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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Divine feast.

Temple food is always delicious .Maybe because it is offered to Gods & Goddesses before being distributed .Maybe,the ingredients used are as fresh as they can be, which gives it an out of this world taste ! And it satiates our palates.It is truly fulfilling, to say the least !

At one such Sri Satyanarayan pooja in a temple belonging to the Udipi Sri Krishna Mutt, I had the best of the prasad.It was just a complete meal by itself.It was a simple spread of four to five dishes .Yet, it was simply superb !

We prostrated before the Almighty & partook of the Sri Satyanarayan Prasad which is a semolina & sugar preparation made with generous helpings of ghee.It is garnished with cardammom powder, kismis,ghee fried cashews.It also contains some amount of mashed bananas which gives this  prasad its unique taste as compared to simple semolina shira  This semolina prasad is the prasad for the pooja.It is believed that partaking of this prasad gives the devotees all that is needed even if the devotees has skipped the pooja. That is the power of this prasad !The semolina prasad was offered in katoris made from dried leaves.The prasad or shira is off white & is of grainy texture.It has specks of brown ( the kismis which have become saturated with the sweetness) some white specks which are the ghee fried cashews & some black dots which is the cardamom powder which makes it so very aromatic !  Temples have always favoured green efforts. Also offered as prasad was a light yellow concoction of milk,curds, honey & mashed banana.Of course,this was offered only one spoonful per devotee.

Then,we were offered platefuls of bisi bele bhaath,medu vadas,sweet vadas,gojju & patrode.I was delighted looking at the contents of the plate itself.The aroma of all this, was so irressitible ! Bisibele bhaath is a traditional dish from Karnataka.It is made of equal quantities of rice & toover dal cooked slowly - so much so that the two cannot be separated .Cooked veggies like carrots,beans & peas add to the taste of this dish which is a complete meal by itself as it contains,carbohydrates,proteins & veggies !The bisibele bhaath is yellowish orange in colour almost brown or reaching there.Of course,one can spot the firm cooked veggies that is the orange coloured carrot pieces,the green coloured beans & peas .And of couse ,one can smell it before one eats it as the spices hit our nostrils first salivating us !  

 The medu vadas & sweet vadas were crisp & light .They felt oil free.The sweet vadas had jaggery & mashed bananas .Such a healthy combination.The vadas were dunked in wheat flour & fried.The sweet vadas were brown in colour .The medu vadas had the right amount of green chillies & curry leaves.Medu vadas are oozing with the protein of urad dal ! Nutritious to the core ! The medu vadas were like the colour of the moon when it is pale yellow & the texture is  rugged. Patrode is a fried vada made from a combination of colacasia leaves dunked in a batter of urad dal ,mung dal ,rice & spices.This is then steam cooked & shallow fried on tawa. The patrode are layers of green colacasis leaves & yellow dal paste which turns brownish yellow orange when shallow fried. The gojju is a dip or a sauce made from tamarind paste & jaggery, to which spices are added after boiling the concoction. This is a tangy brown accompaniment to the medu vada & the patrode .The medu vada & patrode tasted heavenly without the accompaniment.Moreover bisi bele bhaath is generally eaten  with dry fried veggies like potato fry or bhindi fry.Bisi bele bhaath can even be the perfect partner for papads ,patrode & medu vada.The melt in mouth bisi bele bhaath with the crunch of the fried medu vada & patrode was way too perfect.The whole meal was so fulfilling that  I never took another helping ! The divine treat was so  wholesome  ! And then, this was washed down with a  watery sago kheer ! Deliciously simple ! I avoid milk based payasams & yet, this payasam had the least of milk which had been diluted so much that I simply  licked it ! The payasam had been coloured with just a pinch of turmeric & this made for pastel yellow shade !  This feast was relished by me more than four  years back & yet it is so memorable that I can feel the taste of all the dishes as if  I am enjoying then now !

If only the meal of bisi bele bhaath ,medu vadas ,patrode ,sago payasam,gojju & jaggery pakodas were served in borosil dishes ,then,plates would hardly be needed.The appearance in beautiful see through glassware like borosil would have inspired all, to eat it straight, from the borosil vessels in which the various dishes were kept !  There would have been a stampede, for sure !The food would look golden brown ,orange & yellow ! Golden  hues ! Yes,this food is worth its weight in gold & more !

The gojju would look appetising in mixing bowl,the bisi bele bhaath in a deep round casserole ,the patrode & medu vadss seperately in two easy grip round casserole sets,& the payasam in easy grip & drop round casserole.And the icing on the cake, would be when the dishes would be served in borosil serving plate followed by the payasam in borosil small glass katories ! The temple treat in borosil  glassware would be a feast for the eyes as well !

And after that meal ,I have made sure, that whenever I get invited to any feast at a temple ,I make it sure to attend it ! And needless to add ,they  all  have been immensely  fulfilling meals !

This is my blog post for "My beautiful food " Round 1/2 on IndiBlogger .

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