This time, Gudhi Padwa is slightly different. The lockdown has prevented us from stepping out and the celebrations are not that big. Devwrat Anand Jategaonkar, award-winning culinary professional and executive chef with Travel Food Services, a partner company of the UK-based SSP Group, says that Maharashtrians celebrate the festival with a lot of enthusiasm, but this year, it is important to keep in mind the situation in the country and across the globe, and limit the celebrations.
“Gudhi Padwa is a very important festival for us and it is the start of our new year. Since we are indoors this year, a lot of activities can be done with the family like reading a good book together, or going through the old/ childhood family albums. Cooking a meal together is also a fantastic activity,” he says, adding that cooking with healthy ingredients has become equally important. Try to use immunity-boosting food items like walnuts, almonds, curd, fruits, vegetables etc.
When the family comes together and makes food, the whole experience is beautiful. “With the current situation, it is extremely important to keep positivity at home,” he says, adding, “Take care of each other. I suggest make a menu for Gudhi Padwa, and then divide the menu so that each member can make one recipe or help in making as per his/ her liking/ expertise.”
The menu can include Puran Poli or Shrikhand Wadi, Mutter Batata Bhaji, Kanda Bhaji, Kadhi, Masale Bhat, Sukki Masoor Usal, Papad, Kakdi Tomato Koshimbir, Poori, which are easy to make. He says that since people have limited resources at home now, they can try these recipes. “These recipes require minimal ingredients and most can be found at home,” he adds.
Reminiscing about his fond memories of the festival, the chef says that preparations of the ‘Gudhi’ at his home in Akola is his favourite. “I always wanted to tie the Gudhi as high as possible and I also liked ‘Sakhare chya gathi çhe haar’. I enjoyed breaking it and eating the pieces, and the Batasse Lahya prasad that I used to distribute after puja, and the absolutely delicious Pooran Poli made by my mother. Those were the good old days,” he adds.
Jategaonkar shares the recipe of Kesar Shrikhand Wadi which can be made collectively by family members:
KESAR SHRIKHAND WADI
Hung Curd (Chakka)...500gms
Few strands of saffron
- Slice almonds, cashew nuts and pistachio finely.
- Take sugar, almonds, and cashew nuts and hung curd in a heavy-bottomed pan and put on a slow flame, stirring continuously till mixture becomes very thick and le aves the sides of the pan.
- Add saffron and cardamom powder, cook the mixture till the moisture in it evaporates considerably and the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the pan.
- Level the above mixture in a greased thali and evenly spread pistachio on top.
- Once it cools down, cut into a desired shape. Serve.