The cheerful season of Vasant comes as a relief after the cold winds of Shishir leave the body stiff. Cool mornings and warm afternoons of Vasant open up our limbs ecstatically. But, the fluctuating weather between the end of winter and onset of summer can also affect our bodies. With the change of weather our food and routine should also be in tune to meet the changing conditions.
The type of food eaten in winter produces kapha. This stored kapha begins to melt and dilute in the sunshine of the changed weather causing health problems, obstructing the tubes. When we look at the Holi, the chief festival of Vasant, we realize there is a beautiful purpose to it. During Holi, bonfires are lit and coconuts, tender mango and neem flower stalks are thrown into the bonfire. The smoke emitted from the burning of these plants burns up our kapha on one hand, and on the other, the aromatic steam which spreads in the atmosphere, prevents the new diseases borne out of the rising pitta.
It is customary during the Holi festival to throw colours and coloured water at one another. Earlier, the only the colour used was that of boiled Kesuda (flowers of Palasha tree) along with dried Abil and Gulal powders. Kesuda and Mogra flowers are coolants that protect against heat and sunshine. This custom is meant to check our body constituents from being over heated in summer. Babies are also bathed with Kesuda water – it makes their skins delicate, soft and cool, preventing boils and eruptions.
The diet during Holi festival days is. roasted gram, jawari pops (Sorghum ) dried fruits like dates, cereals are taken.This diet has the ability to dry up kapha,
Another special day marked by celebration during this season is Amalaki Ekadashi. Amalaki means Amla. On this day the Amla fruit and plant is worshipped – extolling its values and benefits. Amla is a rich source of Vitamin C. Ancient people have prescribed taking of only amla juice on the eleventh day of Phagan.
Amla shields the blood against the direct effect of the heat of summer. Amlas are found in abundance in the beginning of Vasant and ripen only after winter, Thus, Amla is an important medicine of Vasant. Our ancestors have far -sightedly given it an important place in the celebration of festivals in this season for the protection of public health.
RECIPES FOR THE SEASON
Ratalu Chat (Kand)
Purpal Yam (Ratalu) or sweet potatoes 1 1/2 cup
Roasted Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Rock Salt 1/2 tsp
Black salt 1 tsp
Dry mango powder or lemon juice 1 tsp
Black pepper powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Peel Yam and chop it into small pieces sprinkle some salt and steam it for 10 – 15 minutes
Mix all the spices. In apan heat Cow’s ghee add mixed spices and saute it for half a minute and add steamed Yam cook for 1 minute and turn off the gas. Serve it.
Note: Instead of Dry mango powder if you use lemon juice add it after turning off the gas.
Veggie Muthia (Dumplings)
Jowar Flour – 1/2 cup
Grated Bottle gourd or pumpkin – 1/2 cup
Green chillies – 3/4 cup
Ginger – 1/2 tsp
Rock Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
Sesame seed Oil
In a plate take Jowar flour and mix castor oil.
Add bottle gourd, green chilies, ginger, Fresh coriander to the flour, add water to make a soft dough.
Make big balls and steam the muthia for 15- 20 minutes,cut it into small pieces.
In a pan heat oil add mustard seeds after it crackles add sesame seeds and turn off the gas
Sprinkle the seasoning on muthia and garnish it with fresh coriander
Yellow Moong dal – 80 gms
Black eye Kidaney beans or Chana dal – 20 gms
Fresh coriander – 1 tbsp
Tomatoes – 1 whole
Green chilies – 1 whole
Ginger – 1/2 tsp
Rock salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
Sock moong dal and black eye kideney beans for 4-5 hours.
Grind both the socked dal into fine batter like dosa batter.
Finely chopped Fresh coriander,tomatoes,green chilies and grate ginger.
Mix all the ingredients and make chilla(Dosa).
Serve with chutney.