Importance of Karthika Poornima
"KARTHIKA POURNIMA" as we call it in South India, is associated with many tales, rituals and traditional dishes especially for married Hindu women.
On this occasion, married Hindu women offer prayer to the Tulsi plant, by lighting 365 wicks made of cotton dipped in ghee. These wicks are put on the specially made diya.I say it is "special" diya cause its not the usual one made of clay but made in a unique manner.Its the outer thin layer of a plantain or banana tree trunk that acts as a diya, shaped like a boat. This is in turn, put in a container with water,to float.These are actually put in rivers.As we don't find rivers near by our houses, this new method has become more trendy.
These wicks are then lit and the evening prayer comes to a close offering the sweet dish to Tulsi and Moon.The women folk who observe fasting on this day, after the sunset break it by eating the specially prepared sweet or we can say a dessert , called "Chalimidi" in Telugu, which is made out of rice flour, sugar, cardamom and ghee.
In Tamil Nadu it is called "Maavilakku" prepared with the same ingredients. But, a slight variation in the method of prayer. Instead of the "banana diya" as discussed above, they shape the sweet itself, made of rice flour,ghee and sugar, like an oil lamp or diya and light it in front of the deity with ghee and a cotton wick to burn. After the puja it is eaten and tastes yummy with a film of ghee and a chared corner.
This festival is celebrated even in Karnataka in almost the same manner. But, in Karnataka the sweet is termed as "thembittu".
Karthika Purnima is also celebrated as Guru purnima or the birthday of Guru nanak by Sikhs.
But here I'll be discussing about the way Hindu women celebrate it and mainly about the dish prepared on this occasion.
Significance of Chalimidi
Chalimidi is a traditional Andhra sweet that is made on almost all auspicious occasions. It has got its importance on festivals such as Sri Rama Navami, Nagula Chavithi, Sharada Navaratri, and Varalakshmi Pooja.
It is also given to a newly married bride, to carry it to her husband’s home, when she goes there for the first time and its also given to a first time mom-to-be, celebrated as a function, also called the baby shower.
It is believed that it acts as a coolant and nourishes the health of a women.What ever the reason,its a very tasty dish,which even kids and elders like to relish.
It has got 2 methods to prepare.
One is with sugar syrup and the other one is without sugar syrup (no need to make any syrup out of sugar). Its a simple one out of the two.
So, I prefer to choose the second one, prepared without sugar syrup.
Here, we go with the ingredients and procedure.
You need to strain yourself with the preparation,as its a bit time taking.There is no cooking time for this unlike the first one with sugar syrup.
So, lets start....
Recipe for Chalimidi
Though preparation of Chalimidi is easy, its mandatory to make fresh rice flour at home which is a bit time taking. It involves soaking rice overnight, drying it and grinding it to a fine powder.I have also given the instructions for preparing rice flour in the section below which you may follow.
It is recommended to use fresh coconut,if your adding coconut. But, its optional to add coconut.
While cardamom is essential for an aromatic and flavourful chalimidi.
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Serves: 5
- rice flour
- Rice flour - 1 cup (homemade, please refer to the procedure in the section below, on how to make rice flour)
- Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp, powdered
(you may grind the sugar along with the rice flour, to make a fine powder.)
- Coconut - 2 tbsps, freshly grated (optional)
- Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
- Milk - few tsps (optional)
- Ghee - 1 tbsp
- Take a bowl, add freshly ground fine rice flour. Add grated coconut, powdered sugar and cardamom powder and mix.
- Add ghee and mix well. Add little milk and make a soft dough.
- Remove to a serving bowl. You can make smaller balls of the chalimidi dough or make a single large ball.
- Store the sweet in an air-tight container.It will last for at least a week if you are not adding milk and coconut.
- Cashew nuts can be added after frying in ghee,Fry the cashew nuts, till they are light-brown in colour.And mix them in the dough.This is optional.
Preparation of Rice Flour
Preparation time: 90 minutes (approximately)Involves drying and grinding.
Main Ingredients: Rice
Method : It involves preparation of rice flour for 1 kg of rice.
Wash and soak rice in enough water 3-4 hours,as shown in the photo.
Drain the water completely and spread it as a thin layer on a cotton cloth.You can have a better idea, by seeing the photo provided.
Dry it in the shade till its almost dry or slightly moist.
In a mixer grinder, add one cup rice and grind to make a fine powder.
Sieve this ground rice powder and keep aside the left over residue,to make other dishes which can be discussed later. As of now,you need to concentrate only on the rice flour.
Keep grinding the rice in batches, it has to be a fine smooth powder, easy to swallow.
- 1 cup rice yields 1 1/2 cups rice flour.
- make fresh batch of rice flour as and when required.
- It is best to soak the rice in water overnight.
- Soaking of rice overnight, yields a softer flour.
- Use any good quality raw white rice.
- Ensure you dry the rice on cotton cloth in the shade till it is almost dry with a bit of moisture. I usually place a newspaper on the floor, spread the cotton cloth over the paper and then spread the drained rice as a thin layer.
A final word
Hope you have understood well ,how to make the sweet.Hope the instructions have guided you enough to make the dish.
If at all you have any more doubts regarding the preparation,you may feel free to ask in the comment section provided below.I could provide minimum number of images which were available to have a brief idea.I would definitely try to import more images if necessary for a better understanding.
Hope you have also enjoyed the description about the festival and how it is celebrated.Do share your response by rating it below.