Ugadi is a festival celebrated with pomp and gaiety and marks the beginning of a New year for us at home in Karnataka and I think its the same for Andhra Pradesh also and is celebrated as Gudi Padwa in Maharastra. Ugadi is derived from ‘yuga‘ meaning ‘era’ and ‘aadi‘ which means ‘start‘. So, it signifies the ‘start of a new era‘. On this day, the practice is that after the daily ritual worship, we first eat bevu-bella [jaggery mixed with neem flowers] and offer prayers to the Lord to keep us equally balanced in times of joys and sorrows. Jaggery is sweet and represents the joys of life; on the other hand, neem which is bitter in taste indicates sorrows or hard times. As neem is bitter but good for health, I always feel the test of hard times is to make us stronger and also that we relish the joys much more then.

We also make some special dishes like Obbattu [a sweet dish] and Mavinakayi Chitranna [Raw Mango rice] usually on this day and as any other festival day alike, our platter consists of:

2 Kosambaris [salads] – I have made one using soaked moong dal, with little chana dal added to it as its an age old practice to make 2 Kosambaris with each of these two dals only, but since it becomes monotonous, I made the other one with grated carrots.

2 Palyas [side dish] – I have used Ivy Gourd and Potatoes.

Payasa [a sweet dish again]

Ambode [a fried spicy dish]

Rice, Dal and Rasam – Used Ridge gourd for the dal. Its usually made plain . Dal is served on top of the rice and then ghee is served on this and on the Payasa. Its a custom followed that you start eating only after the ghee is thus served. By then all other dishes are on the plaintain leaf and actually we are not supposed to touch them before the ghee is served. They are also eaten in an order starting with the Payasa.

Obbattu and Mavinakayi Chitranna mentioned above

served as below on a plantain leaf.

This is the way in which food is served on all auspicious occasions with salt served at the topmost left corner followed by pickle if required.

Writing down the recipes of all the special dishes here. What better way to start the same than with the sweet dish Obbattu?:)

Obbattu:
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Ingredients:
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For the stuffing [We call it Hurna]:

Tuvar Dal: 1 cup
Grated Fresh Coconut: 1 cup
Powdered Jaggery: 1 cup
Powdered Elaichi: For the flavour
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp

For the dough:

Maida – 3/4 cup
Chiroti Rava – 1/4 cup
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Oil

Method:
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Mix the maida, turmeric, 1 tsp oil and add water to make a dough. The dough should be little more softer than the one we use for making baturas. Mix very well, otherwise the Obbattu will turn out to be rough. If you find it sticks to your hand, add more oil and mix well till you get a soft dough. Keep aside for about an hour.

First, we boil the dal for making this using a large vessel and not with a pressure cooker as it should be cooked to the right consistency where it is just soft but retained as a whole and is not mashed completely.

Take ample water in a vessel and keep it for boiling. Add the oil and turmeric to it. When it starts to boil, add the dal and cook on medium flame till done. The dal should be fully cooked and soft to touch but should not be mashed completely and still remain separate. Now, add the coconut and just after 2 boils, switch off the flame. Strain the water and this is used to prepare Rasam. Mix the jaggery and the elaichi to the dal-coconut mixture in a wok and cook on medium heat for about 5-6 min when you can see that the jaggery is fully dissolved and you have a thick mixture. Cool the mixture and then blend in a mixer/blender so as to get a uniform mixture. This is called as Hurna and is used for the stuffing. This is also added to the Rasam made and hence the Rasam is called Hurnada Saaru [Saaru stands for Rasam]. The stuffing is now ready.

Now, smear some oil on you left palm, take a lime-sized portion of the dough, place it on your left palm and make a small round structure by patting it lightly with your right hand. Add about a heaped spoonful of the stuffing and fold well on all sides. Keep a plantain leaf and plastic cover, both smeared with oil ready. Place the stuffed part on the plantain leaf, place the plastic cover on the same and gently pat it with your hand till it forms a uniform round structure. Now, place it on a hot girdle and cook on both sides. You may not need oil as there is enough added into the dough; you can choose to add if it looks a bit dry. Cook well on both sides until brown spots appear and fold it on the girdle into half and place it on a plantain leaf. Make the remaining and arrange all of them on the plantain leaf. Transfer them to a container when they are cool and it would be nice if you can place a plantain leaf at the base of the container, stack them and cover them with a piece of plantain leaf again. It imparts a nice aroma to the sweet.

What are you waiting for? Add a dollop of ghee and enjoy. As an alternative, you can also enjoy it with milk. Store it in the refrigerator if you are keeping it for more than a day; lasts upto a week.

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Hurnada Saaru [Rasam]
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Ingredients:
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Part of ingredients for this Rasam are already available from the previous recipe.

The others are:

Rasam powder – 2 tbsp
Tamarind[small lime sized] – soaked in water
Salt – to taste

For tempering:

Ghee – 1 tbsp
Mustard – 1 tsp

For garnishing:

Curry leaves
Coriander leaves [roughly chopped]

Method:
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We had strained and kept aside the water we had used to cook the dal for the Obbattu. This is now used to prepare the Rasam. Add the Rasam powder, salt and tamarind water to this and keep it on the stove. When it starts boiling, add a spoonful of the Hurna [the stuffing used for Obbattu] or more depending on your preference of a sweetish tinge and continue to cook on medium heat. The aroma rises and now add the curry and coriander leaves and switch off the flame after 3-4 boils. Now add the ghee and mustard tempering and enjoy with rice.

This was the first time I prepared Obbattu and was very happy that they came out so well. All thanks to my Mom who gives me the recipes so precisely even on phone that I feel as though she is giving me a live demo.
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Now, for 2 more of the special dishes which mark the day:

Mavinakai Chitranna [Mango rice]
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Ingredients:
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Mango[grated] – 1 cup
Coconut[grated] – 1/2 cup
Jaggery[powdered] – 2 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 8-10
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Cooked rice – 3 cups

For tempering:

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad dal and Chana dal – 1 tsp each
Groundnuts – 10-15
Curry leaves – 8-10
Red chillies – 2-3

Method:

Take a wok. Add about half a tsp of oil and add the fenugreek. When it turns brown, add the red chillies. When they turn bright red, add the hing and switch off the flame. Now grind these into a fine powder. Add the mango, cococnut and jaggery and grind to form a coarse paste.

Now, take oil in a wok. Add the mustard and as it splutters, add the chana dal, urad dal and groundnuts. When they are done, stir in the red chillies and the curry leaves and switch off the flame. Now, add the prepared paste and mix well. Add the cooked rice and mix gently and the Mango rice is ready to be served.

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Ambode
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Ingredients:
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Chana dal – 1 cup
Red chillies – 10-12
Soak them together for 3-4 hrs.

Coconut[grated] – 1/2 cup
Green chillies – 3-4
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Hing – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil for frying

For Garnishing:

Coriander leaves/ Mint leaves/ Dill leaves – Finely chopped

Method:
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Grind all the above ingredients to make a coarse paste. Garnish with any of the leaves mentioned above and mix well. Heat the oil in a wok. Make flat structures with your hand and fry well on both sides. Your ambodes are ready.🙂
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After serving the dishes on the plantain leaf, I was clicking from so many angles and trying so many variations that the already very very hungry Su was asking me whether I had been making so many things to treat my blog visitors only or whether he would get to lay his hand onto something. LOL :))

Before I end, wish you all a very very happy and successful year ahead🙂