Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rava Kesari







Today is Thiruvadi Puram - an important day for all the vaishnavites which marks the birth of Goddess Kodhai alias Andal. It is celebrated in a very grand manner in Srivilliputtur, the birthplace of the Goddess. 

Goddesss Andal, Srivilliputtur

Andal's divine composition, known as Thiruppavai, is recited by Vaishnavites all over the world, during this holy month (Margazhi, in Tamil). Here is a link of Andal from some divyadesams. Grand celebrations for a few days is organized in vaishnavite temples to mark Thiruvadi Puram festival and here is a you tube link.

The following verses are sung everyday praising her, who showed us the path to God.

ANDAL VAZHI THIRUNAMAM

ThiruvAdippUratthu sehatthuthitthAL VaazhiyE
ThiruppAvai muppathum seppinAL VaazhiyE
PeriyAzhwAr peRReduttha peNN piLlai vaazhiyE
PerumbhUthUr mmamunikkup-pinnAnAL vaazhiyE
oru NooRRu nARpatthu moonRu uraitthAL vaazhiyE
UyarangarkkE kaNNIuhanthaLitthAl VaazhiyE
maruvAruntirumalli vaLa naadi vaazhiyE
VaNN Puthuvai naharkkOthai malar padhangaL VaazhiyE

Meaning:

tiruvADippUrattu jagattudittAL vAzhiyE :  Long live the one who was born in the month of Aashaada in the constellation of Poorva Phalguni.

Thiruppavai Muppadhaum cheppinaal Vaazhiye :  Long live the one who spoke out the thirty verses of Thiru-p-pAvai.

periyAzhvaar peRRedutta peN piLLai vAzhiyE:   Long live the one who was born to Periyaazhwaar

Perum pudoor mAmunikku pinnAnAL vAzhiye :  Long live the one who became the younger sister of Perumpudur Maamuni (Bhagavad Ramaanujar).

Oru nooTru naarpattu moonruraittaaL vaazhiyE:   Long live the one who composed a poem of 143 verses. This is Naachiyaar Tirumozhi which contains details of every step of her Dream Wedding with the Lord.

Uyar arangaRkE kaNNi ugandu azhaittAL vAzhiyE:   Long live the one who happily gave Herself up to Ranganatha, the Supreme Lord.

MaruVaarum Thirumalli Vaazhanadu Vaazhiye:  Long live the one, who was born in the prosperous land (Valnaadu) permeated by fragrance of flowers. This refers to the prosperity of Her birthplace and the fragrance of Bhakti that filled the air there.

vaN puduvai nagark kOdai malarp padangaL vAzhiyE:   Long live the lotus feet of Andaal of the prosperous city of Puduvai" (here, means Srivilliputtur).

 K Varadhan's blog gives more info about Srivilliputtur Andal and festivals.


Two weeks back we went to Srivilliputtur. I feel very blessed for getting an opportunity to go there and see the places where she grew.  Words are insufficient when you visit such an important place. 
This is Srivilliputtur temple.



This is the Tulasi madam (Tulsi plant) under which she was found by Periazhwar.



This is her home and garden where she grew.




Really, we are truly blessed with an oppotunity to visit the temple with immense importance (Srivilliputtur temple). You can feel the peacefulness in YOU when you are around such important temples.


Traditionally, on this day we make akkaravadisal (which I have already posted here) as offering to Goddess Andal. Today, my MIL and myself did this rava kesari (a cream of wheat dessert) and it is a very simple, divine and yummy dessert. All it takes is just 15 min. and needs only a few ingredients. Both my mom and MIL are experts in making this kesari (I too make this great :-) ). But with my influence, we made it with slight variation than how my mom or MIl will usually make. I have given here the recipe with reduced sugar and reduced ghee. If you don't mind add a few more tablespoons of ghee which will be absolutely divine.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8 people with generous second helpings

Rava - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 and 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Ghee - 6 tbsp
Cardamom - 2, crushed
Saffron - a pinch
Orange food color

To fry:

Ghee - 1 tbsp
Sliced almonds or cashews - 1 tbsp
Raisins - 1 tbap

Method

Boil water and keep aside. Heat a pan on a medium flame. Add the ghee, nuts and raisins. Fry till golden brown and keep aside. 




Heat 2 tbsp of ghee and roast the rava till golden brown. 



Add the hot water to the rava. Stir and let it cook for a few minutes. Stir well and make sure that there are no lumps. 



Then add the sugar and continue cooking for 5 min. As soon as you start mixing the sugar, the mixture will become thin, but with continuous cooking will absorb all the sweet sugar and thicken.





Add remaining ghee, crushed cardamom, saffron and food color. Mix thoroughly and cook with stirring to a stage where it doesn't stick to the pan.



Add the fried nuts and mix. Switch off the flame and transfer to a serving bowl. 




If you want to cut into squares and serve, pour into a flat pan, even the top and let it cool. Cut into squares or diamonds and serve. Tastes great hot hot and at room temperature.






Tips

Adding hot water helps in easier and faster cooking of rava.

One and a half cup sugar gives a perfect amount of sweetness - not too sweet or bland, but just the right amount of sweetness. If you have a very very sweet tooth, feel free to add more sugar. I have seen some people using 1 rava : 2 sugar ratio too.

I find 6 tbsp ghee to be perfect. if you want be generous to add a few more tbsp of ghee.

Traditionally, rava kesari is made in orange color, but feel free to be creative with flavor additions and color (I have made this in pink color and with fruit additions too).

Some people use oil instead of ghee to make this kesari. Try it out if you like.




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