Updated: Feb 8
Basant Ritu, meaning Spring season. I am sure you are now able to relate to what this festival "Basant Panchami" is all about.
Yes, that's right - the festival is all about welcoming the Spring season which is about to begin in 40 days.
Wondering what the 40 days significance is.? The transition from one season to another takes 40 days. And after the 40 days, the new season comes in full bloom. This festival Basant Panchami is transition phase from Winter to Spring.
This festival has few other significances - it is also celebrated as the Birthday of Goddess Saraswati. Hence, it is also called "Saraswati Puja". Also, yellow colored clothes are worn by worshipers and dishes (savories and dessert) are made, becuse yellow was Goddess Saraswati's favorite color.
According to the Hindu Mythology this festival is also connected to God of Love, Kamadeva, who was turned into ashes by Lord Shiva for breaking his meditation. It is said that at this time of the year Kamadeva stimulates the passion of the earth and people, thereby bringing the land alive with new blossoms.
Sun God, Lord Surya is also worshiped by many on this day, as the Deo-Sun Shrine in the state of Bihar, India was established on Basant Panchami. I guess this diversity in our country Inida is what makes even a festival celebration so much due to it's numerous significances and ways of celebrating.
Now one of the most traditional recipe made on Basant Panchami is the "Meethe Chawal" and here is presenting to you the recipe of it -
Serving: 2 servings
Time to prep: 20 minutes
Time to cook: 20 minutes
1/2 cup Basmati Rice
2 tbsp Ghee
1/2 inch piece Cinnamon
2 Green Cardamom
1/3 cup Sugar (Unrefined or Non-Bleached)
1/4 cup Water
15 Saffron Strands
3 Almonds (sliced)
4 Cashew (chopped)
2 Pistachios (chopped)
2 cups water
Let's Get Cooking:
Wash the Basmati Rice in water for 3-4 times and soak it in water for 20 minutes.
Boil the rice in approximately 2 cups of water on medium flame for 8-10 minutes. The rice should be cooked but not raw or too mushy. So keep checking while it is being cooked.
Once cooked, strain the water and keep the cooked rice aside.
In a heavy bottom pan add some ghee and heat it on low flame. To it, add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and sauté for 30 seconds.
Now add sugar and 1/4 water and cook till the sugar dissolves completely. Simultaneously add saffron strands and mix well.
When the water starts to boil, add the cooked rice to it.
While mixing the rice be gentle so you don't break the long grains of rice and see that there are no lumps.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately 5-6 minutes.
Once the moisture is almost evaporated, add almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios and mix well.
The Meethe Chawal is now ready and you can serve it in a bowl.
Use unrefined sugar.
For vegan option, you can use oil instead of ghee.