18 Aug 2022

Janmashtami Festival: Food & Recipes

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The festival of Janmashtami is here. The festival is also known as Gokulashtami or Sri Krishna Jayanthi and is celebrated with great joy and devotion all over India. Some regions might celebrate it differently than others. For instance, in the state of Maharashtra dahi handi is very popular in the state. Whereas in some parts of North India, devotees place statues or images from Krishna’s childhood. These are then placed on swings and cradles outside their homes and swung with religious songs after the birth of Krishna and pooja. 

People beautifully decorate temples across India for the pooja at late midnight. As midnight is Krishna’s birth time. The places associated with Krishna’s birth & childhood like Mathura, Gokul and Vrindavan are especially visited by many devotees annually to celebrate the festival of Janmashtami. 

Families celebrate the festivities by making a variety of sweets and offer it to Krishna in their home decorated temples. These sweets and dishes are for the celebration and are for distribution as prasad to the family members, friends and neighbours. Many devotees in North India keep fast on the day. Here we will be looking at some of the dishes that are exclusive to the festival of Janmashtami.

In terms of salt in food, instead of normal salt, edible rock salt (sendha namak) is the right choice. Some of the major grains & flours that are available for all Hindu festivals foods as a base, when fasting, are as below.

Janmashtami Food Base:

  • Water chestnut flour (In Hindi: singhare ka atta)
  • Buckwheat flour (In Hindi: kuttu ka atta)
  • Amaranth flour (In Hindi: rajgira ka atta)  and amaranth seeds (In Hindi: rajgira or ramdana)
  • Barnyard millet flour (In Hindi: sama ke chawal ka atta)
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Tapioca pearls (In Hindi: sabudana)

Diving Into Exclusive Janmashtami Foods

Janmashtami and food have a deep bond and this shows every year on the auspicious day marking the birth of Lord Krishna. On this day several exclusive dishes are offered to Lord Krishna. This is while keeping in mind his love for milk and dairy products. 

Janmashtami Exclusive Dish: Panjiri 

One of the major traditional dishes for the festival is Panjiri. As the name suggests, it is derived from the sanskrit word, representing panch meaning 5 elements. There are multiple types of Panjiri, made in varied types depending on the key ingredient of each one. This traditional dish consists of coriander seed powder, desi ghee, powdered sugar, almonds, cashew nuts, mishri, pistachios and raisins. Yes it does taste as amazing as thi combo sounds! This food dish is very healthy due its beneficial properties for the intestines.

The King of Dessert: Kheer 

Kheer with dry fruit toppings

One of the famous and most delicious desserts in Indian cuisine is Kheer. It is a milk based dish with added dried fruits, rice, makhana or sabudana. This delicious delight has cardamom and saffron for the rich flavours. It is not only yummy but also very filling. Subsequently, this sweet dish is an offering to Lord Krishna as part of “Chaapan Bhog” during the midnight celebration of Janmashtami. 

Krishna’s Favourite: Maakhan Mishri 

Maakhan kept in an earthen pot for Janmashtami festival

This dish is the favourite of Lord Krishna and one can see the significance mentioned in many of his childhood tales. It consists fresh maakhan/butter, sugar or misri. It is very simple and can be easily made at home. 

Devotional Drink: Honey with Milk 

Honey & milk bottles in a wooden tray

The Janmashtami puja has a wide range of food platter. It can never be complete without a devotional drink consisting of from milk and honey. This is the symbol of purity. After offering it to Lord Krishna, it is distributed amongst the devotees. 

Easy, Traditional & Tasty: Gopalkala 

Traditional dish kept in banana leaf bowl

This is a very simple and yet very tasty dish, also popularly known as the ‘poor man’s food’.  It consists cucumbers, beaten rice, curd, coconut, sugar, ghee and roasted cumin seeds. As simple as it is, after mixing all these ingredients, they arrange it in a ladoo shape. Then, it becomes a part of the offerings to Lord Krishna during the midnight pooja rituals. 

Snack King: Makhana Paag 

Makhani in a brown with tea cups alongside

Makhana Paag is an exclusive Janmashtami feast food. This special dish is for the eve of Janmashtami, consisting lotus seeds, milk, ghee and powdered sugar. The crispy, sweet and delicious flavour of this dish is very popular among children. 

Janmashtami Pooja Essential: Panchamrit/Charnamrit 

Panchamrit in an earthen pot with rose petals & herbs for Janmashtami

The Panchamrit has a great sacred influence in the Hindu culture. This is basically for bathing Lord Krishna at midnight celebrations on the festival of Janmashtami. This milk mixture consists fresh milk, ghee, curd, tulsi leaves, jiggery/sugar and makhana. Once the rituals are complete at midnight, this charnamrit then is available for distribution to the devotees as part of the prasad. 

Healthy & Heavenly: Rava Laddoo 

Rava Laddoos in a wooden bowl

This nutritious and healthy rava laddoo consists of grated coconut, roasted rava, dry fruits, nuts, sugar and a great amount of ghee. Many stories of Lord Krishna tell us about his love to eat ghee and butter. The preachings and stories also say that to provide food to those who are in need is the best way to please him.

The Fast(ing) Food: Sabudana Khichdi 

Sabudana Khichdi in an earthen pot

The most favourite and famous dish when fasting is the Sabudana Khichdi. It is a very light dish, made with green chilli, soaked sabudana, sendha namak, peanuts, ghee and tomato. It is a healthy snack and is rich in carbohydrates, hence, can provide you with instant energy during or post your fasting period. 

Mouthwatering Sweet: Gulab Jamun 

Gulab Jamun served in a glass bowl for the festival of Janmashtami

Every Indian’s heartful dessert, the Gulab Jamun. It consists of all purpose flour, milk solids(khoya), cashew, cardamom, sugar syrup, rose water and a few strands of saffron. When it comes to Gulab jamun servings, it’s either on its own or with various accomplices to enhance the dessert experience. Its common accomplice is with the likes of Rabri and that is how it’s put in the offerings platter for Lord Krishna on Janmashtami. 

Prepare these delicious foods at home. Order all that you need for the festival from fresh fruits & flowers to raw materials for your dishes. Shop for all other pooja essentials from your one-stop grocery delivery app, Milkbasket. Celebrate the festivities with ease by getting 7 AM doorstep delivery! 

We wish you a very Happy Jamashtami! Enjoy these mouth-watering dishes with your family and loved ones to make your festival even more special.


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