Hey anand umang bhayo, jai ho Nandlal ki,Nand ke anand bhayo, jai Kanhiya lal ki
Hindus all over the world will celebrate Janmashtami, Gokulashtami, Krishna Jayanti, Ashtami Rohini as its known on Thursday 25th August this year. What is Janmashtami? Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the eighth avatar(incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. He took the human form and came to this earth over 5000years ago, 5243 to be exact to vanquish evil and bring back faith in religion. Its believed that Lord Krishna was born at midnight. He was the eighth son of Devaki and Vasudev(of the Yadava dynasty) from Mathura. His maternal uncle Kansa (Devaki's brother) ascended the throne by imprisoning his father King Ugrasena.King Kansa was a tyrant. After hearing a prophesy by the heavenly voice that the eighth son of Devaki would kill him, Kansa imprisoned his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudev. Kansa killed the previous children born to Devaki. It is believed that when Krishna was to be born, all the people in the palace and Mathura fell into deep sleep except for Devaki and Vasudev. As soon as Krishna was born, the prison gates opened and Vasudev was instructed by the Supreme voice to take baby Krishna to Gokul village and place in the crib at Nanda and Yashoda's house. That same day, Yashoda had given birth to a girl who is believed to be Goddess Durga herself. Vasudev left baby (Bal) Krishna at Nanda's house and brought back the girl to Mathura. When everyone woke up from the deep sleep, Kansa immediately went to the prison to kill the eighth son. But instead he found a girl. But just that the prophesy doesn't come true, he tried to kill the girl who slipped away from his hands and went towards the heaven. But also warned that Kansa that his vanquisher had already taken birth.
Lord Krishna was raised by his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda. Kansa was killed by Lord Krishna as prophesied but his work was not done as yet. As we read the Srimad Bhagavatam(Bhagavata Purana), Lord Krishna had lots of work to do to restore faith and vanquish evil. Its not really possible for me to write about all His work here, but for every Hindu Lord Krishna's birth is of great importance.
To celebrate this auspicious day, people usually fast the whole day. Some take no water, some take water only and others fast by not eating any grains and pulses. Around midnight puja is performed, bhajans(hymns) are sung praising Krishna and around midnight His birth is celebrated with much pomp, songs and dance. After that abhishek(bathing and dressing up the Lord) is performed. A variety of food is offered the Lord as bhog and finally people break their fast by taking prasad (the offering). Some break the fast the next day at sunrise.Bal Gopal (Krishna is known by 108 different names) as a small child loved milk, yogurt(dahi) and butter(makhan). He would 'steal' makhan or dahi from the pots of the gopis home. To celebrate his childhood pastimes, usually a pot of yogurt is hung high up. Then young boys form a huge pyramid and get a young boy to break the pot with a stick. This ritual and a fun time for all is performed after Janmashtami.
To celebrate this Janmashtami with my #FoodieMonday#Bloghop friends, I have prepared baked yogurt or Bhapa Doi as an offering for our 54th theme #Janmashtami. It has cream, milk and yogurt which all are Bal Gopal's favourite. I flavoured the baked yogurt with dulce de leche(milk jam or condensed milk heated till it turns brown). I've always wanted to baked yogurt since the first time I tasted it as prasadam at my sister in law's house in Mumbai. She and her husband are both devotees of ISKCON and there's never a time when there is no prasad (offering) at their home. They tend to get prasad through other devotees from all over India. Bhapa doi was one such prasad sent all the way from Kolkata. Here's my recipe for dulce de leche baked yogurt.
DULCE DE LECHE BAKED YOGURT
food photography: Namrata Patel
½-¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup hung yogurt* or greek yogurt
1 cup fresh cream (or milk)
a few strands of saffron (kesar)
2-3 tbsp dulce de leche
Mixed chopped nuts ( I used hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Take 6 ramekin bowls or earthenware bowls.
- Place them in an ovenproof deep tray.
- Whisk sweetened condensed milk, cream and thick yogurt together.
- Add saffron and mix.
- Pour the mixture equally into the bowls. Fill them ¾ full.
- Pour water in the tray till it reaches halfway around the bowls.
- Place the tray with the bowls in the oven.
- Bake the yogurt for 10-15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the yogurt comes out clean.
- Take the tray out of the oven.
- Let the baked yogurt cool down.
- Put it in the fridge till required.
- Sprinkle nuts or fruits on top and serve.
- * Put about 1½ cups of fresh yogurt in a muslin cloth or cotton cloth. Hang it over the kitchen tap or place the cloth in a strainer. Let the water from the yogurt drain out for 20-30 minutes.
- If you don't want to use dulce de leche, flavour it with spices or fruit purees of your choice.
- Use only ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk if you don't want the baked yogurt too sweet.
- Top the yogurt with nuts, fruits, or even compote.
- Don't over bake it.
- Remember to use ovenproof bowls and tray.
- For a lighter dessert, replace the cream with milk.
- If you don't have individual bowls you can use a small ovenproof tray (8"X8"). Cut the baked yogurt into pieces and serve.
- To prepare dulce de leche read here.
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