Lohri/Uttarayan/Pongal/ Bihu or Sankranti is our own Indian Harvest Festival that blesses people in India with the cornucopia of harvested crops of various seeds like Sesame (teel), grains -Millets like Jowar, Fruits like Ber (Indian Jujubes), sugarcane and vegetables like variety of beans, purple yams.
For me Sankranti celebration always begins with making Teel-Gul chikki (Sesame snaps) followed by Undhiyu and other delicacies if possible.I remember how at my mom’s place our kitchen would actually turn into a Chikki (Brittles) making factory 2-3 days before Sankranti, where we made a variety of brittles with peanuts, sesame, puffed rice, dry chickpeas etc combined with jaggery. My dad would be the happiest soul as he loved the sesame snaps and soft sesame laddoos that my mom made.
On the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti it was kind of mandatory to make Undhiyu, a mix of about 10-12 seasonal veggies stuffed and cooked with fresh seasonal herbs and spices. That aroma of Undhiyu being cooked made you voluntarily sniff the wisps of fragrant smoke in the kitchen that travelled the entire neighborhood, making you feel like “ neighbors’ envy, owner’s pride ” Undhiyu is almost incomplete without the complementary pooris and mix Daal khichri.
Another exciting ritual without which this festival is incomplete was that of Kite Flying!! Bringing kites and the glass-powder laced, deadly reel of thread attached to the most prized possession of that day ; your KITE was no way less ceremonial than bringing a crown for the king before his darbaar began !!
The excitement of kite flying, kite ‘fighting’, the teenage ‘Terrace Romances’ happening in the background of all this, the aroma of Undhiyu and Pooris, the sharing of brittles, all of these with a beautiful Indian winter sunset of January made another festival end with lots of freshly made memories!!
Do enjoy this picture of my home made Teel Gul Chikki or Talsaakdi as we call it in Gujarati. Perfectly brittle ‘Brittle’ is really a reward !! Happy Uttarayan/ Makar Sankranti my friends !!