Navratri 2021: Kanjak And The Classic Combination Of Halwa and Chana
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Festivals are everyone’s favourite, and I’m no exception. And with the Navratri season kicking off the festive vibe in the country, my excitement knows no bounds. Since childhood, my most favourite part about Navratri has always been, well of course, Kanjak on Ashtami ad Navami. As a girl, I used to wake up early on this one day in the whole year without making a fuss, to get dressed up for the puja at my own home first, and then to visit other neighbouring households in the society with my friends. It has to be one of my most favourite memories from childhood. My brother’s too, since we worked as a team. Besides the money, we had a deal with our priorities pretty clear- pack-in as much halwa and chole as you can from different homes to share and nosh upon later, he had told me. And so I did. I remember how the halwas and kale chane from different homes tasted differently. And I absolutely loved it. So much that I didn’t really realise how my brother took away more share of the money than of the halwa! 

Nevertheless, kanjak stays my favourite till date. The sweet aroma of hot halwa, fluffy pooris and dry masala chana kickstarts the day for the best. While my mother may tell me how I'm too old for kanjak puja, but never too old for the food.  

Significance of Kanjak 

Navratri celebrates the nine incarnations of Goddess Durg, and Kanjak is celebrated on either Ashtami or Navami (the eighth or ninth day) of Navratri, as another way of paying gratitude to the Goddess. Tradition has it that the woman of the house welcomes young nine girls into the house by first washing their feet and then tying moli (red thread) around their wrists. These girls are seated and served bhog- halwa, poori and chole along with money or all kinds of gifts: pencil boxes, hair clips, clothes etc.

How to Make Halwa and Kale Chane For Kanjak Puja At Home 

The traditional fare of halwa, poori and chana is made at home in pure ghee and served fresh. The halwa is made with suji and holds a significant position in almost every religious festivity around the year. The recipe involves roasted suji, prepared in dollops of ghee, sugar, milk and dry fruits - which simply cooks into an irresistible treat. Find the full recipe of suji halwa here. 

On the other hand, spicy kale chane adds a burst of flavours to our palate when combined with the sweet and dainty suji halwa. It is my personal favourite combination since I’m not too much of a puri fan. I always fill my plate with halwa and kale chane, mix it well and enjoy the sweet and spicy flavours together. For making chane, you just need to soak and pressure-cook the kala chana and saute it in a pool of spices. Yes, it is that simple!

Next is crispy and hot puris which are served as a bed for halwa and chole. While generally puris are made with wheat flour, some people tend to make it with kuttu or buckwheat flour as well during Navratri. Find the full recipe of puris here.  

Happy Navratri!