India is a land of festivals and no celebration here is complete without platefuls of delicious food. From special dishes made during each festival to households having their own special family recipes made for generations — festivals and food are inseparable. And after a series of harvest festivals this Spring, now it’s time for Maha Shivratri celebrations. The auspicious occasion when Lord Shiva is worshipped during the holy month Phalguna or Maagha as per Hindu Lunar calendar (February or March, according to the Georgian calendar).
Maha Shivratri, which translates to the ‘The Great Night of Shiva’, is celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha on the 13th day or the 14th night of the month, as it is said that the sins of a devotee who observes the day with utmost sincerity and devotion are washed away and he/she attains moksha.
And as devotees offer their obeisance to the Shivalingam, traditionally offering milk, water, bel leaves (three leaves stalked in one) and fruits, they also add bhang or hemp. Yes, it is believed that living in the Kailash, wearing a tiger skin, Lord Shiva smoked hemp and traditionally it is offered to the God on this holy day.
So, for one day it’s okay to spike your desserts! Here are some trendy and tasty dessert recipes you can try on this Maha Shivratri with a dash of bhaang.
Hot Buttered Bhaang
By Anand Panwar, Executive Pastry Chef, The Roseate
50g — White Butter (softened)
5g — Bhaang
250ml — Vodka
1 tbsp — Honey
5 drops — Vanilla essence (optional)
2 tsp — Cinnamon powder (for garnishing)
10 — Rose petals
* In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
* Now, add the bhaang, which should be grounded into a fine powder.
* Add the Vodka and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring the entire time.
* Now, add the vanilla essence.
* Once it starts boiling, reduce the flame to medium-low. Strain the mixture and let cool to room temperature and let sit for 10-30 minutes, or even overnight.
* Add honey to taste to the mixture and pour into a glass. Add a small pinch of cinnamon powder or very few rose petals to garnish and serve.
Magic Chocolate Bananas
By Anand Panwar, Executive Pastry Chef, The Roseate.
1/2 cup — White Butter
10g — Bhaang
3 — Bananas (large)
450g — Milk chocolate
20g — Almonds (chopped)
20g — Sprinkles
* In a double boiler, melt the butter over a low heat.
* Keep stirring until it melts fully and mix the bhang powder to it. Then set it aside.
* Now, melt the chocolate in the same double boiler until smooth.
* Add the bhaang-infused butter to the chocolate as it melts. Gently mix the butter into the chocolate.
* Cut each banana into 1-inch slices and put a toothpick or a stay stick through the centre.
* Dip a banana slice into the ‘magical’ chocolate and let it settle on wax paper (draped over a baking sheet).
* Repeat this with all the slices.
* Lastly, sprinkle some finely chopped nuts on top or coloured sprinkles, if you like. Let the chocolate covered bananas cool down in the refrigerator for two hours and then enjoy!
And if these two trendy, modern recipes are not your type, then try out this traditional thandai recipe by spiking it with some bhaang!
4 1/2 cups full — Fat milk (boiled and cooled)
1/4 cup — Sugar (powdered)
A pinch — Freshly ground black pepper (kali mirch)
1/4 cup — Almonds (badam, crushed)
2 tbsp — Poppy seeds (khus-khus)
2 tbsp — Fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp — cardamom powder (elaichi)
20 whole white — Peppercorns (kali mirch)
10g — Bhaang
Saffron (kesar) strands — A few
* Combine the prepared sugar powder, cardamom powder and milk in a deep bowl.
* Add Almonds, poppy seeds and fennel seeds to the milk mixture.
* Mix well using a whisk and refrigerate for two hours.
* Strain the mixture through a strainer and push all lumps through the sieve using the back of the spoon.
* Now add bhaang, pepper powder and saffron and mix well.
* Pour equal quantities of the thandai into four individual glasses and serve chilled.