Basant Panchami 2023: 7 Yellow Foods To Please Goddess Saraswati
Image Credit: Boondi laddoo, Freepik

Basant Panchami, or "Vasant Panchami," is a date on the ancient Hindu calendar. It is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja, a festival held on the fifth day of Magh Shukla. In 2023, it is falling on 26 January. This festival is associated with the colour yellow and honours the tenets of Health, Wealth, and Prosperity. In addition, preparations for Holika and Holi, which take place roughly 40 days later, begin on this day. Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom, music, and the arts is venerated on this auspicious day. The significance of the colour yellow, which symbolises intelligence, increases significantly on this day. It's also a sign that harvest time is near!

Flowers and offerings to the goddess are traditionally yellow on this day because of the significance of this hue. Do you know that there's more to Basant Panchami than merely donning some bright yellow threads in honour of the arrival of warmer weather? Yes, of course! A more auspicious occasion calls for offering bhog, containing this tint and devouring these delectable, traditional Indian delicacies.

Boondi Laddoos

Any traditional Indian festive spread is incomplete without laddoo, and among the top preference is the ones made with boondi. The platter on Basant Panchami invariably includes it. Boondi ke laddoo is a sweet, ball-shaped delicacy created by combining boondi, i.e., tiny granular balls of gram flour or besan batter that have been deep-fried and doused with sugar. However, if the sugar syrup is too thick, the fried portion of the boondi won't be able to soak it up, and the whole thing will turn hard and rubbery.


Spongy and supple rajbhogs, Image Source: Freepik

As the name suggests, it's indeed a regal sweet offering. These pale-yellow custardy treats are commonly stuffed with savoury dry fruits and khoya. With a chena or cottage cheese base, these traditional Indian sweets are great to include in the spread.


Malpua, a sweet deep-fried pancake immersed in sugar syrup, is one of India's most well-known and ancient delicacies. Malpuas are traditionally eaten on festive occasions like Basant Panchami. The ideal pairing of malpua is with some condensed milk dessert, known as rabri.


Pineapple sheera, Image Source: Freepik

Basant Panchami would only be complete with the saffron-infused sheera known as Kesar Sheera, served with deep-fried, hot pooris. Traditionally, Indians would make a pudding called sheera, which consists of semolina, ghee, sugar, cashews, and raisins. To make this dessert, you'll need to combine ghee-roasted semolina, milk (or water), sugar, and cardamom powder in a saucepan and heat until the semolina is soft and the sugar has completely dissolved. To achieve the traditional golden colour of Basant Panchami, kesar (saffron), diluted in milk or water, is added to the batter. Many also make it using pineapple to get a fruity taste and natural yellow tint. 

Kesari Kheer

Kheer and Indian traditional festivals are synonymous. Thus, many devotees prepare a creamy kesari rice kheer on Basant Pacnhami. Saffron lends the yellow tinge. Likewise, a few people also use meethi kaddu or sweet pumpkin to make kheer for a unique tweak. Prepared with milk, jaggery or sugar and orange-yellow pumpkin give a nutritional tweak to the festive indulgence. 

Basanti Pulao

Bengali Basanti pulao, Image Source:

One can never go wrong by picking to cook, offer and serve Basanti Pulao on Basant Panchami. This decadent rice recipe hails from Bengal and gets its name from its yellowish tinge. Originally, saffron was used to infuse the rich golden hue to it. But, over time, the locals use turmeric powder to give the yellow colour. 

Zarda Rice

It is the most well-known and arguably essential food associated with Basant Panchami. Meethe chawal is a sweet and savoury meal made with basmati rice, almonds, saffron, and sugar. Some also add yellow food colouring to the rice to achieve the traditional Kesari hue. The rice in a zarda dish is meant to be eaten dry. Sugar, ghee, and dry roasting are combined with half-cooked basmati rice to create a sweet and nutty dessert. The sugar is melted, and the rice is fully cooked during the cooking process. Garnish the heated meal with some chopped nuts and serve immediately.

On this Basant or Vasant Panchami, get the blessings of Goddess Saraswati, by preparing and offering these 7 yellow festive dishes to her.