'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night'. Thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights'. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals. All of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various forms. It is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar.
The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess). Her various incarnations - Kumari, Parvati and Kali - are worshipped during these days. They represent the three different classes of womanhood that include the child, the young girl and the mature woman. Next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) and finally, last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge). Sweets are prepared for the celebrations. Children and adults dress up in new bright-colored dresses for the night performances.
In some communities, people undergo rigorous fasts during this season that lasts for the nine days of Navratri. The festival culminates on Mahanavami. On this day, Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes as gifts by the worshiper. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country. With commercialization, the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather than merely a religious one. However, nothing dampens the spirit of the devout followers of Goddess Durga, as they sing devotional songs and indulge in the celebrations of Navratri, year by year.
As a celebration of Navratri, I decided to celebrate the first day with the preparation of a sweet dish.
1 litre milk
1/2 tsp citric acid
1 tbsp maida (all Purpose flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the sugar syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Boil milk. Add the citric acid & continue to cook till the milk curdles completely.
Strain with a cheesecloth & squeeze out the liquid completely.
Knead this with the maida & baking powder & shape into small balls.
For the sugar syrup: Dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water. Boil for 5-10 mins.
Add the cheese balls in the hot syrup. Cover & cook for 15-20 mins. The color of the cheese balls will change & will puff up when cooked.
Turn off heat & cool completely.
Serve warm or chilled.
This recipe is a part of PJ's Seduce ur TasteBuds & Nivedita's Kitchen