Thekua, one of the most loved snack in parts of North India is made during Chhath Puja. Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated primarily in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is a festival that includes various rituals dedicated to Lord Surya(Surya Devta-the Sun god) and Chhathi Maiya (known to be the sister of Lord Surya). Chhath Puja is also celebrated in the country of Nepal with a lot of devotion. The Sun God who is known to be the source of all powers and human existence in prayed as a part of this puja for the well-being of the family and overall humankind. This Vedic festival is devoted to Chhathi Maiya also called Goddess Usha from the Vedic period and included rigorous rituals. Special Trains for Diwali and Chhath Puja 2018: View List of Trains and Schedule By Indian Railways for Festival Season.
Sun God- the god of light, energy and life force is thanked during the days involved in the Chhath celebration and is worshipped for well being, development and prosperity. The devotees observe a two-day fast during this festival and are also called Vrati(the one who has kept the fast(vrat)). The sun is worshipped while it sets in the evening and then on the other day, the sun is prayed during sunrise. The worshipping of the sun god during the sunset and sunrise has a unique significance. It is claimed the sun worshipped while the setting is for the old people(previous generation) and during the sunrise is for the younger people (the upcoming, new generation,) in turn, praying for the overall humanity by sacrificing even water for 48 hours straight.
The Sun Lord and Chhathi Maiya are offered a set of food items and other Puja Samagri as a part of the prayers while standing in the water at the river bank. Out of all the things their favourite is deemed to be a sweet preparation called 'Thekua' that is offered to the gods as 'Prasad.' It is said that if you make 'Thekua' or are worshipping for Chhath Puja, you must try to feed thekuas to as many people as possible, especially needy people as an act of kindness. 'Thekwas' even otherwise are extremely delicious and very easy to make at home.
Here is an easy recipe that can help you make tasty, crispy 'Thekuas' at home-
- 500 gm wheat flour (You can use multigrain flour as well)
- 100 gm sugar (You may use powdered jaggery as a healthier option)
- Three tsp dried coconut chopped or grated
- One tsp fennel seed
- 4-5 whole green cardamom
- Water or milk to knead a dough
- Ghee to fry and to add to the dry flour mixture
- Dry fruits except for raisins
- First mix dry wheat flour with one tsp ghee make sure there are no lumps. Then add dry coconut, fennel seeds, dry fruits, crushed cardamom and mix well. Keep it aside.
- Now, heat a pan and make sugar syrup by bringing water and sugar to a boil until sugar is dissolved.
- Using this syrup and the flour mix make a nice soft dough. Keep the consistency in mind and make sure that it isn't too watery or too tight. It should be soft enough to be shaped well.
- Make balls out of dough by taking a spoonful of mixture on ghee-greased. Flatten the ball in any shape you want and set aside. Do the same with the rest of the mix.
- Deep-fry the Thekuas in heat ghee until they are a shade darker than golden brown.
Here is a video that can help you make Thekuas easily at home-
Thekuas remain fresh for about two weeks and are advised to be kept in an air-tight container. It also tastes mind-blowing when served hot, you can heat it in the microwave every time you want to eat them. While it may seem like an unhealthy food to eat, little tweaks in the ingredients can make it a bit healthier. If consumed in moderation and with appropriate ingredient swaps, they are a healthier option than store bought cookies. You may try baking instead of deep-frying.