From Thekua To Kosambari: Six Types Of Prasad From Around India
- Vritti Bansal
Updated : March 30, 2022 11:03 IST
India’s culinary diversity is accentuated by the multiple types of prasad that make their way into the hands of devotees, giving them a sense of satisfaction and the feeling that God is on their side.
Religion may be a social construct but faith is intrinsic. Those who are religious hold both temples and prasad close to their heart, visiting for reasons of reverence and also to seek blessings. Also called ‘naivedyam’ in Southern India, the Hindi word prasad translates to grace or offering. Placed before deities and then distributed, prasad may be solid or liquid. Besides its religious significance, different types of prasad are also an important part of regional Indian cuisine. India’s culinary diversity is accentuated by the multiple types of prasad that make their way into the hands of devotees, giving them a sense of satisfaction and the feeling that God is on their side. Here are six types of prasad from around India:
With roots in both India and Nepal, thekua is a biscuit-like sweet treat. It is popular in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, mainly offered during Chhath puja. Thekua is made with wheat flour, chashni and ghee. Cardamom may be used for added flavour. Floral patterns are often engraved on top of thekua, and sometimes rice flour may be used instead of wheat flour.
A halwa made with wheat flour, sugar and ghee, kada prasad is the centrepiece of the blessings that Sikhs receive when they visit gurudwaras. It is believed that Guru Nanak blesses this prasad, generous portions of which are placed into the hands of worshippers. Gurudawaras always offer kada prasad, irrespective of whether a devotee partakes in langar or not.
Offered at the Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai and other temples across South India, sakkarai pongal is also called chakkara pongali in Telugu. Households in South India prepare it for pongal or Makar Sankranti. Sakkarai pongal is essentially a mixture of rice, ghee and jaggery, garnished with coconut, nuts and spices.
The Jagannath Temple in Odisha is known both for its mahaprasad, an elaborate edible offering that consists of 56 items. Ananda Bazaar, a food market in the temple grounds, sells sankudi mahaprasad and sukhila mahaprasad, both of which are very different. The former includes different types of rice and curries, while the latter includes sweetmeats.
Tankaw toraani is part of the 56 items that form the mahaprasad offered to Lord Jagannath. It is a drink made using cooked rice, yogurt, water, ginger, green chillies, salt and curry leaves, and stored in earthen pots to keep it cool, especially during the summer. The Ananda Bazaar sells tankaw toraani all year round.
Kosambari is a kind of salad made with Bengal gram and green gram. It may also use coconut, carrots and onions, and is seasoned with mustard seeds. Originating in Karnataka, it is offered as prasad at temples and served during weddings and festivals in Southern India. Rice may be added to the salad for a crunchy texture.