Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lakshmi puja

lakshmi puja
Originally uploaded by swapna bolleboina.
Today was the 11th Friday of Lakshmi puja. I started the puja in April and have been religiously performing it on Fridays except during the time of emergencies. Today was the culmination of the 11days' prayers. Interestingly enough it's been exactly a month since me and Ram got married :). It was quite exciting for me and I was looking forward to perfromign the vrath.

Well, this is not the first time that I have done something like this. Since my childhood, it was necessary for us to visit temple, learn some slokas and perform puja. We always found peace and solace in praying, following certain rituals and chanting the hymns.

There was something magical about the whole experience. There were times when I used to read "The Bhagavad-Gita" at least thrice a week. It surely made me feel so calm from within and taught me to be more dedicated to my work, detached and also about inner strength. I am still not certain whether it is psychological or whether there really exists an eternal power that keeps rescuing us whenever needed. But most often, and many instances in my life have reinforced my beliefs in the eternal power, some supernatural force which helps you when you cry out for help.

Anyways, I digress! Coming to the puja, I was really happy the way I did it. As usual, I got up in the morning but was very reluctant to take a bath. I was glued to my laptop for some time and then started cleaning up some stuff. I started cooking at 2:00pm. I had already decided to make 5 dishes for prasadam. I made Pramannam (jaggery rice), Daddojanam (yogurt rice), Pulihora (tamarind rice), Kheer (with vermicelli) and Fruit salad. I finished cooking by 5:30pm, had a bath again and went to do some last minute shopping. I got some yogurt, bananas and honey for "panchamrutham".

Panchamrutham is a mixture of honey, bananas, yogurt, milk and sugar all mixed to do abhishekam (holy bath). My mother-in-law had presented me with a Lakshmi idol and I decided to perform abhishekam to Goddess Lakshmi's idol. It took me around 45 minutes to arrange everything. I spread a cloth and then spread a red cloth on it. On the red cloth I spread some rice, placed a copper container with water. On it, I placed a small bowl with my gold earrings. I had the photo of Goddess Lakshmi. I cleaned it and decorated with sandalwood and vermilion dots. After lighting the diya with ghee and sesame oil, I went ahead and performed abhishekam. In between I had to stop cos my itunes started playing filmi songs instead of the slokas. II had to reset it and got back to my ritual. I was disturbed by a couple of phone calls from my friends but after that I had no problem performing the puja.

First you have to pray to Lakshmi and then her different avtaars. After that you need to chant her 108 names called ashtotharam. While chanting the names, it is good to sprinkle rice or vermilion or kumkum as Indians call it. As soon as you are done chanting her names, we have to recite her sthotram or hymns. Later we read a story from the book about her miracles and then do the arthi.

I had very few visitors but was happy for the ones who came. After the puja I broke the fast by eating the offerings to the Goddess called prasadam. I was so happy that everything turned out so good. In fact it was really yummy.

Overall everything went well. I recommend this puja to everyone who has some unwanted wishes to be fulfilled.

Swayampaakam: Carrot spring onions fry

carrot curry
Originally uploaded by swapna bolleboina.
In telugu "swayampaakam" means a recipe which you create; your original stuff. Recently I have been browsing through a lot of food blogs. In fact one of my fellow bloggers who is a vegan (MC Seitan) has such wonderful recipes on his blog, that I was lured to search on the internet for vegan/veggie recipes. Thanks a lot Seitan. At last your effort to encourage vegetarianism is not going in vain:).

I came across so many blogs with lost of recipes with vivid pictures and decided to blog one of my own creation:). Thanks everyone for the inspiration.

So here goes the recipe:

Carrot spring onions fry


Carrots (the bunny carrots which are long) 10 (Chop them to thin circles)

Spring onions 4 (Chop them to fine pieces)

Potatoes 1 (chop them to tiny pieces)

Oil 2 tbsp

Pepper 2tsp

Dried red chilies 2 (break each of them into halves)

Mustard&cumin seeds 1tsp

White onions 2 (big ones)

Garlic & ginger paste 1tsp

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Procedure: Pour the oil in the pan and after 3 minutes drop the mustard and cumin seeds along with the dried red chilies. Wait till the seeds start to splatter and then add onions to it. Mix everything in the pan and then add garlic ginger paste and turmeric. Mix everything well till you can see the onions turning yellow and slightly brown. Add the cut potatoes and mix them well. Then add salt to it. After 4 minutes when you can see the potatoes getting the yellow tinge, add the carrots and mix them well. After 2 minutes, add the spring onions. Keep mixing the whole ingredients in the pan while the spring onions soak the oil and reduce in size. After mixing everything thoroughly, add salt to taste, pepper and then close the lid. Allow the whole fry to cook for about 10 minutes on medium flame. In between keep mixing them and make sure to cover the lid.

Serve the fry with chapattis or with rice and rasam. Well, as I am trying to cut off on my carbs, I eat one portion of rice and 4 portions of curry or vegetables. This curry of mine will make you love vegetables and eat less of rice. However, if you are someone who loves spicy food with lots of flavor then this is not the right one for you. But, if you are the one who enjoys mild flavors then this is the right choice. Try it and let me know how it tastes:D

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?