The Kanjak ki thali holds a special significance beyond its religious essence too. We also have recipes inside.
The Navratri celebrations are coming to an end with the Ashtami pooja commencing today. The nine-day long festivities see throngs of devotees observing fasts to hail to the nine devis of Hindu religion and purify themselves through this detoxification process. The fasts culminate on the eighth day for some people which is known as Ashtami and the nineth one for others called Navami. On the last day, a special pooja is organized wherein young girls are fed and worshipped. It doesn’t come as a surprise since girls and women are treated as devis or goddesses as per Hinduism.
Back in the day when I was a kid, my friends used to invite me over for something known as Kanjak. This refers to Kanya pooja (worship of the females). The first time I went for Kanjak, my friend’s father washed the feet of all the girls present there before entering us into the house. Then he applied tilak to our foreheads and tied a kalava (a small red thread) on our wrists. Now comes the best part, food. This ritual is followed in almost every Hindu household at the end of Navratri. The girls are made to sit down and served the classic Kanjak thali.
What’s in there, you ask? Well, the traditional meal includes kala chana (black chickpeas), crispy pooris and a bowl of sooji halwa. These three components are intrinsic to the Kanjak day. Given the nine days of fasts, nine girls are brought together for Kanjak and a boy is also fed along with them. These girls are believed to be incarnations of Goddess Durga and therefore, it is considered auspicious to serve them.
The religious texts would tell you about the significance of Kanjak pooja as well as the sacredness of this act, there are several health benefits associated with the meal too. The auspicious Kanjak ki thali, consisting of chana, poori and halwa seems to bring with it abundant nutrition.
Why Is Kanjak Thali Beneficial For You?
During Navratri, the people who observe fasts have to abstain themselves from certain foods. Things like non-vegetarian food, alcohol, garlic, onion and grains are to be avoided. Even in case of salt, rock salt has to be consumed for the eight or nine days. Now, since your body has gotten used to this Sattvic diet in this period, it is important to bring it back to normal through a gradual process.
The Kanjak ki thali has a very scientific approach to it, wherein all the items on the plate contribute to the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Everything is cooked in pure desi ghee which adds to the nutritional quotient of the food. Take kala chana for instance. The masala-mixed black chickpeas are soaked overnight before they are cooked the next morning. The fibrous nature of this dish enables the digestive system to slowly get back in place. Not only this, they also help to prevent the cancer cell from spreading into the body along with maintaining cholesterol. The sooji used in making the halwa is also a great source of dietary fibre and helps to regulate blood sugar.
Now that you know the benefits of chana, poori and halwa, here are the recipes for you to prepare for Kanjak.