This week we celebrated Ugadi, the New Year day celebrated in Karnataka and some other parts of India. Yugadi or Ugadi means New Beginnings. It is the first day after the first new moon. It is the day after the March equinox. The festival, like many other festivals in India, is celebrated with wearing new clothes. They also start the day by eating a mixture of neem leaves (which is very bitter) and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). This signifies that in life we have both sweet and bitter experiences. As a kid, I always ate more jaggery than neem, saying that I would life to be sweet always. J All festivals in India are always celebrated with good food. Each festival has its own special food. On Ugadi, you eat holige or obbattu (my kids call it a sweet chapati, usually filled with dal or coconut) and Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango rice). This is also the time when we find a lot of raw mangoes in the market.
3 cups cooked rice
1 raw mango, grated
2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
¼ cup peanuts
1-2 green chillies chopped
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp urad dal
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Cook rice and keep aside to cool. Leftover rice works well too.
In a pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida, mustard and urad dal.
When mustards splutter, add curry leaves, turmeric and peanuts and fry till peanuts for a minute. Keep mixing to avoid the peanuts to burn.
Add chillies, coconut and the mango and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and salt. Mix well and cook till rice is heated through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with raita, coconut chutney, papad or potato chips.
Note: A more common chitranna is made with lemon. Replace mango with the juice of one lemon. For lemon chitranna or lemon rice, add one chopped onion and a tsp of chopped ginger when you add the chillies to fry. Add lemon juice just before you add the rice and mix. This is a great dish for Easter with its vibrant yellow colour.