Makar Sankranti | Khajoor Recipe | The Festival of Ghughuti | Love My Culture | Fest of Kumaon 

Makar Sankranti or Ghugutia is one of the famous Hindu festivals and is celebrated with a lot of zeal in Uttarakhand. According to the Hindu scriptures, on this day, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn from the zodiac sign of Cancer. This day marks the northward transit (Uttarayan) of the sun. The migratory birds also return to the hills, since a change in the season takes place.

Khajoor Recipe

On Makar Sankranti people give Khichdi in charity and take a dip in holy rivers in Kumaun Bageshwar (Saryu and Gomti Sangam) and Rani Bagh (Gaula). They also participate in the Uttarayani fairs to celebrate the festival of Ghughuti (also known as Kale Kauwa).

Table decor

During the festival, people make sweetmeats out of wheat flour that is deep-fried in ghee and shaped like drums, pomegranates, knives, swords, etc. They are strung into a necklace and are worn by children on the morning of Ghughuti. They also sing to attract crows and other birds. Portions of these edible necklaces are offered to welcome the migratory birds back after their winter sojourn in the plains.

Traditional Pichora

I already shared a Ghughuti recipe in my blog. Traditionally, ghughuti dough is made into different shapes and then deep-fried. The most common shape resembles the Hindi letter 4 while shapes of drums, knives are also common. This time I will make Khajoor. Khajoor locally called Rotana is a fried cookie made up of wheat flour, milk, suji, fennel seeds and jaggery. Rotana is served in cultural events and festivals. Khajoor is also prepared at the times of “Makar sankranti and Holi” festivals.

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Ingredients :

Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 1 &1/2 cups
Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/8 cup
Oil – 4 tbsp
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Oil for frying

Makar Sankranti

Method :

  1. Heat water in a pan and add grated jaggery or gur.
  2. Add a pinch of himalayan pink salt. Cook till jaggery melts.
  3. Then filter jaggery water an allow to cool down completely.
  4. I used food processor to knead a dough. Add 2 cups of Whole wheat flour into a food processor.
  5. Add sesame seeds and fennel seeds with oil. Mix it.
  6. Then add prepared jaggery water slowly and knead a dough.
  7. At last add little oil and mix it well.
  8. Now take a small portion of dough. Roll a dough into flat chapati (little thick ) and cut into diamond shape.
  9. Then fry on low heat till light golden brown. Serve with hot cup of chai.
Fest of Kumaon 

Ghughutiya Tyar | Fest of Kumaon | Love My Culture | Ghughuti Recipe | Makar Sankranti Ghughuti

The festival of Ghughuti, called “Ghughutiya tyar” in the local dialect is celebrated in the Kumaun region of the hilly state of Uttarakhand on the eve of Makar Sankranti (January 14th). Ghughutiya, which is also known as “kale kauwa” (Black crow) is celebrated by preparing the sweet delicacy “Ghughute”. Ghughute is prepared by kneading wheat flour into dough mixing it with jaggery.

Makar Sankranti Ghughuti

Then the dough is then used to make different small shapes and then deep-fried in ghee/oil till beautiful golden brown. Then Ghughugte shapes are then strung into a thread to form a garland which also includes orange, popcorns and worn by young children. The next day, early morning children go on their roofs and offer ghughute to crows. As they offer, they also chant: “Kale kauwa kale, ghughuti mala khale” (O black crow, eat this garland made of ghughute). I still remember my Naniji used to make ghughute mala for me and Rahul (my younger brother).

To make this festival more interesting. I made a small Pichora. Pichoda is traditional attire for every woman in Uttarakhand (mostly in Kumaon), from the first time on her marriage, then on every auspicious occasion like pooja, namkaran, or marriages in the family; the married women wear Pichora.

Pichora

Ghughutiya Tyar | Fest of Kumaon | Love My Culture | Ghughuti Recipe | Makar Sankranti Ghughuti

There is an interesting story behind this practice of offering ghughutas to crows. Once upon a time, there was a king who had a minister named Ghughutiya. This minister planned to kill the king and usurp his kingdom. However, a crow warned the king of his minister’s intentions, thus saving the king’s life. The king then punished his minister and ordered everyone in his kingdom to prepare sweets and delicacies and offer them to the crow.

Drawing – Artist Reyansh Karki

Ingredients :

Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 1 &1/2 cups
Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 2 tbsp
Little crushed black pepper
Little Himalayan pink salt
Oil or ghee – 1 tbsp

Oil for frying

Method :

  1. Heat water in a pan and add grated jaggery or gur.
  2. Add crushed black pepper and himalayan pink salt. Cook till jaggery melts.
  3. Then filter jaggery water an allow to cool down completely.
  4. I used food processor to knead a dough. Add 2 cups of Whole wheat flour into a food processor.
  5. Add sesame seeds and fennel seeds. Mix it.
  6. Then add prepared jaggery water slowly and knead a dough.
  7. At last add little oil and mix it well.
  8. Now take a small portion of dough. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and roll dough. Make different shapes (as shown in picture below).

9. Now deep fried till golden brown.

Ghughutiya Tyar

DIY Pichora | Love My Culture | Fest of Kumaon | Ghughuti Recipe | Makar Sankranti Ghughuti