Delicious Cherupayar Sundal /Vella Pachai payaru/ Sweet Mung beans Sundal sweetened with jaggery and added coconut and cardamom.Today is 13th October 2015 and is the first day of Navaratri literally means nine nights. It is a Hindu festival celebrated on nine manifestations of Goddess of which Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswathy are more important. My mom used to keep Golu at home and made delicious sundal everyday as offering. This Cherupayar Sundal /Vella Pachai payaru/ Sweet Mung beans Sundalis my favorite. As a kid we loved sweet sundal than the savory version so amma made sure to make it at least once for Navaratri.
Navarati is celebrated all over India; however each part has its own traditions. In West Bengal it is celebrated as Durga pooja. Where in Mumbai and Gujarat, Navaratri is celebrated with the famous Garba and Dandiya-Raas dance.
Where as in South India the nine nights of Puja/Navratri are devoted to goddesses Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswathy. Saraswathy is the goddess of arts, wisdom and learning. In Tamil Nadu and certain part of Kerala where Tamil influence is there, Navaratri is celebrated with Golu or Kolu, which is a unique display of various dolls and figurines in odd numbered steps or padis. These steps are covered with a white cloth mostly, and the dolls are arranged on it. The dolls are mostly of the gods and goddesses from Hindu mythology.
If you keep Navrathri golu, it is an occasion for neighbors, friends and their relatives to visit each other’s homes to view and admire the Navarathri Golu. Gifts are exchanged among women and girl child (who has not attained puberty). Usually women who visit the kolu will be given coconut, clothes and sweets. Sumangalis/married women are given small mirror, turmeric, and comb, beetle leaves with supari or beetle nuts. This is also the time when women who can sing well are asked to sing and they generally sing songs of Goddesses. Every year few new dolls are added their collection, along with old collection of dolls. Decorations vary from house to house some will have more elaborate while others prefer simple decorations.
In northern part of India, fasting is observed during Navarati and they do not even eat any rice, wheat, semolina, all purpose flour, lentils or onion or garlic even normal salt etc. So they make dishes made with millets, buckwheat, amaranth flour etc. Where in southern part of India we like to make Sundal; a dish made from different kinds of beans /lentils cooked with coconut, green chilies/red chilies, green mangoes, asafetoida, lemon juice, salt, jaggery/unrefined sugar etc. in different combinations are simple and nutritious and enjoyed by everyone.
On the 9th day of Navrathri, Saraswati Puja is celebrated and special puja are offered to Goddess representing wisdom and enlightenment. Work tools and other instruments are also worshiped and this is known as Ayuda pooja. The Tenth day is called as Vijayadashami and considered as most auspicious day because this is the day when evil was destroyed by good. It is an auspicious day to start learning in small kids we call it Ezhuthiniruthu in Kerala. It is a great day to start your new ventures. Books and musical instruments kept for pooja are taken out to be read and for practice, so that the student excels at whatever he studies the whole year. People using tools and machinery in industries do the same with positive attitude.
The last night (the ninth night), dolls are laid down to sleep after arati. The next day they are packed carefully and preserved for next year's use.
My hometown Thiruvanthapuram has its own versions and custom of Navartri celebration I blog about that earlier, take look at there. I am not keeping Golu at home, but will be visiting Meenakshi temple, here in Houston where they keep Golu.
Coming to Cherupayar Sundal / Pachai payaru/ Mung beans Sundalyou need to soak the moong dal/ mung beans overnight, next morning pressure cook and add jaggery and cardamom and coconut. Enjoy delicious tasty treat, which is my childhood favorite too. Here comes the recipe.
Other Navaratri recipes are
- Kadala sundal/Brown chickpea sundal
- Thenga Manga pattani sundal
- Kadalai parippu sundal/split chick pea sundal
- Karamani Sundal/Blackeyed peas sundal
- Mullapicha pattani sundal
- Pasysam/Uzhununu vada
- Rajgira aloo roti / Amaranth flat bread
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.