Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Each Indian festival is associated with unique food preparation that have medicinal and nutritional values, based on the timing/season of the festival.
Ayurveda gives great importance to seasonal changes. Ayurveda recommends opposite qualities of the seasons like in winter favour warming foods and summer favour cooling qualities of food, also focuses on increasing the immunity at the same time.
On 14th January, Indians celebrate Sankranti festival, which marks as first day of the Sun's transit to Makara (Capricorn zodiac sign) and also the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season in India. The sky is filled with colourful kites, offering prayers to Sun God, symbol of divinity and wisdom. For me, here in London, it's the peak time of the winter and expect spring by end of March.
The healthy snacks are prepared which is balancing in terms of Ayurveda and rich in nutrition.
Being a south Indian, we call it Sankranti. As a child I remember exchanging sesame seeds, jaggery, coconut, freshly cut sugarcane with my friends and relatives. I used to visit farm with my grandparents, eating shenga holige (peanut sweet stuffed), rotti with madaki (pearl millet with cooked moth bean sprouts) and spicy shenga chuntney (peanut powder with spices and chilly powder).
The festival is named differently as Lohri (Punjab), Pongal (Tamil), Gujarat (Uttarayan).
Examples of few healthy food made on this festival day are:
1.Undhiyu (spicy curry with root vegetables and spices).
2.Chikki (sesame seeds, peanuts and jaggery).
3.Kichadi/pongal (moong dal with rice and spices like black pepper, ginger, cumin with dry fruits and ghee).
4. Makke ki roti, sarso sa saag (Mustard green with ginger, garlic, corn flour flat bread)
5. Puran poli (flatbread stuffed with chana dal, jaggery, sesame seeds)
All have warming qualities, good for digestion, best for the winter season.
Sesame is extremely health beneficial and has medicinal properties.
Nutritional Value: Rich in anti-oxidants, protein, fibre, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium.
Benefits: Improves digestion, immunity, oral health, skin health, bone health, anti-inflammatory properties.
Sesame seed as food: can add the seeds over the soups or stir fried salads.
Sesame oil massage: It moisturises dry skin and strengthens the bones, muscles and joints.
Sesame oil pulling: helps in overall oral health.
Sesame face pack : Powdered Sesame seeds and turmeric powder are great for smooth and skin glow.
JAGGERY (unrefined sugar prepared from sugarcane)
Jaggery has also got great health benefits.
Nutritional value: Rich in anti-oxidants, iron, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, potassium.
Benefits: Immune booster, helps in respiratory disorders, heart health, digestive health, helps in cleansing and detox.
Jaggery are sweet and also has warming qualities best for winter season.
A healthy alternative for white refined sugar.
(Not recommended in diabetes)
Dry roast the sesame seeds on medium heat, stirring continuously until they turn crunchy, do not over roast till they change the colour, they tend to burn quickly, keep them aside.
Then melt the jaggery to form a syrup, keep it stirring, until it becomes thick and frosty, and sieve them. Now quickly mix the sesame seeds and jaggery, be careful it will be hot. Dip your palms in a ghee and begin to roll them.
Alternative method: Grind the sesame seeds after roasting them and make them into powder form. Grate the jaggery into powder form. Then mix them together, with little ghee and make a roll. You can add grated coconut powder, cardamom powder, roasted and grinded peanut.
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