Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gokulashtami

Q: What is the similarity between Gokulashtami and Communism?
A: Karl Marx

If you did not "get" this joke, you are best advised to not proceed reading this post steeped as it is in Tam-Mumbai sub culture.

Today is Gokulashtami 2011. And helmets have just been introduced into the kitchen after some cheedais decided to self explode in oil. And that took me back in time.

Gokulashtami to us, as youngsters, living in Tamland transplanted in Mumbai was a simple festival. Like most festivals, it meant good things to eat and sometimes wear.

Except that in Gokulashtami, the entire household would get its share of cheedai batter which they needed to convert into smallish round balls - the size of a marble (goti). Lets roll, amma would say and then thats it, we spent a good part of the afternoon rolling cheedais and often, sizing and resizing them till amma thought we got it right. It was worth it, in the end - the cheedais were a once in a year preparation - and they were an amazing snack. The salt cheedais were mostly harmless though there have been instances in our family tree when the cheedais decided to burst while they were being fried - at which point, we took evasive action and mothers used helmets to get the cheedais and themselves out of trouble.

The jaggery cheedais were more troublesome. They would split or dissolve in oil and what not. Every maami worth her salt jaggery had her own tweaks to get it right. Some advised adding banana, some reducing the jaggery and what not. But it was a sense of achievement amma had when she cracked the cheedais to her satisfaction.

No more cheedais until the next Gokulashtami. Post that all the maamis we knew exchanged their cheedais with each other - so each year we got to eat cheedais of a variety of quality levels.

Around evening, was when we got around to making footmarks of little Krishna who it is said makes his way into homes to have his share of butter, cheedai and neyappam. This was the second most exciting part - after the eating.

And since it was Mumbai, we also got to witness Dahi-Handi (it usually fell the next day) on the streets. And then for the next few days, we would take cheedais in our dabbas to school and eat it during snack time as well.

How to make: Salt Cheedai and Jaggery Cheedai

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