By Martha B.
Let me introduce you to Lohri, celebrated by Indian Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims (that is, all fun-loving Punjabis!). The event is marked by bhangra folk dancing, singing, and general tomfoolery.
Lohri marks the beginning of the agricultural season in the northern Indian state of Punjab and is particularly associated with the harvest of mustard greens. A very traditional dish (locally called ‘sarson da saag’) is made with mustard greens and served accompanied by a flat cornbread. My Punjabi husband and I grow, harvest and freeze mustard greens each summer for the purpose of making this dish year round. Although other greens can be either mixed with, or substituted for, the mustard greens, our family prefers the original flavors.
(We have discovered that the rabbits in our backyard, although they eat spinach, do not touch the mustard green crop, so we are pretty sure that they are not Punjabi rabbits!)
Lohri will be next celebrated on January 13, 2021. Are you read to party? It is easy as 1-2-3!
To get a feeling for the spirit of Lohri and its energy:
- Listen and dance to this short (6:49 minute) cartoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7wExm0DfPQ
- Light a fire in your fire pit or indoor fireplace and dance to the music!
- Make Sarson da saag.
Recipe for Saag:
3 cups water 2 lbs of greens (spinach, mustard or a combination)
handful of dried dill
½ cup of cornmeal ½ cup water
2 Tablespoons of butter 2 onions
4 cloves garlic fresh ginger, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
Combine water, greens and dill and cook until tender. Depending on the greens it could take as long as 2 hours. When tender, process the greens with an immersion blender or a food processor.
Make a paste of cornmeal and COLD water; stir into the cooked greens. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Warning: If you do NOT cook for at least 5 minutes, cornmeal will be gritty.
Melt butter and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and pepper; serve over saag.
Lohri is only once a year so be sure to have fun!