Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year i.e. the 14th of January. Can you guess why? This is because the festival of Sankranti is based on the solar calendar unlike the rest of Indian festivals, which are based on the lunar calendar. Makar literally means "Capricorn" and Sankranti is the day when the Sun changes it's position from one sign of the Zodiac to the other. Even though Sankranti comes every month, in the month of Magha (January) it is considered especially auspicious as it coincides with the harvest season and marks the end of the winter season. (Info: Google)
Being a South Indian, I've relived the happiness and joy of Pongal every year... Though I did make chakara pongal which is customary in our house, I also decided to make Til Ke Laddu or tilgul.
The sesame seed or til is given a lot of importance because in this season it is considered to have nutritive and medicinal properties. Til when mixed with jaggery becomes sticky and is exchanged with one another as a symbol of friendship in Maharashtra. In Marathi there is a famous saying "tilgul ghya aani god god bola" which means..."take tilgul and speak sweetly". People are encouraged to imbibe the qualities of tilgul and stick together with love and friendship.
Here's the recipe...
Ingredients: Makes approx 30 big laddus
500 gms white sesame seeds, roasted,
250 gms jaggery, grated,
100 gms peanuts, roasted, deskinned,
1.) Grind the sesame seeds in a mixer to a semi-fine powder. Remove and set it aside.
2.) Grind the peanuts coarsely. Remove and set it aside.
3.) Grind the grated jaggery until its super-fine and start to form lumps.
4.) Add the ground sesame powder and peanut powder and give it a good churn.
5.) Remove and while its still warm, shape them mixture into round laddu's.
Delicious, beautifully round laddu's....
"tilgul ghya aani god god bola"