Keeping the fast

Photo: Priti Singh  

Janmashtami or Gokulashtami is the celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth. Many people fast the entire day. Some of them observe the nirjala vrat, where one does not take even water for the duration of the fast. There also those who undertake the phalahar fast, where one can have fruits, milk, water and sweets.

As with all festivals, this celebration, too, has its special dishes. Here are some simple recipes that are popular up-North, you can try out, even if you’re not fasting.

Makhan Mishri

This is said to be Krishna’s favourite food.


2 cups full cream

2 tsp curd

1 cup water

4 tsp diamond sugar

4 almonds, coarsely ground


Keep full cream at room temperature for 20 minutes. Put it into a big bowl and add curd. Mix well, add water and beat well. This will separate the butter from the whey. This butter is the makhan.

Transfer to a serving bowl, add diamond sugar and almond and mix.

Top with a tulsi leaf as garnish and serve.

Rajgira Potato Poori

During fasting, be it for Janmashtami or Navrathri, food made only of certain flours is used. Amaranth or rajgira flour is one of them. The gluten-free flour is healthy, and when eaten right, has a cleansing effect on the digestive system.


2 cups rajgira flour

2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed

2 tsp black pepper powder

1/2 tsp jeera

1/2 tsp white sesame seeds

Rock salt: to taste

2 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Water as needed

Oil for frying


Take rajgira flour in a broad bowl. Add all the ingredients, except oil and water.

Mix well. The potato will help in binding the flour. Add water little by little and knead into dough. Cover and keep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan.

Make small balls from the dough and roll into medium-sized pooris. Fry them in hot oil.

Remove excess oil. Serve hot with raita.

Sabudana Khichdi

Indian households are no strangers to tapioca; in this form, it takes on the avatar of another favourite dish.


1 cup sago

1 potato, peeled and cut into small pieces

3 tsp peanuts roasted, peeled and coarsely ground

5-6 curry leaves

2 tsp sesame seeds roasted

1/2 tsp chilli powder

Rock salt to taste

2 tsp ghee/oil

1 red chilli

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cloves

1/2 inch cinnamon stick


Clean and wash sago. Soak in water for 2 hours. It will double in size. Drain excess water using colander.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add red chilli and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crackle, add cloves and cinnamon and curry leaves. Add potato cubes and mix well. Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.

Add sago, peanuts, sesame seeds, rock salt and chilli powder. Mix well. Cover and allow it to cook till it becomes transparent. Serve hot with curd.

Dhaniya Panjiri

This is a dish prepared specially on Janmashtami and is given as prasad.


1 cup whole dry coriander

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup lotus seeds

1/2 cup chopped nuts (almond, cashew, pistachio)

1/2 cup dry copra, grated

4 tsp ghee


Dry-roast coriander seeds till the aroma wafts from the pan. Remove from heat. Allow it to cool and grind into a coarse powder.

Dry-roast the mixed nuts.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add lotus seeds and fry it. Allow it to cool and make into a powder.

Add powdered sugar, nuts and grated copra.

Mix well and serve.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:12:18 AM |

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