Festivals of India: Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection in Hindi) or Rakhi is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shraavana and in 2007 it falls on August 28.

The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her. The brother and sister traditionally feed each other sweets. It is still celebrated today, and the brother and sister have to treat each other well for the day. As usual any festival is incomplete without good food.

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Preparation Time : 50 minutes
Serves : 6

Ingredients :

  • Flour - 250 gms

  • Khoya - 500 gms

  • Raisins, a few

  • Almonds, chopped - 100 gms

  • Cooking Oil - 3 tbsp

  • Water - 100 ml

  • Sugar - 250 gms


Method :

  • Mix the oil and flour properly to form a binding consistency such as of breadcrumbs.Gujia

  • Add some water and knead lightly the entire mixture. Make it into a soft dough and set it aside with a damp cloth covering it.

  • For the filling, fry the khoya in cooking oil till it becomes light brown and then mix the sugar in it properly.

  • Add almonds and raisins and fry for a few more minutes. Remove from fire and let it cool.

  • Make small thick chapattis out of that kneaded dough.

  • Fill half of the chapatti with the khoya mixture and, rolling it, seal the sides of the chapatti keeping the khoya inside it such that it makes a semi-circle.

  • Make the sealing look decorated by giving a look of hemming.

  • Deep-fry these gujias until it becomes light golden brown, keeping the flame at low.

  • Take out the gujias on a newspaper and let the oil get soaked.

  • Serve hot or store it in an air-tight container for using it on that special day.

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Khoya Peda

Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : 8

Ingredients :

  • Soft White Khoya – ½ kg

  • Sugar, powdered – 300 gms

  • Cardamom powder – ½ tsp

  • Cardamom seeds, semi crushed – 1 tsp

  • Slivered or crushed pistachios – 1 tbsp

Method :

  • Grate khoya with a steel (not iron) grater. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Peda

  • Put mixture in a large heavy or nonstick pan.

  • Heat first on high for few minutes and then on slow till done or the mixture becomes light and almost starts leaving the sides.

  • Make sure to stir continuously, while on heat.

  • When the mixture is thick and gooey, add cardamom.

  • Mix well, and take off fire.

  • Allow to cool, gently turning occasionally.

  • Use cookie moulds, or shape pedas with palms into patty rounds.

  • Mix pistachios and cardamom seeds and press a bit on top of each.

  • If using moulds, first sprinkle some at bottom.

  • Take some mixture and press into mould.

  • When set well, invert and carefully, unmould. The pedas are ready to be served.

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Banana Cutlet

Preparation Time : 35 minutes
Serves : 6

Ingredients :

  • Raw bananas - 6

  • Fresh peas, boiled – ¼ cup

  • Beet root, boiled and finely chopped – ¼ cup (optional)

  • Mint leaves – 1 tbsp

  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp

  • Green chilies, finely chopped - 5

  • Ginger grated (optional) – 1” piece

  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

  • Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

  • Asafoetida – ½ tsp

  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

  • Dry mango powder – 1 tsp

  • Oil to deep fry

  • Breadcrumbs – 1 ½ cup

  • Salt to taste

Method :

  • Steam whole bananas with skins, till soft. Remove skins.

  • Mash while still hot. And keep aside. Banana Cutlet

  • Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan, add seeds and allow to splutter. Add asafoetida, mint, coriander, chillies, ginger, mango powder, peas and beet root.

  • Mix this well with the mashed bananas.

  • Add salt and other spices as well.

  • Heat oil in a pan. Shape the cutlets with the mixture, roll them in the breadcrumbs and deep fry till golden brown.

  • Drain and serve hot with green chutney or tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup.

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Rakhi Ghevar

Preparation Time : 60 minutes
Serves :8-10

Ingredients :

  • Plain flour- 3 cups

  • Solidified Ghee -1 cup

  • Ice cubes - 3-4 pieces

  • Water - 4 cups

  • Milk – ½ cup

  • Yellow food color - ¼ tsp

  • Ghee - 1 kg

  • Kewra essence(vetivier) - 5-6 drops

  • Powdered cardamom -1 tsp

  • Chopped almonds & pistachios -1 tbsp

  • Milk in which ½ tsp saffron has been rubbed

  • For syrup :

  • Sugar - 1 ½ cups

  • Water -1 cup

Method :

  • First of all prepare sugar syrup of 1 thread uniformity.Ghevar

  • Take the solidified ghee in a large wide bowl and rub it vigorously with ice cubes till the ghee becomes white in color.

  • Then add milk, flour and one cup water together and mix to make a smooth batter.

  • Put the food color in water and add to the batter and then add the essence.

  • If required, add some more water to the batter. Batter should be such that it flows if released.

  • Take a cylindrical container of aluminum or steel of at least one feet height and a half feet diameter. Fill the container with ghee and heat it.

  • When the ghee becomes hot, pour about 50 ml batter into it in a continuous flow, in the centre of the hot ghee.

  • Allow the froth to settle down and then pour another glassful in the centre.

  • When the froth settles down, take out the ghevar and put it on a wire mesh to drain the oil.

  • Now take the sugar syrup in a large and flat container (fit enough to hold the ghevar) and dip the ghevar in it.

  • After a while, take out the ghevar and put it on mesh again.

  • Cool it for a while and spray a few drops of saffron milk, chopped dry fruit and the cardamom powder.

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Milk Burfi

Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : 8

Ingredients :

  • Whole Milk – 4 cup

  • Fresh Lemon Juice – 3 tsp

  • Dried Milk Powder – 4 tbsp

  • Powdered Sugar – 6 tbsp

  • Ghee – 6 tbsp

  • Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp

  • Edible Silver Foil (Varq) – 2 sheets

Method :

  • Heat the milk slightly and curdle it by adding the lemon juice.

