Makar Sankranti is often known as the festival of kites and associated with Til Gul laddoo, Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India in different names. It is synonymous with the completion of the Harvest festival in northern India. It is a Hindu festival, falling on the same day every year of the solar calendar and is believed to be a festival of prosperity, peace and happiness. It marks the end of winter solstice with the transition of the sun in the zodiac Makar (Capricorn). It marks the beginning of the month of Magha in the Hindu solar calendar.
It is known as Lohri in Punjab, Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Makara Sankranti in Karnataka, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of central and north India and as Makar Sankranti in the west.
India is a country rich in different cultures and traditions. Each culture and religion has their own type of food specialty which is associated with their festivals. Makar Sankranti traditionally considers role of foods like Til, Gul, Bajra and Variety of Vegetables very important in its celebrations. Their importance is mentioned in Ayurveda, as they boost our immunity along with keeping us warm in the cold winter months. They are also full of nutrients and minerals which help in bone health and respiratory problems.
Til (Sesame seeds):
Til seeds help in maintaining our skin health. It keeps skin soft and healthy. They also boost immunity, bone health, reduce depression and maintain blood pressure due ti presence of anti-inflammatory properties, calcium and magnesium. Til seeds also help in improving hair growth and possess anti-ageing properties due to presence of anti-oxidants.
It is loaded with minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Jaggery also improves bowel movements and helps to relieve constipation. It also helps in boosting immunity, helps to ease menstrual cramp, prevents joint pain and helps to detoxify body.
Til (Sesame seeds) and Gul (Jaggery) laddoo’s are made especially during Sankrant and exchanged and distributed amongst family and friends.
Bajra is one of those healthy millet which has innumerable health benefits. It has anti-oxidant properties and is a rich source of B vitamins. It helps to boost immunity, fight cold, help in digestion, control cholesterol and helps to prevent cancer. Khichadi made from bajra is a savory item especially made for Sankranti.
Variety of seasonal vegetables are cooked together into a recipe called Bhogi Vegetable which incorporates variety of minerals, vitamins as well as macro nutrients and provides variety of health benefits. Guajarati’s make a traditional dish called ‘Undhiyo’ which is a Sankrant special and contains loads of mixed vegetables. Gulpoli is made by people of Maharashtra on this day.
Makar Sankrant Special Recipe: Gulpoli
- Wheat Flour – 1 cup
- Maida – 1 Cup
- Salt – As per taste
- Water – As required for dough
- Ghee – ½ tbsp
- Jaggery – ¾ Cup
- Sugar – 1/3 cup
- Besan – 1 tbsp
- Sesame Seeds (Til) – 2½ tbsp
- Elaichi (Nutmeg) powder – 1 tsp
- Ghee – 1 ½ tbsp
- In a broad pan, Grate Jaggery and add the cardamom and elaichi powder aalong with 2 tbsp warm water. Let the jaggery dissolve into a paste.
- In a separate bowl, make dough with wheat flour, ghee, salt and water. Let it rest for some time.
- Heat a girdle, and dry roast the poppy and sesame seeds. After it cools, grind into a fine powder.
- Roast the gram flour along with 2 tbsp ghee, till it changes colour and aroma comes. Now mix it with the jaggery mixture and the seeds powder.
- Make balls of wheat dough and the mixture. Make Roti with dough and add the gram flour ball mixture on it and roll on the Roti. Add another layer of wheat dough ball and cover it. Heat a tawa (Girdle) and roast both the sides of Gulpoli on it till golden brown.
- The Gulpoli is ready. It can be served by adding hot ghee on top of it.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Makar Sankrati! Like the saying goes in Maharashtra “Tilgul ghya, goad goad bola”. It’s believed that on distributing these healthy sweet things during this day will not only improve your health but will give way to sweet new beginnings by burying all previous differences.