Navratri is a festival that is dedicated to the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. And Kanjak is celebrated on either Ashtami or Navami (eighth or ninth day) of Navratri. According to the Hindu tradition, the lady of the house welcomes nine girls into the house and offers them halwa, chane and poori as Kanjak Prasad.

Young girls who have not yet hit puberty are seen as the embodiment of Goddess Durga. Halwa, poori and chane are made at home in pure ghee and they are served fresh to them. Here is the recipe to prepare this ‘Kanjak Prasad’.

Serves: 9-10

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Halwa

Ingredients:

Moti suji: 2 cups

Pure ghee: 1 ½ cups

Sugar: 1 ½ cups

Cardamom powder: ½ tsp

Almonds: 2 tbsp (coarsely chopped)

Cashew nuts: 2 tbsp (coarsely chopped)

Dry coconut: 1/3 cup (grated)

Raisins: 1 handful

Saffron strands a pinch

Water: 8 cups

Method

Heat ghee in a thick-bottomed pan. Add suji and stir it frequently on low flame until it starts leaving ghee on the sides and also a nutty fragrance will start spreading all around. Suji will become light brown in colour. It will take around 25 to 30 minutes on low flame. This process should be done on low flame only to get the best result. Simultaneously when you are roasting suji, on another burner, boil water and sugar together in a separate pan adding cardamom powder and saffron strands. When a boil comes, turn off the flame and keep this sugar syrup aside. When suji turns light brown in colour, add coarsely chopped almonds and cashew nuts and cook for three to four minutes on low flame stirring occasionally. These dry fruits will also become golden in colour. Add raisins and mix well. Add sugar syrup and keep stirring continuously until the whole syrup is absorbed by the suji. It will start thickening like halwa. When it achieves the consistency like halwa, turn off the flame. Keep stirring continuously immediately after adding sugar syrup so as to avoid lumps.

Garnish with grated coconut.

Kale chane –

Ingredients:

Kale chane: 2 cups

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp

Coriander powder: 2 tsp

Amchoor powder: ½ tsp

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Water: 8-10 cups

Pure ghee: 2 tbsp

Method

Wash kale chane thoroughly. Soak them overnight in plenty of water. Pressure cook them adding eight to 10 cups of water and salt until they are soft. Give one whistle on high flame and then simmer on medium-low flame for 60 minutes. Then turn off the flame and let the pressure release on its own. Open the lid and take out the boiled kale chane in a bowl leaving its water in the cooker. Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds start to crackle, add boiled kale chane. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and little salt if required as we have already added salt while boiling kale chane. Since it is Prasad, you cannot taste it before offering it to the Goddess and nine little girls. So be careful while adding salt. Stir and mix well on low flame. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame adding little chana water in it. Let the water dry away. Add amchoor powder and mix well. Turn off the flame. Kale chane are ready.

Poori

Ingredients:

Wheat flour: 3 cups

Salt: 1 tsp

Pure ghee for deep frying

Water as required

Method

Take wheat flour in a big plate having edges. Add salt and mix well. Now slowly add little water and start kneading the dough. Add enough water to make a stiff and soft dough. Knead properly. Keep it aside in a closed container to give a rest of 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add one tablespoon of ghee and knead the dough again until smooth. Now make lemon size balls out of this dough. Grease all the balls with ghee so that they do not stick on the rolling board while rolling. Roll them with a rolling pin on a wooden or stone board in round shape having a diameter of three to four inches. The poories should neither be too thick nor too thin. Heat ghee in a frying pan for deep frying poories. Deep fry poories one by one flipping from both sides until golden brown. Take them out on a kitchen towel to soak excess of ghee.

Now arrange the kanjak Prasad. Take a big plate. Make nine sets of two-two poories. On each set of poories, put halwa on half side and kale chane on the remaining half side. Put a small piece of coconut with some money according to your wish on each set. Kanjak Prasad is ready to offer to Maa Durga and then to the nine young girls. Give one such set of poories to each one of the nine girls with full devotion. Touch their feet and take their blessings.

Try to make this delicious Prasad at home and be a part of this festive fervour.