In Maharashtra and many other parts of India, the day following Ganesh Chaturthi is observed as Rishi Panchami. This auspicious day is dedicated to the honour of the seven great sages from the ancient times. The day is marked by different rituals which includes the offering of home cooked prasad as well. For many of the devotees, this day also marks the end of Ganesh Puja.
Recently we got to experience this holy occasion in Mumbai along with our gracious host, the Badre family.
Before reaching there we dropped by one of the most famous ladoo shops in the city, Ladoo Samrat, that was present on the way to our destination. The old style shop was stuffed with ladoo of all sizes and varieties. For sweet lovers like us it was a sight to behold. Here, for the first time, we tried a very interesting ladoo called kadak ladoo. It was a super firm sweet ball made of gram flour pearls and sugar.
Next as we reached our host home, it was time for Ganesh arti, so we joined the family for the same. After this Kalpana ji took led us to the kitchen to show the making two festive special dishes - Panchamrut and Rushichi Bhaji. They are part of the prasad spread whose remaining dishes were already prepared in advance due to time constraint. Both the dishes that we were about to see were something similar to what the sages used to have.
She started with the Panchamrut which is perhaps named so because it contains the five ingredients that mostly goes into the milk based panchamrut that we all are familiar with. This is a sweet and tangy curry where the key ingredients are capsicums, potatoes, nuts especially peanuts, goda masala, dried coconut, ripe banana and tamarind. In a calm and genial manner, Kalpana ji took us through the steps in a detailed manner. Simultaneously she also prepared the Rushichi bhaji which is a stew made of different varieties of seasonal vegetables including roots and leafy ones too, green chillies, coconut milk and tamarind. The entire session was super enriching because of the associated stories and anecdotes shared by Kalpana ji. When the cooking was done these two dishes and few other things were served to Lord Ganesha.
After this we sat down for the meal with Kalpana Ji's sister in law Jyoti ji. On our plate we had dashmi, ruschichi bhaji, panchamrut, ukadiche modak, aalu matar, koshimbir, kheer, varan bhaat and chutney. Everything was distinctively flavourful.