Today is Vijayathasami. The tenth day after the nine days of the Navarathri festival. It is considered auspicious to start new learning on this morning. Children who will be starting school in the coming year will have their ‘eadu thodakkal’ ceremony. The ‘eadu thodakkal’ is a ceremony where toddlers trace their first alphabets on a tray of grain and is usually held at the temple with the priest conducting the ceremony. One of my friend’s twins will be starting their ‘eadu thodakkal’ today and I feel sorry for her as they are two energetic boys who can’t keep still for a minute and I hope that she manages to keep them engaged at least for the alphabet tracing part.
For Vijayathasami, we have never really done anything at home other than visit the temple. At the start of the Navarathri, both at the temple and in the home, people plant the seeds of nine varieties of grain (nava thaniam) such as moong dal, chickpeas, urad dhal, kurakkan etc. and on the tenth day, the sprouts are collected and placed before the shrine in the home. The sprouts are supposed to symbolize growth, luck and prosperity. As a child, I used to keep a few of the sprouts in the school book of the subject that I wanted better grades on.
Today’s recipe for Vijayathasami is a non-traditional one – the recipe for my mother’s passion fruit cake as we enjoy baking at home.
Time taken: 55 mins
Serves 6 to 8
- Low fat margarine (Sunflower or Canola) – ¾ cup + 2 tbsp
- White sugar – ¾ cup
- Passion fruit – ½ cup
- Yoghurt – ½ cup
- Water – ½ cup
- Wheat flour – 1 cup
- Semolina – ½ cup
- Baking soda – ½ tsp
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Rose essence – few drops
- Icing sugar – 6 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp
- Vanilla essence – few drops
- Whisk the sugar and margarine till creamy.
- Add ½ cup of water, passion fruit, yoghurt to the creamed sugar and margarine and blend for about 2 mins.
- Add ½ tsp baking soda and 1 tsp baking powder.
- Stir in the flour and semolina gradually.
- Add a few drops of rose essence.
- Transfer to baking tray and bake for 45 mins at 170⁰C/340⁰F.
- Remove from oven and let the cake cool while you prepare the icing.
- Whisk 2 tbsp margarine, 6 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice until creamy. Add a few drops of vanilla essence.
- Spread the icing over the cake evenly.
- Serve immediately or chilled.
Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.