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Being a Punjabi, Lohri has always been a great deal at my home. The happiness of a brand new year just sets in and Lohri arrives to double the fun and happiness. This festival marks the harvest season and signifies the end of chilly winters, which also means ‘longer days’ and ‘shorter nights.’ After sunset, people usually light a bonfire and dance merrily on the beats of dhol and all the family members gather around the fire and do bhangra and gidda. While growing up, I was always very excited about all the festivals, but Lohri was one of my favourites and even today the emotion remains the same. I used to collect wooden twigs and firewood for the bonfire. My mother used to make a big batch of delicious gajaks or chikkis for us and we used to feast on them for days even after Lohri was over.

It’s a harvest ritual to offer sesame seeds, gajak, jaggery, puffed rice, rewari (a sweet snack) and peanuts to the bonfire and also munch on them during the evening. While offering the goodies, people chatter aadar aye dilather jaye in Punjabi which means may honour come and poverty vanish. Followed by the bonfire, is a full-course authentic Punjabi meal which is relished by everyone in the family. It was my most favourite part too! My eyes always shined bright looking at the meal because maa ke haath ka khana, was, is and has always been my guilty pleasure as well as the most comforting meal. Together, we used to sit and enjoy the feast and honestly overindulge ourselves a little and move towards the end of a fun day. Even after marriage, every Lohri, my dear wife, Alyona and my mother make sure to follow all the rituals and prepare a giant feast for us.

 

As we Punjabis are all die-hard foodies and there’s no festive fun without loads of good food and great memories, here’s the perfect Lohri special all-day menu for you to enjoy this year. Just in case you’re keen on innovating on some or all of these, do share your ideas with me too! 

Breakfast: Mooli ke Paranthe or Aloo Matar Parantha

Start off your festive day with a filling brekkie but also an effortless one, because you’ve got to prepare a heavy meal ahead. Generally at my home, it’s either Mooli Parantha or Aloo Matar Parantha since everyone loves these 2 a lil’ too much. Pair it with some aam ka achar, chilled dahi and enjoy garmagaram. Fresh radish or manpasand aloo and taaze matar – what’s your pick for nashta?

Lunch: Punjabi Kadhi, Steamed Rice and Punjabi Lassi

This is something I can never replace in my life and I would always choose this combination over any exotic dish, any day. Lohri without kadhi-chawal is impossible at my home. My mother makes sure that I enjoy my share of garmagaram kadhi, chawal and a glass of chilled lassi afterwards. I am sharing the recipe with you too, try and tell me what do you think of my favourite combo?

Snack: Gobhi Pakoda and Masala Chai

Since, the winter vibes are still there, kuch pakode shakode ho jaaye? Here’s the classic Gobhi Pakoda recipe for you to enjoy on this awesome day. But, crispy pakodas without a hot cup of Masala Chai is really incomplete. Well, here are both the recipes for you. Don’t hold back, get a batch frying and indulge!

Dinner: Sarson da Saag and Makke di Roti

You should know it’s a traditional ritual to make these uber loved dishes on the day of this auspicious festival. Since, it’s customary to eat the winter special crops on this day, Sarson da Saag and Makke di Roti have to make an appearance on the table. The best way to savour this dish is to top it with loads of homemade safed makkhan and some gur bits on the side.

Dessert: Ganne ki Kheer

Meethe ke bina har tyohaar adhoora hai! I know you definitely agree with me and I would not let you end your festivities without satiating your sweet tooth. Gulab jamuns, jalebis and halwas are enjoyed all throughout the year, but Lohri is said to be incomplete without an equally decadent Ganne ki Kheer. This kheer has no sugar and is just sweetened with sugarcane juice. So, indulge guilt-free!

For more authentic Punjabi recipes, visit www.sanjeevkapoor.com

Sab nu Lohri di lakh lakh vadhaiyaan!


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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.