Makar Sankranti is a celebration of India’s harvests. It is also the day of the equinox, that is the length of the day and the night are the same. According to Hindu beliefs, Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of an auspicious period. No wonder that it is celebrated with aplomb around the country. Sesame seeds and Molasses take center stage, and sweets are distributed generously. In fact, Makar Sankranti and Sweets are inextricably associated in the Indian culture. Here’s a list of sweets you should have for your Makar Sankranti weekend if you have a sweet tooth.
Most Bengali households still have Patishapta on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti. It is a rice crepe with jaggery based sweet fillings. Usually, two variants of this sweet are available: with coconut fillings and with khoya (milk solids) fillings. It used to be a homemade delicacy previously, however now you can find them on the renowned sweet shops of Kolkata.
Be it Til (sesame) or puffed rice (muri), or the traditional peanuts, chikkis are a favorite amongst children. Although it is available throughout the year, the best batches are made during this time of the year. Usually, they are available on the roadside tea stalls and sweet shops all over India.
This candy-like sweet has a long shelf life and can be easily carried and stored. They are irresistible brittle balls made with sugar/ jaggery, sesame seeds, and nuts. The Rewari Gajaks of Meerut are widely popular and exported to several countries across the globe. Several sweet shops in North India have a variety of Rewari sold throughout the year.
Puran Polis are Maharashtrian flatbreads made of Bengal gram flour, jaggery, sesame, and coconut and roasted to golden brown in pure ghee. They are known to add strength and hence often recommended for children. Almond powder is sometimes added to the jaggery fillings for superior taste. In fact, the dish is fairly common across Southern India and is known by different names – bobbatlu in Telugu, obbattu holige in Kannada, and boli in Tamil and Malayalam.
This is another Bengali delicacy, which is like a coconut filled, deep fried pasta, dipped in jaggery-flavored milk. t is available in different variants – steamed, fried and soaked in milk. Folding the puli in proper shape and size is an art in itself and requires some amount of expertise. Usually Puli Pitha is a household delicacy and hard to find elsewhere.
An Assamese pancake like sweet made with sticky rice, jaggery and sesame. It is also prepared during other Assamese festivals like Bihu. Bora rice is an essential ingredient of this item and can rarely be found outside the state. Til Pitha is a household festive delicacy in Assam and is hard to find in the shops.
Another Punjabi delicacy prepared with rice flour, dry fruits, sugar, and ghee. It is prepared during festivals and weddings across North India. Not for the calorie-conscious, this fat-rich item is widely consumed in winters to prevent cough, cold, arthritis and body pain. It is also available in the sweet shops of North India throughout the year.
The southern part of India celebrates Pongal, the festival of abundance during this time of the year. Jaggery and rice are the main ingredients of Sakkarai Pongal, a rice porridge dish. Pongal is celebrated for four days in Tamil Nadu and Sakkarai Pongal is an essential item which is prepared during the festivities. Traditionally Pongal is cooked outside as a tribute to sun god and the cooking is done in a clay pot with a wood fire.
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