The moon has been an inspiration for several Indian sweets and desserts. While a few try to mimic its various phases from waning, crescent to full moon, a few stick to its hues. Many poets have mentioned their exquisiteness through literary works. One of the earliest references was by poet Terakanambi Bommarasa, who seemed smitten by the Kadubu.

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It is a sweet deep-fried dumpling made of black gram. Bommarasa compared Kadubu with the full moon. "It appears like a mass of mist set together. Seems like celestial nectar took a solid circle form, or a droplet of moonlight had solidified." If one analyses the inclusion of such sweet something, it will reveal that most of them are prepared around feasts and fasts revolving the lunar cycle. 

As we set to celebrate Raksha Bandhan, which falls on Purnima or the full moon day of Shravan or Sawan month, let's include a few such moon-inspired sweets

Chandra Puli 

Candrapuli is a Bengali sweet intertwined with this region's age-old traditions. It gets its name from its crescent-moon shape. It is prepared with copious use of grated coconut and khoya or solidified milk. Green cardamom and sometimes a pinch of edible camphor add to its aroma.  

Joon Pitha

This one belongs to Assam and is a must-have traditional sweet during festivals such as Bihu. It shares a few similarities with Chandrapuli. The locals also call it Moon Joon due to its resemblance with the moon. This deep-fried pitha has desiccated coconut stuffing, and grounded cardamom adds to the flavour.

Chanda Chakata

A signature sweet of Kumar Purnima celebrated in Odisha by unmarried girls, Chanda Chakata is perhaps the closest depiction of Chanda or moon on a plate. According to a few folklores, its origin dates back to the era of the Kharavela Kings. Nevertheless, the recipe retained its originality. To prepare this chenna or cottage cheese, khai or popped paddy, bananas, sugar or sugarcane juice, and freshly grated coconut are blended together to make a smooth pulp. It is then served on a banana leaf in the moon's shape and offered as bhog.

  PC: Ritu Pattanaik 

Gujiya

One can't imagine Holi without gujiya. Even a few other festivals, such as Teej and Chhath, include it in the celebrations. Its origin is said to be dating back to the 13th century. And interestingly, it has a Turkish link. A report mentioned that gujiya was born out of Baklava. Today, this half-moon-shaped sweet is an integral part of Indian culinary delights. And it has different names, karanji, pedakiya, gughara, kajjikayalu, karjikayi and somas. There are different recipes to make this versatile sweet. A few common ingredients are semolina, refined flour, dry fruits, coconut, and khoya. 

Ksheera

Full moon and ksheera have a deep connection in Tamil Nadu. Many temples across the state offer it as a naivedyam or offerings. Prepared with semolina and milk, it is ensured that it retains the pure white color of the moon. Thus, even the usage of saffron is completely barred. 

This Raksha Bandhan, you have an array of moon-inspired sweets to indulge. Pick what appeals to you the most.