"Food in mythology", I am inspired to post these Ramanavami recipes. Sri Ramanavami, for the uninitiated, is the birthday of Lord Rama, the hero of one of the two great Hindu epics - Ramayana.
Sriramanavami falls in the lunar month of Panguni (March/April), marking the end of "Vasantha kalam" (spring) and start of scorching summer. Little wonder that the food caters to the cooling needs of the body. Perhaps the food-tradition is different in North India, where Rama was reportedly born, but down South, we prepare for the impending merciless onslaught of the sun god, to whose clan Rama belonged ("Surya Vamshi"). One cannot imagine any other direct connection between Panagam, neermor and Rama. In fact, Rama was, as far as we know, not a food -connoisseur like His avataric successor, Krishna.
In general, Sriramanavami in South is celebrated (?!) with buttermilk, a sweet jaggery drink called panagam and a salad called Kosumalli. The feel of the cold, sweet pangam, and the cold spicy buttermilk, descending down your gullet on a hot afternoon has to be experienced to believe.
Green chillies-1 finely chopped
Coriander leaves fresh- 1 little
If buttermilk is thick, beat it and add 2 more cups of water.Then add the other ingredients. Serve it chilled.
Jaggery-powdered 1 small cup
Dried ginger-sukku- a little
Cardamom- 1 little
Mix the crushed cardamom, dried ginger and jaggery and water. Serve it.
Kosumalli(Moong dhal salad)
Moong dhal-1 cup
Grated carrot, mango -a little
Green chilly-1 finely chopped
Fresh coriander leaves-chopped a little
Mustard for seasoning
Soak Moong dhal for half an hour.
Drain the water and add all the other ingredients. Season it with mustard and serve.
Of course, as with any celebrations involving India, each family has its own variation/addition. Some families make moong daal payasam - a protein rich pudding that is supposed to cool the body. Some more adventurious families make kadalai paruppu (channa dal) vadai - a deep fried thingummy, that adds to calories, which we suspect is a product of overactive taste buds. Nevertheless, if festivals are for celebration, all is welcome, and your imagination and enthusiasm can help you set up your own family traditions.
Jai Sri Ram.