Gowri, or Gowri Habba, is one of the most important Hindu festivals and is celebrated in all its glory in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Special food is prepared for the occasion, and while there are various dishes which are prepared for the day, there are a few which are an absolute must. The highlight of the occasion is the grand pooja performed by married as well as unmarried women and the food prepared and served consists mainly of sweets which are also offered later as an after-prayer offering or prasada.
Traditional Gowri Food and Preparations
Traditional preparations for the occasion include Obbattu, Kadubu, Obbattu Saaru, Chitranna, Payasa, and Idli and Chutney. One of the most important preparations is Patholi, which is a sweet dish. It is made from coconut, rice, poha and jaggery.
Although it is essentially a sweet dish, Patholi can also sometimes be prepared as a more savory tasting dish with a hint of sweetness. Huggi/chitranna and Bajji and Kosumbari are other important preparations which are considered a must-have for the celebration.
Significance of Gowri Food
Food prepared and served during Gowri is always rich and lavish and prepared using only the best ingredients. Depending on where the festival is being celebrated, the recipes, foods, rituals and customs differ, but some preparation and customs are consistent everywhere.
Modern Preparations and their Variations
Like most other festive preparations, recipes and preparation for this occasion are rich, lavish and prepared from only the very best ingredients. Although many people still continue to follow the traditional cooking ways, there are various simpler and low-calorie versions of Gowri preparations nowadays. Sweets made with artificial sweeteners, Idlis made from non-starch ingredients and Obbattu made with lesser amounts of jaggery and oil are available in shops as well as restaurants and are even prepared at home.
Customary Way of Serving Gowri Food
While some women only perform the pooja, there are some who fast on the Gowri day or the day before and break their fast after the pooja. The food is, thus, served mainly after the grand pooja has been performed. Sweets prepared for the occasion generally serve as the after-prayer offering. Fasting women break their fast by consuming the prasada. Other preparations follow and can be eaten as snacks or a major meal.
Before the Gowri preparations are consumed, a part is always offered to the Deity. Friends and family later get together for a grand celebration and the dishes are then served together or one at a time.