A harvest festival of India, Makar Sankranti is enthusiastically celebrated all across the country. It marks the onset of warm spring days and the end of winter. Like any other festival, Sankranti too is incomplete without traditional delicacies. Most sweets are made with jaggery and sesame, and are popular among children and adults alike.
Here’s a look at a few specialities to savour on this festive day.
1. Til Gul Laddu
A staple Lohri and Makar Sankranti sweet, TilGul Laddu is easy to prepare and takes not more than 20 minutes at the most. Tracing its origins to Maharashtra, these sesame balls are perfect for light winters, since they keep the body warm. They are healthy and wholesome, and rich in minerals too. The aroma, taste and texture of tilgul laddus or tilache ladoo are simply hard to resist!
This is a traditional crunchy Indian sweet, loved by children. A great alternative to chocolates, chikki is made of sesame seeds and jaggery, and is available in delicious rustic flavours. Rajgirachikki, coconut, dry fruits and peanut chikki are rich in flavour and high in iron content. Marathi folk exchange chikki to get over previous discords and restore the sweetness of friendship.
Made of sesame seeds, peanuts, butter, curry leaves, ground nuts, chana daal and rice, this is a soft, delicious and traditional sweet dish prepared during Sankranti. It is not overly sweet or heavy on the stomach. You can eat to your heart’s content without having to worry about any adverse health impacts. Appalus are usually offered as prasad first and then consumed by the people. It hardly takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and can be served either hot or cold. Make sure you deep fry them well for the perfect flavour.
4. Doodh Puli
Mostly prepared in Bengal and a few parts of Orissa, this is one of the most sought after sweet dishes. It is made of rice flour-stuffed dumplings and jaggery, boiled in thick milk seasoned with a dash of cardamom and finely grated coconut. The pulis have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and the rich aroma adds to the scrumptious experience. Another alternative to doodhpuli is pithepuli, which is fried instead of being soaked in milk.
Particularly prepared during Makar Sankantri, Gajak adds to the fanfare of the festival. Roasted sesame seeds, cashew nuts and ghee go into the making of these traditional goodies. It is a unique delicacy with a desi flavour and the perfect mix of sweet and crunchy. A bite of gajak rolls, topped with nuts and pista, filled with khoya, is nothing short of a gastronomical delight.
Puran Poli, Tirunelveli Halwa, Fini and Patishapta are other celebrated dishes to snack on during this winter festival. You can savour the goodness of these dishes any time of the year.