On the festive occasion of heralding Ganesh festival, the kitchens are full of the waft of Banana Sheera which is offered as a Prasadam-meaning the lords blessings for the devotees after the Ganesh Puja. It is a traditional Indian dish made out of semolina, banana, sugar, and pure ghee, garnished with dry fruits.
The trick here is to roast the semolina with pure ghee very well, slightly translucent, until it emanates a lovely smell. Then sugar syrup mixed with warm water, is added along with bananas which are mashed well. Garnish with dry fruits, and it is ready to be distributed and eaten with delight. Most devotees, especially children wait for the puja to end, so that they can partake of this tasty prasadam.
While on the topic of the traditional sweets of Ganesh Chaturthi, how can one forget about the melt in the mouth ladoos! Be it Motichoor or Besan they are the best bets in this festive season. In homes and sweet shops the sweet smell of besan being roasted to perfection, ghee and sugar added the mixture and then shaped into circular ladoos is a common sight. Indulging in your sweet tooth has never been so enjoyable!