Karva Chauth is a centuries old tradition observed annually in North India with great pomp & fervor where all married women dress up & observe a fast for the day , for the health , wealth, prosperity & longevity of their husband's & seek the blessings of Godess Gauri for a blissful marital life. This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on Kartik Ki Chauth i.e on the fourth day of the new moon. The term" Chauth "means the fourth day &" Karwa" is an earthen pot with a spout - a symbol of peace & prosperity which is necessary for the pooja hence the name Karwa Chauth.
The fast begins at daybreak around 4 am when women get up & feast on Sargi ( sweets & fruits , sweets mainly consisting of pheniyan, ghevar & many other sweets) In the earlier times the married girls would visit their parents for the festival season beginning as of Teej & Raksha Bandhan & their stay at the parents house would end at the auspicious Karva Chauth when the Husband would arrive to spend the day with his wife & bring along with him ( Sargi) sweets & fruits , new clothes mainly consisting of a saree & also jewellery sent by the girl's inlaws & the girl would begin her fast by having this Sargi at daybreak. Although it is a tough fast as it begins before daybreak & ends only after moonrise when women offer prayers & water to the moon , it is still a much awaited event for northern Indian women.
I always remember my Mom waking us up early morning to have Sargi with her & we would all enjoy the sweets & savouries with her. And the day would be longer for us than for her coz we would wait for the time when we would get to eat all that she made during the day. It was really amazing to see her dish out awesome sweets & savouries all day long without even drooling at them even though she had not had anything to eat all day. I think we have really run out of the energy & gusto that she had & the love & patience she prepared the dishes with. So whatever little I could manage is here in this recipe.
1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour ( 150 Grams)
1/4 cup Desi Ghee / Clarified Butter ( 50 Grams)
2 tablespoons Yogurt ( 25 Grams)
1/8th tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
water for kneading the dough
Oil for frying the Vadas
For the Sugar Syrup:
1 cup Sugar ( I used Brown sugar)
1/2 cup water
3-4 pods Cardamom
1/2 tsp lemon juice
For the dough:
Start with sifting the flour, soda & cardamom powder together a couple of times ( This helps in equal distribution of soda in the flour & the vadas will be more flaky)
Now add the Ghee & Yogurt & start kneading . The flour will be crumbly but will start getting together . When the ghee & yogurt is well combined in the flour, sprinkle some water & try to bring the dough together( i used only 1/8 cup of water) The dough should be soft but not smooth. We do not have to knead the dough for a long time to make it smooth. All we need to do is bring the dough together in a lump that will take only 1-2 minutes. You will see a lot of crackles in the dough. when the dough is done , cover & keep it aside for 20-25 minutes.
After the waiting time is over knead the dough again for 1 minute light handedly . Divide the dough in 10-12 equal parts & roll them gently into small balls. We do not need to make perfect balls as we need the edges of the dough to be imperfect with a lot of crackes so they cook well in the oil. Once the dough is rolled into a ball make a dent in the centre with your finger .
For Frying the vadas, heat oil in a wok ( kadhai). Now comes the tricky part, the oil should be medium hot. To test if the oil is hot enough drop a pinch of dough into the oil , the dough should sizzle but come up very slowly , if the dough comes up immediately means the oil is too hot - in this case switch off the heat for a couple of minutes .
If the oil is perfect , at first the vadas will just sink into the oil & the oil will sizzle a little, it will take about 2 minutes for the vadas to puff up & start to float on the oil. Do not touch or try to turn the vadas at this time , let them fry on one side for 4-5 minutes & then turn. It will take about 15 minutes for one batch of 6 vadas to fry perfectly pink.
In the meantime make the sugar syrup on the other stove by adding 1/2 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar . Add the cardamom pods & lemon juice ,make the sugar syrup to one thread consistency , keep aside.
Once all the vadas are done frying , put them in sugar syrup & turn them very gently with a spatula so they soak the syrup on al sides. Let the Makkhan vadas sit in the syrup for about an hour. Garnish with Pistachios & saffron strings. The vadas are very very soft & flaky & just melt in the mouth like butter hence the name Makkhan Vada.
In the evening women adorn new colourful sarees, new bangles ,jewellery & makeup , henna is applied to the hands the day before , women from all over the neighbourhood gather & narrate mythological stories related to the significance of Karwa Chauth.
The fast of Karwa Chauth truly sets the merry tone of the fun & frolic , fasting , feasting & festivities that come in good measure during Diwali - The biggest of all Festivals.
LInking this to Anu's DiwaliDiwali-festival-of-lights-event