Only a little did I know about the Indian calendar system.
Of course, I knew what’s a Panchang. The tall scroll of binded calendar that hangs in my mom’s kitchen is used religiously to declare auspicious dates for weddings, to track festivals and fasting days, waxing and waning of moon and also sometimes to consult travel period. But I didn’t know anything more.
Thankfully, a casual conversation about Ugadi (celebration of a beginning of new calendar year or technically a new year) with a colleague triggered a series of relevant questions that should have been just plain common knowledge to me. He asked,” So, what year are you celebrating? Which year is this for you?” and I had no answer.
With little search, I could respond that Vikram Samvat is the most widely used Hindu calendar system. And we are currently in VS 2070 that began on April 11, 2013. And VS is 56.7 years ahead of Georgian calendar. Though, this information was enough to answer my co-worker, it didn’t help me enough. I wanted to find out more. And most likely, I knew all about VS but it was just that the details now resided in my hard disk (subconscious mind) and not RAM. And I had to refresh that part of memory to make it my current memory.
So, VS calendar is based on lunar months and solar seasons. And days are based on both lunar and solar movements. Like Georgian calendar, VS year is also divided into 12 months with the exception of 13 months every 2.5 years. And this is built on one of the most interesting time scale called the Vedic time keeping system. Now, it all makes sense as how the common Hindi words like pal, ghadi, mahurat, among others came into existence and these are not random synonyms but actual units of time. More detailed information on Hindu Calendar and Vedic time system is available here and here.
Coming back to today’s post, I am sharing Amma’s delicious Rava unde recipe. This recipe is of fine Sooji based laddu that just melts in your mouth. With appropriate amount of milk and fine sooji texture, it is really easy to bind rave into sweet balls. Just perfect for pooja offerings, birthdays and festivities. I prepared them on T’s insistence on the occasion of Ugadi – translates to beginning of an era- and they turned out super soft. Before I forget, special thanks to my friend N for her precious inputs to help me make soft unde. Hope you get a chance to make some delicious ones too!
- Preparation Time: 5 min
- Cooking Time: 20 min
- Recipe Level: Easy
- Serves many
- Source: Amma
- Cuisine: Indian Desert
- 50 ml of whole milk
- 4 -5 tbsp of ghee aka clarified butter
- 2 cups of fine rava aka sooji (semolina)
- 1.5 – 2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of resins and cashews (as desired)
- 1 tsp of cardamom powder
- 1/4 cup of fresh coconut shaved (optional)
- Few strands of kesari aka saffron (optioanl)
- In a thick bottom pan, add 4 heaped spoons of ghee and fine rava and place it on the stove.
- Fry rava for 15 – 20 minutes on a medium flame until it leaves an aroma. Constantly stir to prevent rava from burning.
- While rava is roasted in kadhai, use a separate small pan and add half a tbsp of ghee and fry cashews and resins.
- After resins swell and cashews start to turn golden, keep the roasted dry fruits aside.
- Now place the shaved coconut into the same smaller pan and roast them for a couple of minutes. Now put off the gas. And keep this aside as well.
- In a separate containr, warm milk on stove or in a microwave for a couple of minutes and add few strands of saffron to it. Keep warmed milk aside.
- After rava gives out a sweet aroma, turn off the gas and add sugar, cardamom powder, resins and cashews. And mix well.
- Now add warm milk to the mix and again mix well.
- If mix is not too warm, take the mix and round it to form balls.
- Cup the mix well to form rava unde. Press it into firm and round balls. Store or serve fresh.
- Constantly stir rava in the kadhai to prevent rava sticking to the pan bottom and burning.
- You may choose to use other dry fruits as desired.
- You may use warm water instead of warm milk. Too much milk tends to harden the unde making it harder to bite later.
- Add a bit of ghee to your palm to help round the rava into balls.
- Store in a air tight container. Shelf life 5 – 7 days.