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  • Sushma Saksena

Mewa Pag for Janmashtami

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

(Special dry fruits sweet for Janmashtami)

As soon as Janmashtami approaches, I remember the Mewa Pag prepared by my mother. Mummy cooked different kinds of sweets for each festival. On Holi we had Gujia, on Diwali we had home-made petha and gulab jamun and so on. Similarly, Mewa Pag is indelibly associated with Janmashtami. Though we had a number of tasty sweets like kheer on Janmashtami but Mewa Pag had a special place in our hearts. Like Mummy, I too prepared different sweets for each festival so that my children would know which sweets are associated with which festival.


There is a very interesting incident connected with Mewa Pag which I would like to share with you. Quite a long time ago, we were staying in Rajkot. Our children were very young with my daughter being only some months old. I wanted to prepare Mewa Pag to acquaint my children with its delectable taste but I could cook it only after I had to put my daughter to bed. Feeling sleepy after a long day, I put the Mewa Pag in the nearest container. Unwittingly, I had put the sweets in the milk container!


Next morning, as much as I tried, I could not find the Mewa Pag. I asked my husband who told me that as usual he had put out the milk container, first thing in the morning. He had not taken out the Mewa Pag from the container because he was not aware that something had been kept in it. I could do nothing but to beat my head.


At the end of the month, when the milkman came to collect his dues, I wanted to ask him why he had taken away the Mewa Pag without telling me. Instead, I asked him how he had liked the Janmashtami sweets. He was quite surprised at my question. He told me that he was on leave for Janmashtami and so he had sent a boy, whom he did not know very well to deliver the milk on Janmashtami day. The milkman said he did not know from where that boy had come and where he had gone. Somehow, instinctively, I felt that Lord Krishna himself had come to eat my Mewa Pag.


It may be only my imagination but every time I think about this episode a pleasant feeling comes over me.


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 6 persons or more


INGREDIENTS FOR MEWA PAG:

1. Makhane (lotus seeds)- 1 big bowl

2. Almonds (badam) – 1 small bowl

3. Cashew nuts – 1 small bowl

4. Dry coconut – ½

5. Musk melon seeds- ½ bowl

6. Sun flower seeds – ½ bowl

7. Small raisins (kishmish) – ½ bowl

8. Sugar- 1 big bowl (2 small bowls)

9. Elaichi (cardamom) powder – ½ tsp

10. Ghee – ¾ cup



HOW TO MAKE MEWA PAG:

1. Chop almonds and cashew nuts. Keep aside.


2. Slice or grate the coconut. Remove stems from raisins.


3. Now add 3/4 cup ghee to the wok and heat. When the oil is medium hot, put the lotus seeds (makhana) to fry. Stir until it turns golden brown (about 4 minutes). Take out the makhana in a plate by collecting with a ladle at the edge of the wok.


4. Crush the lotus seeds by a pestle in a mortar.


5. Take 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, fry it in ghee until they turn golden brown. Reduce the flame and take them out.


6. Take 1/2 cup of sliced cashew nuts, fry in ghee until they turn golden brown. Reduce the flame and take them out.


7. Keep the wok on low flame. Put ½ cup muskmelon seeds to fry when the ghee is less hot. Now, change the flame to medium. Fry by continuously stirring the seeds. The seeds would crackle and puff up. When the seeds turn slightly brown take them out from the wok.


8. Now add sliced or grated coconut to the ghee. Fry. Stir continuously. When slightly brown take out the coconut from the wok.


9. Keep all the dry fruits aside in a thali.


10. Now make sugar syrup. Take 2 cups of sugar in a vessel. Add ¾ cup of water to it. Turn on the flame. Cook the sugar syrup until the sugar dissolves in the water. Stir it at regular intervals.


11. After 5 minutes, check if the sugar syrup is ready. Pour a drop of sugar syrup in a bowl, stick it between your fingers. If it forms a single thread then the syrup is ready.



12. Meanwhile grease a thali and keep aside.


13. When your sugar syrup is ready put all the dry fruits in the sugar syrup. Add 1 tsp elaichi powder. Mix all ingredients well. Cook until it reaches the setting consistency. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix well. Turn off flame.


14. Put the Mewa Pag in a thali to set. Spread it evenly with a spoon. Mark the Pag by a knife. You can cut in big or small pieces, as desired. Let the Pag cool, then separate the pieces from each other. Lift the pieces from the thali with the help of a knife. In case of difficulty, heat the base of the thali slightly for 10 to 12 seconds.


15. When the Pag cools down you can store it in an airtight container. You can keep the Pag for a month.



TIPS:

1. Roast the dry fruits slightly in ghee. This would enhance the flavour of Pag.

2. The consistency of the sugar syrup should be just right otherwise the Pag would not set properly.

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