Krishna Jayanthi or Janmashtami

In the month of Sravan (Aavani) on the eighth day (ashtami ) after full moon is celebrated Janashtami or Gokulashtami.  For some the birth star of Lord Krishna is important and so they celebrate it on the day Rohini star falls.  Both come within a few days of each other, invariably.
As I have written earlier,  the customs and traditions followed are many even for the same festival.  So I would like to share here how I celebrate this festival. 
 In the morning, we perform puja to the Lord Krishna idols we have.  He is in the famous crawling pose.  After performing archana, we offer five types of fruits that include jamun (Jambul in Hindi or naga pazham in Tamil ).  
My father  offered Jambul leaves also for Krishnashtami puja. We also offer, milk, curd, butter and ghee.  In the evening we perform puja to the picture of Lord Krishna for more than five decades, now ( I am told).  It is a Thanjavur painting that we have.
The offering include that are the favourites to many of us.  Uppu seedai, vella seedai, thenkuzhal, sweet appam, kheer or javvarisi (sago) payasam and aval (flattened rice).  Aval reminds us of Sudama and Lord Krishna's friendship and Akshaya Tritiya.
Easy sweet appam - Naivedyam recipe for Gokulashtami 
How to make the sweet appam
Add maida, sugar and milk in the ratio 1:1:1 and mix thoroughly so that there are no solid pieces .  Add cardamom powder and finely cut cashew nuts (optional).  Take the dough in a ladle and fry in oil or to avoid oil one can make it in kuzhi paniyaram style. It is tastes really good either way.This is a quick and easy variety of sweet appam using maida and so can be done easily.  We use sugar instead of jaggery.
The ingredients are
Maida - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Little cardamom powder.
Boil and cool the milk , mix the maida and sugar.  Wait for ten minutes so that the sugar dissolves.
Then add cardamom powder. and stir well.  The required consistency is as shown in the images.
Fry the appam one at a time so that appam do not stick.


Thenkuzhal murukku naivedyam recipe for Sri Jayanthi / Krishnashtami 
Raw rice - 5 measures
Urad dhal - 1 measure
Cumin seeds
Asfoetida powder
Salt to taste
The following images show the traditional method of preparing thenkulal for neivedyam.  Take five measures of rice, soak in water for half an hour.  Then spread the rice on a clean cloth and allow it to dry in shade.
Dry roast the rice and one measure of urad dhal and mix them.  Grind the mixture well at home or at the local market. 
The flour is ready.  Add salt to taste, some cumin seeds, asafoetida powder.  Add few drops of oil or butter and mix the flour to get a dough.  Heat oil in a vessel and prepare the thenkuzhal by frying in oil.
The photos below may give a better idea of the traditional method of preparing this recipe for offering to Lord Krishna on His Birthday.


How to draw Krishna's Feet
Feet of Lord Krishna are drawn from the entrance to the Puja room just as we do for Varalakshmi Vratham where we draw the feet of Goddess Lakshmi.  Some designs that can be drawn are shown in the image below.  Ready made stencils are also available.

How to make uppu seedai (Palakayalu in Telugu)
Raw rice is washed and dried on a clean dry cloth in shade preferably under a ceiling fan and made into flour.  Roast in a flat vessel (vanali) for a very short duration (We should be able draw a rangoli line ! neatly without discontinuity! after roasting) .  Roast urad dhal till it changes colour to golden brown.  Make it into a flour in a mixer and sieve it.  For one measure of the rice flour add 1/8 th measure of urad flour. Add asafoetida, salt and jeera (cumin seeds) to this mixture.  For better results, add butter.  Mix all these ingredients with water to get the seedai dough.  Roll them into spheres, do not roll them or press too much and fry in oil.  
(Caution: Seedai can burst if there are any foreign particles in the ingredients used. So take care while frying in oil. ).
How to make the sweet appam
Add maida, sugar and milk in the ratio 1:1:1 and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps.  Add cardamom powder and finely cut cashew nuts (optional).  Take the dough in a ladle and fry in oil or to avoid oil one can make it in kuzhi paniyaram style. It is tastes really good either way.
How to make vella seedai
Home made rice flour, jaggery (small pieces) and water are needed for this seedai.  The proportion is 1:1:1.  Take water in a kadai, add the jaggery pieces and let in boil for five minutes or for a couple of minutes after jaggery melts completely. During this process add white sesame seeds (a teaspoon) and pinch of cardamom powder. Filter the jaggery solution if required. Dry coconut ( kopparai can be added and that is optional.
Now,add rice flour and stir continuously to get a dough like formation.  At this stage add one tablespoon ground fried urad dhal as in uppu seedai or dry roasted urad dhal powder .  Mix it thoroughly and close it with a lid.  After three hours using the dough, roll it to make ball like shapes - a little ghee can be added to make this dough smooth and non-sticky while rolling. Do not apply too much pressure while making a ball or do not try to get a perfect spherical powder Fry in oil to get vella seedai. Oil should not be overheated otherwise the seedai will break.




Javvarisi payasam or Sago kheer or Sago payasam for Krishna Jayanthi
Roast  sago in ghee ( clarified butter ) till the granules resemble pearls.  Keep it aside.  Boil milk and the roasted sago till it is cooked fully.  We can be sure that it is cooked fully when the granules become transparent.  Now add cardamom powder, and allow the mixture of milk, sago and cardamom powder to cool.  
After a few minutes we can observe that sago absorbs the milk.  Now add more milk, sugar to your taste and boil again.  
Fry cashew nuts, raisins and almonds in ghee and add them to the payasam.  I have added saffron too and that is optional.  Saffron is added to hot milk and this milk is added to the payasam.
Aval payasam recipe 
A simple and easy naivedyam is aval payasam for Gokulashtami.   We need sugar , aval or flattened rice ( it can be used as it is or we can grind it coarsely with a mixer ).  The advantage is that it can be roasted quickly.
The broken aval is dry roasted with little ghee in a vessel till the colour changes slightly.   Then in a vessel water is heated and boiled and the aval is added to the water till it gets cooked.   The milk and sugar are added and heating is continued for few minutes. Cardamom powder is also added
Then garnish with cashews and raisins fried in ghee.  Add them to the kheer or payasam.  Aval payasam is ready for naivedyam.

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