Sweet food is always a blessing, satisfying to the soul, spirit and body. It balances our more savoury foods, especially hot and/or sour foods. In moderation, and in a good mindful balance with other foods, sweet dishes are not the toxic enemy that many proclaim.
In our household we are not great sweet eaters, preferring unadorned fruits, nuts and cheeses. It is the occasional pastry with coffee, a piece of cake or biscuit when visiting friends, sometimes dessert if eating out. It is rare to make anything sweet at home (sometimes icecream in summer).
That attests to the wonderful nature of this dish. Made with a form of rolled rice, poha, it is light yet satisfying. Poha is easily obtainable from your Indian shop. There are several different thicknesses – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There are also poha types made from red rice and brown rice. For this dish, it is important that you use a paper or thin poha.
This is such an easy dish, gorgeous too, and can be used as a snack or side dish, eaten for breakfast or used in small quantities for dessert.
It is also beloved of Ganesha and Krishna, so is used as naivedyam for Ganesha Chaturthi and Krishna Jayanti. Explore other naivedyam and prasadam, and other dishes for Ganesha Chaturthi and Krishna Jayanti.
Pancha Kajjaya (Five Foods) | Sweetness from India
Adapted from: Krishna Jayanti Media Sheet from Hinduism Today
Cuisine: From India
Prep time: 5 mins with 30 mins resting time
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 5-10 depending how you use it, more as naivedyam
4 cups thin poha (beaten or flattened rice). Use only the thin poha – the dish will not be successful if using medium or thick poha
4 cups grated coconut – it is Ok to use frozen shredded coconut. Some of my friends make it with desiccated coconut
1/2 – 2 cups powdered jaggery, depending on your preference. I prefer less, about 1/2 cup.
4 Tblspn white or black sesame seeds. Use white for naivedyam. For snacks or desserts, the black sesame seeds look stunning.
1 tspn cardamom powder
2 Tblspn honey (I like to use a raw organic honey, but any good runny honey will be fine.)
1 – 3 bananas
Mix the poha with the coconut and set aside for 30 mins. It will absorb some moisture from the coconut.
I like to check the poha at this stage, and if it is a little hard, I sprinkle a minute amount of water over the poha and mix well. About 1/4 tspn, just dripped from a spoon or from my fingers. The success of the dish depends on the poha absorbing moisture from the coconut and the honey, and sometimes it needs just a little help.
Add the remaining ingredients, mix and arrange in a shallow serving dish.
Drizzle most of the honey over the top. Decorate with the sliced bananas and drizzle the remaining honey over the top of them.
Give thanks and enjoy!