In India, all are geared up to celebrate Makar Sankranti on 14 January this year, with some exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 15 January. Makar Sankranti is the first Indian festival of the Gregorian calendar and is celebrated as a solstice festival. It is one of the few festivals in the country that falls on the same day every year. Each state celebrates the festival in their own way and different names but enthusiasm and excitement is same everywhere. Makar Sankranti is symbolic of kite flying, sesame chikkis, Til Gud Ladoo, sweets and lots of family bonding!
These are few names of Makar Sankranti in different states of India.
- Magha Saaji – Himachal Pradesh
- Lohri — in Punjab
- Sakraat – Delhi and Haryana
- Uttarayan — in Gujarat state
- Makar Sankranti — in Maharashtra
- Poush Parbon —West Bengal
- Makara Sankranti – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- Pongal — in Tamil Nadu
In Maharashtrian community, during Makar Sankranti, Til Gur ladoos are shared with everyone saying these words, ” til gur ghya god god bola” which means eat sweets and speak sweet (good) words.
Benefit of combination of Sesame seeds and jaggery :
Each Indian festival is associated with unique food preparation that have medicinal and nutritional values, based on the timing of the festival. In Sankranti , different types of sweets like Tilgul (in Maharashtra), Gajak (in Punjab), Chikkis (in Gujarat), Tilkut (in Bihar, Jharkhand), Ellu-Bella (in Karnataka), Pongal (in tamilnadu) are consumed. Interestingly main ingredients of most of these sweets are Sesame seeds & Jaggery.
According to Ayurveda, Sesame (Til – Sesamum Indicum) is extremely health beneficial and has medicinal properties. It has four Rasa (taste)- Sweet, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent.
It is oily and hot in nature, As Sankranti occurs in peak winter season, food prepared with sesame provides body much needed heat, keeps it warm and protects our body with cold.
Jaggery used in sweet is also hot in nature and is a rich source of Iron. It stimulates digestive power and alleviates Kapha Dosha in our body.it helps in blood purification and helps in Respiratory tract infections. It is healthy substitute for sugar.
So let’s start with simple recipe of Til Gur Ladoos and step by step pictures to follow:
- 1 cup sesame/ til seeds
- 1/3 cup jaggery
- 2 tbsp peanuts (optional)
- 1 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
- water in small bowl
- First step is to dry roast peanuts and sesame seeds. This helps to evaporate water content from them and makes them more crunchy.
- Remember to keep flame low for dry roasting.
- In a small pan, on low flame, dry roast peanut till small brown spots on them. You will observe skin also removes easily after roasting. Close the flame. Remove skin and crush them into small pieces with hands /pestle and mortar.
- In a broad pan, dry roast on low flame,sesame/ til seeds till warm and slightly brown. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes on low flame. Bring it to plate for cooling.
- In meanwhile grate jaggery, be careful in doing it.
- Now in same broad pan, on medium- low flame, heat ghee and add jaggery to it.
- Remember to stir continuously with the help of a spatula to dissolve properly. Don’t leave unattended.
- This process is important for nice and soft laddus otherwise they will become hard and chewy.
- After jaggery is dissolved, cook for 3-4 more minutes. It should be on low flame.
- There is a simple water test to check for time of cooking jaggery. In a small cup of water, drop two small drops of jaggery solution, if it does not spread and becomes like soft ball, then close the flame immediately.
- Now you should do all things in one go.
- Add cooled, dry roasted sesame seeds and peanuts and try to bring all things together with a help of a spatula. You have to be quick and do it till jaggery solution is hot.
- Bring it on a plate to make small small laddus.
- Now keep a bowl of water near you.
- Water will help your hands to bear the hotness of the sesame and jaggery mix and you have to make laddus while it’s hot otherwise it will not take the shape of small balls.
- If you are not able to bear hotness, then scoop 1 spoon of mixture and try to make ball like shape in another plate.
- Make all laddus and when they come to room temperature, you can store them in an airtight container on counter shelf.
Health benefits and tips:
- Sesame also improves digestive power, is good for teeth and improves immunity power. It is Medhya (improves intelligence) and Keshya (promotes Hair growth).
- As it is rich in Vit E, improves quality of skin. Sesame oil massage is also advised in winter season. It moisturizes dry skin and strengthens the bones, muscles and joints.
- Sesame seeds are warm in nature, that is they increase heat in our body. It is better to avoid use of sesame seeds and oil during warm seasons.
- Jaggery boosts immunity within the body and also Detoxifies the body.
- Gur prevents constipation and enhances the production of digestive enzymes.
- And also helps in preventing joint pain.
source : Ayurveda