Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sapatha ... Naivedyam prepared for Satyanarayana Pooja.

“Sapatha” … The traditional Naivedyam prepared for Sathyanarayana Puja by Hindus throughout the country … Always share this Naivedyam / Prasadam among as many people as possible to attain maximum blessings from Lord Narayana (Avataar of Lord Vishnu)… Stay Blessed …..  

** This is a traditional Naivedyam prepared during Sathyanarayana Puja in Hindu homes. A pooja that is dedicated to one of the avataar / incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Performing pooja or partaking in a pooja are both considered holy and sacred. A pooja when performed at home makes it divine and auspicious. The prasadam is a must during this pooja and prepared almost in similar way almost in every home with minute difference. Sathyanarayana Prasadam was usually not prepared previously in homes during other times except when the pooja was performed by following all rituals by Purohit. This was one prasadam that was prepared exclusively during Satyanarayana Pooja only, while the other naivedyam dishes would be prepared during festive occasion or on special days. It is believed in my community that even a teaspoon of this naivedyam received is by great good doings of man. It is considered to be a very holy and auspicious one. 

** With changing times however, people now hardly perform the pooja on regular basis in their homes now, but attend the ones held anually by their community / samaj in large numbers with family. Nuclear family has its own disadvantages as people have no knowledge of the preparations, nor know the procedures that should be followed along with many rituals that follow. Also being working people makes it that much more difficult for them. Food is something that fascinates man and sweet dish is something the children love, so do elders. Once this Naivedyam / Prasadam is relished the desire to have the same keeps cropping up. This prasadam really has that effect on all. Children demand that it be made and parents have finally started preparing the same during festive occasions too. Sapatha is similar to sheera, again a sweet dish prepared during all times, but the difference being the inclusion of bananas and milk while cooking. Today to mark the beginning of the new year I prepared this Naivedyam / Prasadam and I am going to share this simple recipe with all of you. 

** The ingredients are just five in all for this Naivedyam, while the garnishing of fried cashews and raisins is a matter of choice. It is actually not added in the traditional Naivedyam. But it gives a pleasing and appealing look, so you may if you desire, I have kept this as of now traditional and not added anything else. Maybe the next time, I will make some variations and post the same. The ingredients are again taken in same quantities while preparing Sapatha. Though recently people have starting adding n a little bit lesser quantity of ghee. So you may make a little variation if desired. But if the Naivedyam is as an offering to Satyanarayana Pooja, then please keep the tradition going and prepare it in the same method, you can eat a little bit less of the same to compensate on ghee and sweetness. It is said to have pleased Lord Narayana and it is believed he bestows his choisest blessings on all who partake on this pooja with devotion. Remember to use Cow’s milk and Ghee prepared out of Cow’s milk for preparation of this Naivedyam. Here small variety of ellaichi bananas are used, that are white from within and do not discolor on cooking or storing. If you use other varieties, you may get slightly variation in colour. 

** Ingredients : 
Bombay Rava / Sooji / Rulav : 1- ¼ Cup (you can use any fine rava) 
Sugar : 1- ¼ Cup 
Ghee / Toop : 1- ¼ Cup 
(The ghee used should be prepared out of Cow’s Milk) 
Cow’s Milk : About 2 Cups 
Ellaichi Bananas : 1-2 

** Peel off the skin off the bananas and slice them as thin as possible and keep it ready aside. 

** Note : The ellachi bananas to be used are of very small variety that have a lovely unique taste. It does not get discolored and remain white throughout the cooking process and later on too. In fact it remains intact in fridge for over a week too. Always use bananas that are similar in variety. If they are a bit larger then cut down the number in addition. 

** Heat the ghee in the thick bottomed kadai on medium heat. When it melts add in the rava and fry on medium heat till you get a nice aroma of the same. 

** Meanwhile, keep the milk for boiling on the side. Once the rava has been fried well, lower the heat to minimum and add in the milk gently stirring to avoid lumps and mix well. Keep mixing till the rava has cooked. If needed you may add in a little bit of extra milk. 

** Now add in the thinly sliced banana pieces and mix well. Keep stirring and cooking the ingredients till the bananas has well blended in with the rava mixture. It will take about 5 mins. Remember to cook this on low heat as we do not want to burn the Naivedyam. 

** Once all these and completely cooked add in the sugar and mix well. The sugar starts to dissolve and the Sapatha may turn again slightly thinner texture, do not worry, keep stirring and it will slowly start to thicken up and leaves the side. Done. 

** Pour the prepared Naivedyam into an silver vessel or any vessel that you use for keeping the Naivedyam before Lord. The ghee may leave the sides, but that should not cause you to worry, as its temporary, slowly on cooling the ghee is absorbed back by the rava and the Naivedyam turns drier. 

** Note : Always use separate vessel if possible while preparing Naivedyams / Prasadam for auspicious occasions. There are two reasons for this one being that Naivedyams are supposed to pure and should be prepared under ritualistic conditions and using other ingredients cooked in them makes it not so good specially if you are a non vegetarian. Second one being that sometimes the usage milk etc. should be done best in brass vessel to avoid any sort of curling of the same. Off course its upto individual belief. 

** “Sapatha” A delicious Naivedyam is prepared and is ready to offered to Lord Satayanaraya for Pooja and then distributed among all the people who attend the same. Always remember to share Naivedyams, it is believed that Naivedyams / Prasadams should always be distributed / shared and eaten otherwise you do not receive the benefits of the performed pooja. So be large hearted and do so and receive loads of blessings from Lord Vishnu and his MahaLaxmi and from the Elders of the family. 

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