The tale of Chappan Bhog | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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Janmashtami is here - The day we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Some pray and chant songs all night, while some participate in the fun and adrenaline filled activity of ‘Dahi-handi’. And while there are many ways we celebrate this auspicious day, one thing remains constant – Food! Lord Krishna has always been very closely associated with food which is vividly evident from his tales. Another ritual that is associated with Lord Krishna is the serving of ‘Chappan Bhog’ to the deity – an offering made with 56 kinds of delicious, mouth-watering delicacies. And while many would have heard this term being thrown across in one context or another, many are unaware of its significance.

Significance of Chappan Bhog:

It originates from the folktales in the scriptures. While there are numerous iterations of this tale, one states that during those times, in order to make Lord Indra happy and have generous rainfall for their crops, the people of Braj would prepare lavish meals for him as offerings. This would come at a very painful cost for the Brajs, as they were poor farmers who were barely making a living. Lord Krishna saw the pain in people’s eyes and convinced them to put an end to this unnecessary burden.

When the pompous Lord Indra found out, he lost his temper and punished the entire village with torrential rains storms that caused catastrophic damage to the people and threatened to destroy the entire village. Lord Krishna saw this and lifted the humongous Govardhan Mountain on the tip of his little finger in order to shelter the villagers from the storm. This went on for seven long days. Folklore also states that Krishna used to have an amazing appetite and would eat 8 meals in a day. However, for the seven days that he held the mountain, he didn’t consume even a single grain of food. After the catastrophe passed away, the brajs served Lord Krishna with 56 favourite delicacies, eight meals for seven days altogether, making the total number of dishes 56, hence the word Chappan Bhog.

Even today, many worshippers offer a Chappan Bhog to Lord Krishna during Janmashtami which is later served to everyone in the family and neighbourhood. These include a variety of sweets made out of milk and besan. Indulgent sweets like Rasgulla, Makhan, Rohanbhog, Rajbhog, Moong Dal ka Halwa etc. and savoury treats like kachoris, puris and farsan, often served with an array of dried fruits.

Here are some sweets you could try making for Janmashtami! 

Doodhpak for Govinda

This simple rice and milk based kheer is perfect if you want to prepare a simple yet rich mithai for Janmashthami. Basmati rice sautéed in ghee, cooked in sweetened milk and garnished with emerald pistachios and almond slivers – this one requires a mandatory second helping.

Mathura ka peda

It won’t be fair to put together this list without mentioning the iconic Mathura kapeda. Plenty of khoya, some sugar and a hint of glucose cooked together, shaped into pedas and sprinkled with more castor sugar. It melts in your mouth as you bite into it and that is when you know what people mean when they talk about a divine revelation.

Dahi handi, but sweet

One of the simplest and tastiest meetha you can prepare for Krishna janmashthmi. All you need is some good quality hung yogurt and sugar. When it comes to flavouring your sweetened yogurt you can select from a simple cardamom powder sprinkling or add in your favourite fruit compote. Check the link below to see the number of delicious variations you can add to this perennial favourite.

Chenna Panki

Chenna mixed with golden honey, dry fruit slivers and saffron enclosed in a banana leaf envelope and seared on a pan till the edges are slightly browned. Served right off the pan in the banana leaf – this one is perfect for the family to sit together and eat post Krishna puja.

 

Kharvas hai khaas!

 

Once you have managed to get your hand on the colostrum milk or cheek (which is produced by cows that have just given birth)the rest of the kharvas making process is simple. Mix the colostrum with plain milk, saffron, sugar, cardamom powder - steam for a few minutes and then refrigerate for a few hours. The final product is a luscious, delicate sweet melt in the mouth sweet dish that is completely worth any trouble you may have to go through to get the main ingredient in this recipe!

For other delicious treats, keep browsing through www.sanjeevkapoor.com  

 


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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.