The melodious strains of Gurbani, prabhat pheris, prakash utsav, lagars ( free community meals) and the unforgettable kada prasad were my initiation to something that would become a very important part of my life.
I was a young girl searching for solace. Drawn to the local Gurudwara by the strains of music I would go inside and get transported to a totally different world. Neither a Sikh nor a religeous person this experience was purely spiritual.
I remembered a Sikh friend’s granny giving me an extremely delicious halwa as prasad. I asked what it was made of and couldn’t believe when she said wheat flour. Now, we too made aate ka halwa but it never tasted like the one from the Gurudwara or from her kitchen. I insisted on other helping which she lovingly gave and told me that prasad is to be eaten like prasad not like mithai.
Whenever I found an opportunity I would visit the nearby Gurudwara for the shabad and for the prasad. The serenity of the place always calmed me down. I learned to prepare this divine prasad from beeji as she was called by my friend. I had just passed out from school and I think that was the last time we met before going our ways. We used to lead the school choir that participated in shabad & Kirtan competitions and still have my winning certificates of merit from Mata Sundari College.
Later, Gurudwara became a spiritual sanctuary for me, a place where I would go and spend hours sitting in complete silence, soaking in the healing viberations. Letting go of all the sorrow that filled my heart. Sometimes the tears would flow but no one paid attention or judged. I was at home inside that place of bliss. It is still a place where I become a witness to myself. Sometimes I would quietly sit by the sarovar and read Sukhmani sahib or Dukh bhanjini sahib. The words cleansed me from inside out. For me it was not just a journey with but a source of strength to cope with what lay ahead.
I still go to Bangla Sahib whenever possible though lately my visits have become irregular. You must do the seva in some Gurudwara at least once in a lifetime. I can not explain the feeling one experiences.
Today, I am sharing that recipe with you. Though I can never replicate the original. It does, however, bring back the same taste from my youth.
These silver katoris are from my childhood. Perhaps presented or bought at birth so about fifty year old. 🙂
This simple recipe for Kada Prasad doesn’t need any dry fruits or other add-ons. The flavor comes from the roasting of wheat flour in pure desi ghee or clarified butter. Roasting is also the most important aspect of making the halwa. It has to be even and just the right rich brown color or it won’t give you the authentic taste of the prasad. Also, the wheat flour needs to be coarse (Dardara) to get the right texture. You can use the usual wheat flour too but the texture won’t be like the one made in Gurudwaras. Two things that are a MUST in this recipe – Ghee and right proportion of the ingredients. You can not replace Ghee with anything else. Also, the halwa made from prasad is NEVER heated again. Something I learned from beeji.
One of the simplest of recipes and yet the richest. Today being Gurubpurab I decided to make the halwa and distribute to neighbors and family members.
Here is my recipe :
Whole wheat flour ( coarsly ground) – 1 Cup
Sugar -1 Cup
Pure Ghee (Clarified Butter ) – 1 Cup ( Yes, the halwa is laden with ghee and that is why it should be eaten less)
Water – 3 Cups
The proportion is always – 1-1-1-3 You can always double triple or half, quarter the proportion as per need.
In a kadhayi heat the water and add sugar to it. Stir to dissolve and keep aside. You can add the sugar directly also. If doing that just heat the water and keep aside for later use. Heating the water ensures that there is no change of temperature when it is added to hot roasted flour. It also ensures even cooking.
In another kadhayi heat the ghee till nicely warm. Add the wheat flour / atta and stir. Keep the flame on slow – medium as the flour tends to rapidly change from light brown – dark brown and burnt stage.
This is an important process so do it it with patience and love.
You will see the color change, keep stirring till you get to the stage where the color is rich brown and the mixture has a sand like grainy texture. The butty aroma is another sign of an evenly roasted aata. You will also notice the ghee leaving the sides now.
At this point, add the hot sugar water to the wheat ghee mixture. Be careful not to scald yourself. Stir vigorously so that no lumps are formed. Shift to medium heat to ensure the right consistency. Now turn the flame to low and keep stirring till all the water absorbs and the halwa reaches the right consistency. The ghee will starts leaving the sides again once that happens.
Turn off the gas and remove the prasad in a clean bowl. Usually the halwa is covered with a cloth and cut into five portions for each of the Sikh Gurus and then distributed after the prayer and offering.
You can garnish with almonds if not making as prasad.
An interesting fact from my marital village in Himachal –
The village of Mairi has Dera Baba Vadbhag Singh Ji Gurudwara. After the Holi / Baisakhi Mela finishes the devotees or Sangat are offered karah prasad that is kept covered in a large kadhayi locked inside the basement in the gurudwara. After the ardas when the door is opened the prasad has a large hand imprint on it. It is believed that Baba ji comes to bless the prasad. It is then called panje ka prasad. No one knows how that miracle happens but faith keeps the prasad good for years. My MIL says that the prasad never gets spoiled. I will some day write about my experience of the village life etc.
For now, Keep your heart light burning bright. Stay blessed and once again a very blessed gurupurab to all of you. Remember the teachings of Baba Nanak who left us a beautiful treasure of how the life should be.
Awwal Allah Noor Upaya Qudrat Keh Sub Banday
Aik Noor Keh Sub Jag Upajiya Kaun Bhale Ko Mandhe
God created light of which all the beings were born
And from this light, the universe; so who is good and who is bad