Makar Sankranti – the first Indian festival in a new year !!
Makar Sankranti is one of the major Indian harvest festival celebrated on 14th of January of every year (15th January if leap year). This is an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated almost everywhere in the country in numerous cultural forms and different names as well. Every region celebrate it in innumerable ways according to the localization, culture and traditions. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition, so basically the sun enters the sphere of Capricorn zodiac on this day. This holy festival also marks the beginning of warmer and longer days as compared to nights, that means on the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun starts its journey to the Northern Hemisphere. Devotees take dips in the holy water and offer prayers to the sun as well. Makar Sankranti is such a blissful festival celebrated by Hindus with a lot of enthusiasm. This auspicious day is celebrated in different ways all over India as lohri in Punjab, pongal in Tamil Nadu, uttarayan in Gujrat, bihu in Assam, poush parbon in West Bengal. Similar to any other festival in India, Makar Sankranti is incomplete without preparing some delicious traditional delicacies. One of such delicacy is puran poli, the traditional Maharashtrian sweet paratha also known as poli, obbattu, hollige or oligalu in different languages in India. Puran means the stuffing and poli is the outer layer. Puran poli is a sweet paratha stuffed with mashed chana dal, jaggery and coconut. The stuffing is flavored with cardamom powder or nutmeg powder. Also the stuffing is made in many variations region wise in different traditional ways in India. Well, instead of using the maida (all purpose flour) here I have used the whole wheat flour. Also some luke warm water is used while kneading the dough to make it much softer. Since my family like the stuffing part to be a grainy texture, so I have not opted the grinding of stuffing. But if you like the smooth texture of the stuffing, then first grind coconut, jaggery and cooked chana dal to a smooth paste and then cook to make a smooth texture puran. This dish has a melt in mouth texture with a sublime sweetness and often eaten as such or served with a spoonful of ghee. Preferably these polis are eaten at breakfast or as a post-meal dessert, particularly during festivals. So lets go in details.