From the naan nazuk and Chandra Kanti to kadubu and even the ever-present idli—our colorful regional cuisines function several dishes stimulated with the aid of the color and shape of the moon. Some of those culinary creations have even made it to ballads and poems, inclusive of the only described by using K.T. Achaya inside the chapter “Foods Of A Royal Couple” from his book, Indian Food: A Historical Companion. He cites a Kannada verse using Jaina poet Terakanambi Bommarasa, circa 1485, describing the wonders of the kadubu (a sweet, deep-fried dumpling). “The Kings,” Bommarasa says, “are relishing the kadubu made of black gram: it gave the look of a full moon; like a mass of mist set collectively; as though heavenly nectar had solidified into circles; or as if the drop of moonlight had hardened.”
For centuries, chefs have tried to breed the likeness of the moon of their kitchens, the shimmery sheen, and its diverse levels. There is the Chandra puli, a part of the age-antique tradition of goodies in Bengal, which is shaped like a 1/2-moon and stuffed with coconut. A similar sweet may also be found in Assam—Joon pitha—this is made for the duration of festivals, including Bihu. “We call the moon Joon in Assam, and because the candy is made to resemble a half of-moon, it’s miles referred to as the joon pitha. It too is full of desiccated coconut and cardamom, and then deep-fried,” says Guwahati-based chef Kashmiri Barkakati Nath. Yet every other dish like the Joon pitha is the gujiya, garnished with saffron and pistachios, and consumed by the kilo across households inside the northern belt at some stage in Holi.
It isn’t a coincidence that these dishes are made for the duration of feasts and fasts that arise at unique times of the lunar cycle. The form of pithas and gujiyas signifies the affiliation with the moon. Holi, for instance, is well known for its complete moon in early spring. In truth, because of time immemorial, the waxing and waning of the moon have dictated consuming conduct throughout the usa. “The levels of the moon affect tides in the seas and oceans. And because humans are made from 70% water, the lunar cycle will impact metabolism. Therefore, due to historical instances, humans have eaten consistent with principles laid down by using Ayurveda, in which lunar cycles have constantly performed a widespread function,” says Pritha Sen, a meal historian and culinary consultant. According to Sen, the concept of fasts was introduced to institutionalize those principles.
In her e-book Feasts And Fasts: A History Of Food In India, Colleen Taylor Sen mentions the Bhavishya Purana, first composed in 500 BC, which prescribes nearly one hundred forty fasts a yr. “The 8th and eleventh days of the first half of the lunar month have been mentioned as rapid days,” she writes. One of them nowadays is Ekadashi (which literally method “11th day” of the lunar cycle). Alka Keswani, who runs the weblog Sindhi Rasoi, talks about how grains, cereals, and meat aren’t eaten on this day, with contributors of the Sindhi community ingesting Sauri (barnyard millet) in numerous forms. “Sauri flour is made from samo seeds, which is then used to make rotis. This is had with a curry made with a roasted flour slurry, to which cubed potatoes are added. This is flavored with pepper and tamarind juice. Lotus stems, too, occasionally add to this, if available,” she says.