By Nmami Agarwal
Lohri, falling in the month of January, also known as “Winter Solstice”, marking the dawn of winters and the beginning of summers. The best time of winters to get cheered by celebrating and dancing with great enthusiasm. Significance of the this day is more or less constrained to a gala like celebration implying a wonderful time to rejuvenate oneself from their chores and unite for some fun, keeping the cultural values on forefront. Exchanging Lohri wishes and spreading the spirit of festivity by enjoying folk dance (gidda and bhangra) around ritualistic bonfire is the most common way.
Aromatic flavors are infused with the essence of this cultural festival, along by slipping into the festive mood. So, to make such an auspicious day more special and exciting, we bring some of the authentic and traditional Lohri foods. Jaggery, popcorn, peanuts, puffed rice, makhana, carrot halwa and sesame seeds (rewri) are offered as a way of paying gratitude to nature’s bounty. Let’s begin with the list!
- Jaggery: Jaggery used in its preparation acts as a detox by flushing the toxins out of body. Also, loaded with antioxidants, zinc and selenium, which help preventing free-radicals and building stronger immunity.
- Peanuts: They are an excellent plant-based source of protein, and are high in various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds.
- Makhanas (Foxnuts): They are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. This makes them an ideal snack to satiate mid-day hunger pangs. They are beneficial to those suffering from hypertension, heart diseases and obesity due to their high magnesium and low sodium content.
- Home made Gud Patti: Mouth melting gud patti having peanut jaggery as its main ingredients. These brittle gud patti makes Lohri one of the most favourite treat of the day. You can generally prepare different varieties of gud patti in addition to the most common form of gud gajjak. Chunky peanuts embossed in the sweet base of brittle jaggery offers crucial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals, and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids plus antioxidants with plenty of heart-healthy nutrients preventing heart risk. Try making these at home for the maximum health benefits and least adulterants. You also need to consume these in moderation.
- Til Bhugga: Bhugga is a traditional Lohri treat yet least known. This North Indian sweet especially prepared to celebrate Lohri. Encumbered with dry fruits and til (sesame seeds) til bhugga is a counted as a favorite treat amongst Punjabis. These laddo shaped bhuggas uphold nutritional values such as Omega-6, polyunsaturated fatty acids including iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus helping boost the energy levels preventing hypertension.
- Carrot Halwa: You can always prepare a healthy version of carrot halwa by using coconut sugar or a little jiggery in place of refined white sugar. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants. They can help fight with the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes and also aid in digestion.
- Rewri: These bite sized treat are the best to relish your taste buds with delighting flavours or jaggery and rose. Best eaten by pairing with peanuts and are tossed to the ritual bonfire. Offering the same health benefits like til bhugga and gajjak, rewri has some extra to offer in terms of health and nutrition due to usage of rose in its preparation. Rose is considered as body detox in Ayurvedic medicine containing natural oil and moisture locking property in skin cells.
- Puffed Rice Balls: Puffed rice balls resembling to laddo made from using puffed rice and jaggery and celebrated as a traditional Lohri treat containing significant amounts of carbs that help improve the body energy immediately. Further to it, fiber in puffed rice optimize the bowel movement and also improve body’s metabolism. Nonetheless, it’s rich in vitamin D, calcium and iron too.
Over to you
This Lohri, surprise your loved ones with this traditional treats which are immensely packed with some or the other nutritional values adding your body in certain ways. Also, we recommend limiting such sweet treats by the serving of two to three bites of any two treats listed above.