Where would we be without the Sun? Take a moment and think about it. Wouldn’t it be safe to say that our whole existence would be at stake? Our ancestors realized pretty early on that Sun is the most important of all the cosmic bodies. Hence every Sun centric event became important spiritual and cultural events in our lives.
There are twelve zodiac signs. The Sun is the centre, motionless and constant. The earth by moving around the sun is passing from one zodiac sign to the next, every month. This transition is known as Sankranti. There are twleve Sankrantis. Although each Sankranti has its own relative importance, the Makar Sankranti is special. This transitiion is from Sagittarius to Capricorn. It is celebrated on the 14th of January.
Transition or movement can only be appreciated when we have experienced stillness. Movement and stillness. Stillness and movement. We need one, to experience the other. Two diametrical opposites, one has no existence without the other. Just like night and day. On this auspicious day, let us cultivate the stillness within ourselves to enjoy the movements outside. Birth, childhood, adulthood, old age.
Families get together and celebrate with food, flying kites, bon fire, rangoli ( drawing design in front of the house ). The most important being forgetting all differences and making a fresh start.
Rice pudding with jaggery, sesame seed balls, peanut brittle are very popular. I had these Persimmons at home. Sticking with the dessert theme, I made Burfis with them.
Happy Makar Sankranti to all of you.
Recipe: Made 16 pieces
Persimmon Six, cut in small pieces.
Sugar Half cup or to taste.
Whole milk Two cups
Milk powder Half cup
Saffron A large pinch
Almonds !2-15, thinly sliced
Pistachios 12-15 , thinly cut
Coconut powder Half cup
Cardamom powder Half tsp
Soak the saffron in a Tbsp of warm milk and keep aside.
Make a puree from the cut pieces of Persimmon.
In a saucepan on medium heat, mix the persimmon puree and sugar. Wait till all the sugar melts, and you have a sauce.
In another saucepan add the milk, milk powder, coconut powder on medium heat. Add the persimmon sauce. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You may even want to crank down the heat to low. The whole mixture will start to thicken slowly and tend to leave the side of the pan. It took me about 45 minutes to get a soft dough. Add cardamom powder and soaked saffron. Put the gas off.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Transfer the above to the cookie sheet. Spread evenly, such that it is about half inch thick. Cut into squares. Let it sit on the counter until it cools down to room temperature, then throw it in the refrigerator. I left it overnight.
Garnish with almond and pistachio slices and sprinkle a few more saffron strands.
Enjoy with your family.
Milk mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan is common, do not stop stirring.
Some of the text regarding the meaning of Makar Sankranti was from Isha foundation.org