  • Then hang it up in a muslin cloth to drain for 3 hours.Milk Burfi

  • The milk solids are turned into cheese now.

  • Kneed this well with the milk powder and sugar.

  • Heat the ghee in a heavy pan and add the cheese mixture.

  • Stir-Fry over very low heat until the ghee separates.

  • Remove form the heat and mix in the cardamom powder.

  • Allow to cool slightly.

  • Knead again to blend.

  • Pat into a flat cake and cool completely.

  • Cut into squares and decorate with silver foil.

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Potato Samosa

Preparation Time : 50 minutes
Serves : 8-10

Ingredients :

  • Boiled potatoes, cut into 1 cm cubes – 500 gms

  • Small onion, chopped – 1

  • Ghee – 60 gms

  • Oil for deep frying

  • Green chillies, finely chopped and seeds removed - 2

  • Garam masala (dried mixture of cinnamon, green cardamom, clove) – 1 tsp


Method :

  • To make filling:

  • Melt ghee in a frying pan, sauté the onion for 2 minutes.

  • Add potatoes and chillies, sauté again for 3 minutes. Stir in garam masala, allow to cool.

  • Method to make samosa:

  • Take walnut-size pieces of dough, roll out on a floured surface, making thin rounds the size of a saucer.

  • Cut in rounds in half, fold each half into a cone shape, seal sides of cone with water and fill with potato mixture.

  • Seal the open ends by brushing water on the edges and pressing lightly, if required lightly press it with a soft cloth.

  • Deep fry samosas in moderately hot oil until golden brown.

  • Drain on absorbent paper.

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Preparation Time : 60 minutes
Serves : 6-8

Ingredients :

  • Plain Maida ( flour) -1 ½ cup

  • Melted and cool Ghee – ¾ cup

  • Curd - ½ cup

  • Soda - ¼ tsp

  • Cardamom powder - ¼ tsp

  • Ghee to deep fry

    For Syrup :

  • Sugar- 1 ½ cup

  • Water- ¾ cup

  • A few drops of lemon juice


Method :

  • Mix flour and soda, sieve it together and add cardamom powder, then rub the mixture thoroughly in ghee.Balushahi

  • Now, add curd to it and mix. Make stiff dough and cover it and keep aside in a cool place for half an hour.

  • After a while, make small round balls around 3" diameter; press the balls to make them flat and then make a depression in the centre (to give it a typical Balushahi shape).

  • Take a thick bottom frying pan and heat the ghee, cool the ghee a bit and then put a few Balushahi patties into the ghee.

  • Fry it at low flame and do not turn the Balushahis till they become pinkish.
    Repeat the same for all Balushahi pieces.

  • Drain the pieces, cool a bit and then put them into the sugar syrup. Allow to soak for 5 minutes.

  • Remove and keep on a perforated plate to drain excess syrup.

  • Now reheat the remaining syrup till 2-1/2 thread consistency is attained and coat the above portion of Balushahis with this thick syrup.

  • Keep it on mesh to cool and allow the sugar to set.

  • You can, now, decorate it as per your wishes.

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Cabbage and Carrot Bhujiya

Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : 4-6

Ingredients :

  • Cabbage, finely sliced - 1 (medium)

  • Carrots, coarsely grated – 350 gms

  • Whole black mustard seeds – 1 tbsp

  • Fresh coriander, chopped – 4 tbsp


  • Green chili, cut into thin strips and seeds removed -1

  • Oil – 4 tbsp

  • Dried red chili - 1

  • Sugar – ½ tsp

  • Fresh lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Method :

  • Heat oil in a frying pan, saute mustard seeds and dried red chilli for 1 minute.

  • Add cabbage, carrots and green chilli. Reduce the heat to low, stir-fry the vegetables for about 30 seconds.

  • Add sugar and coriander, stir fry for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  • Add lemon juice. Remove red chilli before serving.

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Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : 4-6

Ingredients :

  • Milk - 1 litre

  • Rice, soaked for 1 ½ hour before cooking - 200 gms

  • Pistachio a few (finely chopped)

  • Sugar to taste

  • Cardamom, peeled off seeds only- 4 to 5 pieces

  • Raisin a few (soaked few minutes before adding)

Method :

  • Pour milk in a pan and let it boil for few minutes, keeping the flame at low.

  • Stir continuously when the milk becomes a little thick.

  • Put sugar into the milk and stir constantly until the sugar melts.

  • When the entire content is ready, put the rice in it and stirring at intervals, let it boil for a while.

  • When the rice is cooked, garnish it with the chopped pistachios, cardamoms and raisins.

  • Serve it hot or cold.

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Pista Sandesh

Preparation Time : 45 minutes
Serves : Makes 6

Ingredients :

  • Paneer – 225 gms

  • Sugar – 150 gms

  • Green cardamom seeds, powder – ½ tsp

  • Pistachios thinly sliced and crushed - 10

  • Rose Water – 1 tbsp

Method :

  • Combine the sugar and paneer and mix well.Sandesh

  • Place the mixture over the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps.

  • When the mixture solidifies, splash the rose water on it and remove the pan from the heat. Stir few more times.

  • Place the cardamom and pistachios in two separate plates.

  • Now divide the mixture into several portions of the required size and flatten them to give the desired shapes.

  • Dip each piece into both plates in turn so that the front of the sandesh is coated with crumbs.

  • Serve cold sandesh.

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