India is a land of festivals. People from all regions, castes, creeds come together to celebrate these little joys which give them an opportunity to reconnect with their families and refresh their minds together. Culture vary…Traditions vary… Rituals vary…But one thing which remains same all across the country is – The Feelings. The feelings behind each and every festival is always the same – Same enthusiasm, Same excitement levels and yes Same smiles. 🙂
According to a very famous Maithli saying, in India,
“Kos-kos par paani badle, teen kos par bani”
(“Water changes at every Kos, language at every three Kos” – Kos is a measure of length) We can easily imagine that if there is so much diversity in water and language, how far the cultures and traditions will be different. 🙂
My family roots are from Bareilly – A small town in the west Uttar Pradesh, famous for it’s old narrow lanes and Shiva temples. The city is a centre for furniture manufacturing and trade in cotton, cereal and sugar..Though I am born and brought up at Allahabad, my grand mom (Dadi) used to stay at Bareilly only during the initial years of my birth. And yes, till date, my paternal relatives do stay there. 🙂 Once Dadi, shifted with us at Allahabad, it became an yearly ritual to travel to Bareilly during every summer vacations to meet our relatives and let her indulge freely on her soil. 🙂 It has been 40+ years since my dad shifted to Allahabad, still our traditions and cultures are influenced by Western UP rather than that of Eastern UP. And the major reflection of that cultural diversity comes up while preparing delicacies during the festive season. Delicacies like Khasta – Aloo ki sabzi, Jalebi – Samosa, Pitthi ki kachori – Dum aloo etc ruled my family since ages. Ghar k bane Laddoo, Mathris, Sev along with curries with Hing jeere ka tadka are our super favorites. No. I won’t say that these rituals are carried out in Bareilly only but yes my whole family is used to these stuff which itself boast about the traditional roots.
Dadi being a very religious person, used to come up with unique prasads depending upon the occasions. Few of her favorites were Panjeeris, Charnamrit, Dhapri, Gulgule, Besan k laddoo and Arbi K Chande. And we, the kids, loved to indulge into these unique dishes which were perfect for out palette. Be it Dusshera, Janmashtmi, KarwaChauth, Diwali etc etc.
Arbi K Chande, is one such heirloom delicacy which rules my heart. Every year during Janmashtmi, it is prepared at my home and we all simply love it. 🙂 Before going ahead, let me give you all a brief insight as in my childhood memories of Janmashtmi.
Janmashtmi is an annual festival in India to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, worshiping Krishna and staying up until midnight, and offer prayers at special time when Krishna is believed to have been born. It is believed that Lord Krishna was born at the stroke of Midnight. People use to create Jhankis ( A virtual Krishna Land portraying Krishna in various avatars), offer prasadams, and worship. Our whole family keeps fast and eat fruits and milk during the day. Whole day is spent in preparing prasads, decorating temple and waiting for the final hour. At midnight, when we all gather in our temple, my dad slit a banana, put statue of laddu gopal ( krishna) inside, offer the prayers and then with the echo of the Shankh, Krishna is born. Here, banana is portrayed as womb of Devaki, mother of Krishna. 🙂 Post our prayers, we sit peacefully and indulge ourselves in the traditional prasads especially Arbi k chande.
Arbi K Chande are truly a lip smacking sweet light snacks especially prepared during Janmashtami. Let’s have a look on the recipe.
Preparation time: 10 mins + 2 hours dry time
Cooking time: 20 mins
- 6 Medium sized Arbi
- Ghee for frying
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Note: Before cutting arbi, do apply Sarson ka tel ( Mustard Oil) on your hands as it will prevent itching due to natural chemicals found in the Arbi vegetable.
- Clean and dry Arbi. Cut thin chips out of it. ( Chips should be not too thin as they may burn during frying) – (Pics above)
- Wash them again and spread it out on towel. Let them dry for 2 hours under the fan or medium sunlight.
- Now heat ghee in a pan and fry them till golden.
- Take them out on tissue papers to soak extra ghee.
- Meanwhile prepare chaashni ( sugar syrup) of one taar ( strand).
- For chaashni, put sugar in a wok. Put water. Let it simmer on medium sim. Keep observing it and keep switching between medium and high sim. In about 5 mins, you will see it turning into a thick mixture. Take a drop on your forefinger and stretch it with thumb. You will see one strand – This is now ”ék taar ki chaashni”. If there are two strands, it is ‘ do taar ki chaashni’.
Now these taars are specific to dishes. Few Indian sweets demand ek taar ki chaashni and few demand do taar ki chaashni. This taar decides the consistency and thickness of that chaashni i.e sugar syrup.
- Now once you see a single strand in the chaashni, that means it is ready.
- Pour all the Arbi Chips in that and start stirring them fast. Your stove should be on medium sim.
- Gradually you will see sugar getting dried up and getting coated on the Arbi Chips.
- Keep stirring well on low sim till all the chips are coated.
- Now take them out on a tray and let it cool down.
- Arbi k meethe chande are ready! 🙂
- Store them in an air tight container.
Thank you for joining in my journey of my childhood. This blog is little long as I wanted to re-live all those beautiful moments I spent with my grandmom. Miss you Dadi! 🙂
Guys, do share your feedback on the recipe here in comments.
For more fun filled discussions about cuisines and food all over let’s connect on my Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FromTheDiariesOfGreatCooks/
This post I am dedicating to our 53rd Foodie Monday BlogHop with Janmashtami recipes as the theme.
I am also joining Fiesta Friday #133 party with Angie. 🙂