In my mind, masalyache doodh or masala milk is permanently associated with the Ganpati festival. This used to be part of the ‘naivedya’* on the tenth and last day of the festival. Everything was extra special on that day. Emotions were heightened, and were a heady mix of relief that the ten days of festivity had been successful, sadness at the impending visarjan* of the idol and the exhaustion that accompanied hectic days of receiving visitors, cooking for everybody and generally being on your best behaviour.
The masala milk was offered to the deity in a large silver goblet, a symbol of thanksgiving and a celebration of faith, community spirit and merriment. After the puja and the visarjan, it was then distributed to everyone present.
It feels apt to include this here today, as the A-Z 2016 Challenge draws to a close soon. It’s been an especially challenging one this year for more reasons than one but an immensely satisfying one, as usual. Another April well spent!
Cheers to the spirit of the A-Z and to the fantastic Blog-A-Rhythm community!
1 pint whole milk
4 tablespoons sugar (more, if you prefer)
a few strands of saffron
2-3 tablespoons almonds and pistachios, shelled, blanched and chopped very fine
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- In a thick bottomed pan, heat the milk, slowly on medium high heat. Stir so that it does not burn.
- When it starts boiling, add the sugar. Stir continuously on a medium high heat for about 25 minutes until it is reduced to half.
- When it starts to thicken, turn the heat down a bit and keep stirring for another 5 minutes.
- When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add the nuts. Stir well for a couple of minutes and then take it off the heat.
- Add in the spices and the saffron.
- Serve warm or cold.
I prefer it warm because you can taste the individual flavours of the spices and the saffron that the heat helps release,.
- Naivedya – the first meal or morsel is offered to the deity that is worshipped and only then can the family eat any of the food that has been cooked. This first offering of food is called naivedya.
- Visarjan – immersion of the deity/idol in water after the festival. This is a common practice in India and a way to bid the deity goodbye until the following year.