Ashtami

Ashtami always brings back fond memories to me.
My mom used to fast for 9 days during navratri and on the 8th day that is Ashtami, she would do the Kanya pooja or Kanjakein. She would invite 9 girls or more depending on the number of little girls, who were our friends or neighbours. Little boys were also invited so as to not make them feel left out. But the chief guests were the Little girls. These girls were invited home with love, their feet were washed and decorated with haldi-kumkum and aalta. The holy thread was tied to their tiny wrists and then they were all made to sit in a line and a group aarti was performed for all of them. And then came the best part. Then they were all served the traditional bhog of Halwa-Poori- Chane! And there were also gifts – money or bangles, toys or something appealing .
And this scene was repeated so many times that day and the next day because in our colony and also at most other places that we stayed at there were so many women fasting for navratri and performing this pooja on either Ashtami or Navmi( the 9th day). I remember feeling so important on those two days .Mom would wake us up early, give us a nice oil massage and bath, and then dress us up in new clothes.And then we would be ready to visit all the different aunties in the colony,armed with an empty lunch box!She always said -She was so lucky two have to Devis at home! And we would giggle at that.
Now that I am having a little girl,I know what she meant.My mom would do this ritual only during the Badi navratri- the one preceeding Dushera.But I know a lot of other women who did it even during the Choti navratri, the one preceeding Ram Navmi. And year I decided to start a new tradition and make halwa-poori-chole Prasad even for the choti Ashtami.

Here, I am sharing with you the recipe for Halwa –
Ingredients-
  • 1 cup Semolina
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water +1 cup milk- boiled
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • Raisins
  • almonds, soaked and slivered
  • Saffaron strands for Garnish.

Take 1/4 cup ghee in a pan and heat it to melt it.When it melts , reduce the heat and add semolina. Roast on a medium flame till it gets a nice brown color.Take care to keep stirring it,so that it doesnt stick to the pan and get burned. When the Semolina is done and starts giving the wonderful roasted aroma,add the raisins and roast for 1-2 mins.As the raisins swell up, add the boiling milk-water mixture, after turning the heat to low. Take care as the steam that arises will be very hot and some of the semolina- water mix might splatter.Keep stirring it,so as to avoid any lump formation. When this starts to thicken, add sugar and stir intermittently, again to avoid lump formation. Add cardamom powder. and let it thicken again, stirring constantly.When it becomes almost dry, turn off the stove and remove from heat.Let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with Saffaron strands and Slivered almonds.
Note: Traditional Halwa for Prasad requires equal quantities of semolina, ghee and sugar but this is a healthy version of the same.You can vary the amount of sugar as you like.

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Posted on March 29, 2007, in Festivals, Mumma's Kitchen and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. i tried this receipe with a small modification…….replaced semolina with couscous…u know me…..i never have all the ingredients at home……..it turned out to be amazing………….probably i can call it the “sweet couscous: Indian style”

  2. i would like to know what is couscous..as to where i live ,indian ingrediants are very hard to come by..

  3. hello,
    i am hyderabadi and not able to understand the ingredient named semolina ,the ingredient which is made on occasion of ashtami.can u please tell me whether it is bombai rava and whether it is made in home please tell me the procedure.

    • Hey Supraja,
      Semolina is Rava.you get two kinds of Rava-fine and coarse,go for the coarser one,if you like granular halwa.
      If you want something more smooth,like Kesari,then take fine.
      Hope that helps.

  4. Reblogged this on Life With My Sunshines and commented:

    Sharing an old post and fond memories 🙂

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