Yesterday was Vijaya Dashami. This day is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In South India, on Vijaya Dashami, young kids, in the age group of 2 ½ to 3 years are made to hold a piece of turmeric in their hands, which acts like their pencil or pen and are made to write on a plate that is spread with rice, holding their father’s hand. And only after performing this ritual, children are put in schools.
In Northern parts of India, people celebrate this day, as the victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of the ten headed demon king Ravana, his sons Meghnath and Indrajit and brother Khumbhakaran are burnt. People flock in large numbers to see the display of fireworks. There are plays depicting the Ramayana on all nine days, which is called Ramlila.
In West Bengal, this day culminates the stay of Goddess Parvathi in her maternal home and she is sent back to her heavenly abode with her four children Lakshmy, Ganapathy, Sarswathi and Karthik. People bid farewell to the Goddess, by immersing her in the Ganges or any other water body.
Vijaya Dashami, for me, is synonymous with Vidhyaarambham. As a child I never used to like this day, since we were asked to compulsorily sit down and study. I and my brother dreaded it all the more, because the previous day, i.e the ninth day also called Saraswathi Pooja, we would keep all our books in the Pooja and forget about them for the day. That was the day we used to wait for eagerly. This was the only day in the year when elders would ask us not to study and we were free to play or to do whatever we liked.
And now it’s my daughter’s time. She was so excited about keeping all her books in the Pooja. She brought each and every book of hers, even story books and kept them. But next day, she kept postponing the act of removing the books and having to study from them.
This year's Navarathri was a memorable one, even though we did not keep golu in our house. We went and saw Durga Pooja Pandals with our neighbors. We were able to see the spectacular burning of the effigy of Ravana for the first time. We all were really thrilled, since this was something which we know happens but had never seen it live. My children't day was made and so was mine.
Now let’s get to today’s recipe – Kalkand Saadam. I prepared this as neivedhyam on one of the nine days. I prepared this for the first time and we all like it very much. It was something different from the regular Sakkara Pongal or Vella Payasam.
What you’ll need
1. Rice – ½ cup
2. Milk – ½ cup
3. Kalkandu or rock Candy – 1 cup
4. Green Cardamom – 3 to 4
5. Cashewnuts – a few
6. Raisins – a few
7. Ghee/Clarified Butter – 1 tbsp
Wash the rice well and drain. Now add ½ cup milk and 1 cup of water to the rice and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or till rice is cooked well.
Powder the Kalkandu/ Rock Candy in a mixie and keep aside.
Fry the Cashews and raisins in ghee.
Once the pressure is released, mash the rice well, add the kalkandu powder, cashews and raisins fried in ghee and the cardamoms. Mix everything well.