The 2nd week of January is the festival “Makara Sankranthi”. This year it is on 14th, which is a Saturday.
P.S: Please check your local calendars and temples to see the exact date.
Makara Sankranthi is a widely celebrated festival in different parts of India. On this day, Lord Surya or Sun is worshiped. It is also celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of India. On this day, Sun begins his journey to the Northern Hemisphere, most commonly called as Uttharayana. As with all other festivals, this festival also has many legends, two such commonly told legends are:
1. Lord Surya or Sun visits Shani on this day.
2. Bheeshma Pithamaha, who was able to choose when he will die, chose this day to end his life.
The house is cleaned, and decorated with fresh green mango leaves tied as thorana to the front door. Beautiful, and colorful rangoli is drawn at the front of the house. After performing the pooja, yellu(Sesame seeds) and Bella(Jaggery) is offered to God. Usually it is prepared by mixing Till, finely chopped Jaggery, roasted groundnuts cut into small peices, with finely chopped dried coconut, and Putani, also called as Hurigadale.
Attached below are the pictures and the steps to making Yellu Bella.
I use the following proportion to prepare the yellu:
* 1/2 cup Yellu or Sesame Seeds
* 1 cup Groundnuts or peanuts ( Fried, skin removed and cut into half)
* 1 cup Dhalia or hurigadale
* 1 cup finely chopped dry coconut
* 1 cup Jaggery, finely chopped
Usually the Sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Later, they are fried. I skip this step, and just fry the Sesame seeds for a few minutes.
Next, grate the black portion of the dry coconut. Chop them into squares as shown in the above picture. Chop the Jaggery also and make sure they are dry. My mom used to keep it in the sun for a few days.
Mix, all the ingredients together. Distribute to your family and friends. If all the ingredients are dry, it will stay for months.
Here is the recipe for Yellu Unde/Burfi:
- Sesame Seeds/Yellu – 1 cup
- Peanuts – 1 cup
- Dhalia – 1 cup
- Jaggery – 2cups
- Grated Coconut – 2 tsp
- 7-8 cardamom – ground finely
- 2 tsp Oil or Ghee(I never use Ghee)
- Fry the Sesame seeds for 4-5 minutes. Take out in a plate.
- In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Now add the jaggery. Add just enough water so that the Jaggery dissolves.
- Keep stirring for almost 9-10 minutes until the jaggery starts leaving the sides.
- Next, add peanuts, sesame seeds, dhalia and mix well. Let it continue on the stove top for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the cardamom as well.
- Turn off the stove. Grease a tray, and pour the mixture. Let it cool a little bit.
- Cut squares. ANd the left over, was formed to a round shape.
- Finally garnish with grated coconut.
I called it Yellu Burfi, and everyone called it Sesame Squares.
Most dishes prepared during this day are made out of Yellu or Sesame seeds and Rice. It is also tradition to prepare Sweet and Khara Pongal during this festival. The recipes are posted here in the blog and are attached below for your convenience:
If you wish to cook elaborate dishes during Sankranthi, many authentic recipes are posted here:
And you can find various Rangoli designs here: