Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ramrochak Tarkari / A simple prasad made of Moong dal vadas

Rath yatra is on.

On Jyestha Purnima or Snan purnima, Lord Jagannath, along with Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are brought out on the snan mandap and there, they take a good, long bath.
Before that, for 21 days, they have indulged in various water sports and other activities in the Narendra pokhari/pond, including an evening cruise, every evening.

On Snan purnima, one hundred and eight pots of water, which is brought from the sacred well of Goddess Shitala, and has sandalwood paste mixed in, is poured on them. After that they don the Ganesha vesha and are offered bhog. Then they return to the sanctum sanctorum.
And promptly fall ill.
No wonder here ... anybody would ... if 108 potsful of water were poured on them.

So the gods fall ill and retire into the confines of the mandir for a good fifteen days. They are looked after by the Daitas/sevakas  and fed plain, boiled  food during this time.
After fifteen days, they feel better but not too great. So they decide to take a small vacation and go visit their Mausi/Aunt at Gundicha mandir.
This travel, or yatra, from the holy abode to the mausi mandir, in which the vehicle is a rath, is called the Rath yatra.
There are numerous stories associated with Rath yatra, each one more interesting than the other.

For us children, Rath yatra was a time of fun.
And fear.
The fear part first.

This festival falls during the monsoons. While the wind howled and it rained cats and dogs and elephants outside, we kids suffered from a deep fear, that started much before the monsoons started.
Since it was the perfect time for infections to spread ... and stay ... the whole adult world would deem it upon themselves to protect us ... the young. Our small town would be teeming with uncounted number of people coming from far and near ... bringing with them as many viruses and diseases.
So ... the children needed to be kept safe. And how?
The only answer was vaccination.

Every single day at school was a nightmare ... yes, in broad daylight.
Every kid was haunted by that  known fear  ... every moment spent in agony ... dreading that single circular that the office help would bring to the class. And the Sister present would read it out.
"Vaccinations will be done tomorrow. The Doctor will be present in the infirmary from 9:00 am. Class teachers are requested to see that the children get the shots and maintain discipline while standing in the waiting line."
Or something like that.
To us, it sounded more like a death knell.

On the day of the vaccinations, there would be a mad scramble for red pens. Somehow, we believed that that one single dot of red on our shirt sleeves will convince our Sisters that we have already got the shot.
And should be sent home immediately. Which was unlikely as the gate keepers, on that single day, would assume that they are mightier than all asuras put together. Nobody could pass through the gates until the school bus leaves.

For me, it was doubly painful.
Since Ranga kaku/uncle is a doctor, it was his job of vaccinating the whole family. Posted elsewhere, he would come down for a few days every year during Rath yatra.
And it was this visit that we dreaded. Every morning the whole brood would sit down for breakfast with our small hearts going pit pat, pit pat. And quietly eat, almost holding our breath ... stealing glances at Dadu from under quiet, bent heads. If he finishes breakfast and gets up, we all heave a sigh of relief.
No news! Saved for one more day!
Till the day Dadu declares kaku's homecoming news.

On day one, the children get the shots.
Day two and three ... gap. The children would fall ill, fever, cranky, etc.
The adults, especially the moms would be needed around them.
So the women ... not all but half the number, got vaccinated on day four. And some of the male members too. Again a gap of two days. And then the rest of the lot.
Finally the helping hands, the cook, the gardener, etc.

What miserable days they used to be!

But a week later, all would be forgotten and the fun part started.
 Rath yatra!
Mela hopping, visiting the mandirs, climbing up on the raths to offer puja ... everything was so much fun.
Every evening we children would get loaded into the family cars ... Dadu seriously objected to letting loose the cars amongst the uncouth crowds, but had no option ... and with a couple of adults accompanying us, would walk down the big road where the mela/fair is held.
Stalls upon stalls would be set up in rows. All kinds of noises filled the air ... a child beating a just bought, new drum ... whistles, songs playing on the loud speaker somewhere, announcements in between ... of a child lost, a purse found.
The sound of bells, drums , knaasor and chanting from the main mandir along with kirtans and a whoop of "Hari Bol!!!" once in a while.
A balloon bursts somewhere. A group of giggling girls. A bunch of young boys, dapper in their new clothes, walking around with an air of confidence ... they are no less good looking that the prevalent hindi movie's hero.

Rath yatra meant good food too!
All kinds of Oriya pitha preparations ... especially those favourite to Lord Jagannath, would be prepared by our cook. On some days, usually Tuesdays, prasad would be ordered from the Radhamohan mandir and that would be our lunch.
Jagannath's prasad means a whole range of dishes.
Arisa pitha is common.

So is the Poda pitha, the Lord's favourite, a must ... and is usually prepared on the first day of Rath yatra.

I made this Ramrochak Tarkari to celebrate Rath yatra memories.... and some childhood memories too.

This is not a part of  Baripada Jagannath temple prasad ... as it's is mistakenly thought of. It is a prasad of the Radhamohan mandir on Bada bazaar road.
It has potatoes as an ingredient, which is a prohibited ingredient for Jagannath temple prasad.

