Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ganesh Chaturthi 2010 and delicious Olan

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi and I bow down to Ganapati with all humility and hope. My grandmother decorates the little family idols very aesthetically each day, but special occasions call for special tribute.

Ganesha is also called Vighnaharta or Vighneshwar, the one who removes obstacles. Vighna means obstacles in Sanskrit. He is prayed first before starting an important task, be it laying the foundation stone of a house, starting a business or anything ambitious that needs the grace of God.

God has not disappointed me thus far. In spite of the many obstacles, there's this faith that things will eventually be fine and they have. So, as we embark on a series of festivities and auspicious dates from today, I resolve to maintain my enthusiasm and faith in the time to come. Ganesha, continue to protect me, my family and my loved ones.

Ganapati is also the official foodie of all Gods, so the huge tummy. Therefore the name Lambodar... Talking about food, I made Olan today, following Maiji's recipe given in a beautifully written nostalgic post. The 82-year-old is a very active blogger and you must read her blog Memories and Musings - Life in Pondicherry. (You may want to read an article on other senior citizens who are active bloggers in this article. I wrote it almost a year back)

Olan is a popular dish made in Kerala with pumpkin, coconut milk, green chillies and curry leaves being the main ingredients. Add potatoes and green beans to enhance the flavour.

I made a few changes in Maiji's recipe though. I started with a tadka of jeera*, hing*, curry leaves and one slit green chilli in ghee*. Then I added potato, sauted it for 1-2 minutes and added about 2-3 cups of water. After five minutes, I added long beans and followed the recipe till the end. We usually grind green chillies in a mixer with salt and lemon juice and use this paste in all dishes.. In addition to the slit green chilli in the tadka, I used about 2-3 spoonfuls of this paste in the Olan I prepared, for the coconut milk, pumpkin and potatoes give the dish a slightly sweetish bend. Adjust according to taste.

I surfed several Olan recipes online and none mention the tadka, instead, all call for pouring 2-3 spoonfuls of coconut oil towards the end. But, even if the tadka version may not be authentic, I assure you it turns out every bit as delicious.

* Jeera= cumin, Hing = Asafoetida and Ghee = clarified butter.

** Do not use photos without permission.