Need :

For the vadas :

Spilt green Moong dal - 1 cup (washed and soaked overnight)
Whole jeera/cumin - 1/2 tsp
Fresh green chillies - 2 ( more if you like it spicy)
Salt - to taste
Oil to deep fry

For the tarkari/curry :

Ghee - 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp for adding fresh
Whole jeera/cumin - 1 tsp
Whole red chillies - 2
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Haldi/turmeric powder
Salt - to taste
Roasted jeera powder - 1 tbsp
Potato - 1, peeled and cubed
Brinjal - 1, cubed

How to :
The moong dal vadas/ boras :

Grind everything, except the oil, to a coarse paste.
Heat oil. Sccop out small vadas and deep fry.
Remove and keep aside.

The tarkari :

Heat ghee in a kadahi. Add jeera + whole red chillies + ginger paste.
Stir a little and add the potatoes and brinjals.
Add haldi, salt and water.
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
(They should be overdone, actually, and the curry should be slightly mushy ... I was in a hurry, so my curry stayed soupy and the vegetables, just done. )
After the vegetables are done, add the vadas and cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Check water ... the vadas will soak up a lot of water ... so add accordingly.

Remove cover and add ghee and roasted jeera powder.
Cover and simmer for some more time.
Remove from heat, cover and let it stand for some time. The vadas will soak up the flavours meanwhile.

 Enjoy this simple dish on the side with this dryish khichdi.
Paired with some papad, makes for a wonderfully perfect monsoon meal!
And ... in case you are wondering ... no ... I'm not from Puri. :-)

May Lord Jagannath bless you with peace, happiness and goodwill!


  1. Wonderful post.. thanks for sharing :)

  2. I never knew so many details about the Rath Yatra - I've been to Puri a few years ago and tasted the 51-bhog - what flavour, what taste! Would love to go back there! But wait a sec, you just said you are not from Puri...then??? Intriguing :-)

    Lovely post and recipe sounds delicious, will try this week-end. Thank you Sharmila.

    1. Vaishnavi ... rath yatra is celebrated in many cities of our country ... with equal fervour. So ... :-)
      Hope you like the curry ... it is very simple but does hold some good flavours.

    2. Sharmila - I made this today and it was very tasty. Will defninitely make this more often. The roasted jeera powder adds a very nice flavour - you added it in the dalma too, is it a staple Oriya flavour?

      Thanks a lot for the recipe.

    3. Vaishnavi ... am glad you liked it. Am a Bengali so use roasted jeera powder a lot ... but yes, it is often used in Oriya dishes too ... not all but in some dishes.
      The dalma does have roasted jeera powder as a part of the recipe.

  3. Lovely memories of childhood. You took me into another world. This tarkari sounds fun. Was also reading your other posts on Jagannath Yatra, it's a captivating narative. Btw my grand Dad's name is Jagannath :)

    1. That's wonderful Anjali! Grand Dads will always stay the lords of our universe with their love and blessings. :-)

    2. He he I remember my grand Dad as someone who chased us and beat up for all the mischief. I still guffaw at those memories! Yeah but he blessed us well :)

  4. Great post !!
    ..and wonderful recipe....absolutely needs to be cooked...

    1. Thank you Dayeeta! I can't comment on your blog ... any idea why?

  5. Authentic read and perfect curry to dish up while scrolling through childhood memories.....
    Have a great day ! :-)

  6. Well such a good post..obosho ami eto detail e Rath-Jatra r bishoyi jantaam na..to us it was just miniature rath hand-made ones and we kids used to tag along and carry in our neighbourhood..ami jantaam jey Balraam, shubhadra and Jaganath Thakur nijer Mama bari jache LOL..anyways good to know so much about Rath-yatra..tumar ki Odisha te upbringing hoyeche ..tai eto detail e jano khub bhalo ...niramish borar jhol bhalo laglo..tumar aro ekta post por chilaam mushroom+shorshe bata seyi ta O bhalo hoyeche...ami jokhon iche hoche tokhon he blog update korchi , I am in no hurry :-)...bhalo thekho ..hugs

    1. Jaya ... amar ektu mythology'r opor interest o ache ... prochur golpo jani.
      Shorshe mushroom ta try koro, bhalo lagbe. :-)

  7. Good gosh! I've been making this for years (with different dals though- I like variety! :)) without knowing this is Lord Jagannath's prasad!! We have a similar recipe at home- made during winters on a coal-fired angeethi. Eat this with chulhe ki moti roti with dollops of ghee. My Dadi's version had green chillies.

    1. Aparna .. now you know. :-)
      We also make a bengali type jhol with vadas made from masoor dal, have posted that too. Wow ... chulhe ki moti roti sounds heavenly. No chulha but will surely try with the roti ... and will add some green chillies too the next time. Thanks!

  8. Eitate na ami ekta lombaa comment korlam last week. Post holo na. Amar ofc theke kichu problem hochhe mone hoy. Jak, bolechilam je eto detail e RathYatra'r kotha jantma na. Khub bhalo laglo Jagannath Dev er jol lhela itydair kotha shune. Kintu onar proshad er naam "RaamRochak" keno bolo to ? Interesting torkari o

    1. Sandeepa ... Rath yatra+Jagannath+Vishnu'r onek goppo ache ... puro ekdin boshle o shesh hobey na ... amar khub bhalo lage. Shonabo kokhono. :-)
      Ramrochok naam keno eta khuje baar korte hobe next time bari gele ... my guess is Jagannath = Vishnu = Ram .. onar pochonder ranna tai. :-)


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