Roth, Pun, and Vinayak Chaturthi

RothWell, I forgot completely about this one occasion on which Kashmiris do use flour!! It is one day in a year so I can be forgiven my oversight.

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi, as Kashmiris know it, is the day when some Kashmiri families perform a small puja which includes a katha (story) on the lines of the Satyanarayan katha. There is the standard do-this-ritual-or-else-face-the-consequence line of reasoning in the story. If you do the puja in good faith then you look forward to prosperity…naturally. Otherwise, the gallows you shall face.

Interestingly, there is no idol that is worshipped, at least not in my family. There is druva, a type of grass, akshata (rice), and flowers offered in return for the blessings wished.

The naveed (neivaidyam) is of the roth (ro– as in ‘road’, and –th as in the second letter of the tavarg of the Hindi varnamala, the Hindi alphabet). Hey, it’s important to get the pronunciation of the topic of the post right! And this sound is missing from the English language!

So you may make as much or as little roth as you decide and most of it is then distributed among friends and family. The mimimum predetermined amount could be sava seer, for example. But it is usually cooked in greater quantities so that there is plenty to share and enjoy. The performing of the puja (the story-telling and all) and the sharing of the Roth is called Pun dyun (translated- ‘giving of Pun’ alluding perhaps, to the sharing of it).

The roth is in essence a cooked dough of whole wheat flour, sugar, and ghee. Similar to the Maharashtrian shankar para dough but not the same. There are different methods to the cooking which make the roth different in texture and taste. For the Pun, the dough is usually rolled like a thick poori, pricked or patterned with implements (we used to use metal lids with sharp edges to make intersecting circle patterns) and deep fried. My mother would always use metal lids, the kinds with sharp edges, to make impressions. When I and my sisters were little girls she would let us help with this part and we would get fancy with the intersecting circle patterns. This time I helped with the frying, big girl that I am.

Since you are not supposed to eat till the puja is over, we always sit for a breakfast of these to be washed down with Kahva, the fragrant spicey Kashmiri tea. These make a filling and wholesome breakfast. Yea, they are deep fried, but once a year, c’mon? Also, I think because they are not leavened, they don’t soak up much oil/ghee while frying. And if you make them like my mom’s, you cannot have more than one for breakfast.

Roth is also made for weddings, but that kind is usually baked in an oven. My sister and my mom worked on a recipe for that in her CT kitchen. Another time…



Whole wheat flour
1 C sugar
1/2 C ghee
1 C milk or water
moti elaichi (black cardamom), seeds only, crushed
khus khus (poppy seeds) for sprinkling over

Mix together the ghee, milk/water and sugar till the sugar is almost dissolved. Add whole wheat flour (as needed) and the crushed cardamoms and knead to a stiff dough. Divide dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Press down the balls and roll to 1/4th inch thick. If you want to roll thinner pooris, pinch off smaller balls. Thinner roth is crispier. But I like to bite into my mom’s thick dense, wholesome roths. Prick well with a knife or fork, so that the roth does not puff up while frying. Sprinkle generously with khus khus and press them down. Some of the poppy seeds will be lost in frying, but don’t sweat. Deep fry the roth on medium-high heat till browned.

RothThe wholesome flavour of whole wheat is enhanced by the nutty taste of fried poppy seeds. It is a healthy and filling snack for kids in place of maida thingies and chips. Serve with tea, coffee, or milk.

Roth keeps for up to a week without refrigeration, provided you made generous quantities πŸ™‚ . And I am thinking kids may enjoy even more if you let them have fun with cookie cutters and fry up some interesting shapes.

31 thoughts on “Roth, Pun, and Vinayak Chaturthi

  1. Hi Anita,
    we had a similar recipe called “ariselu” in south can be done with either rice flour or wheatflour .THANKS FOR SHARING.

    Happy Vinayak Chavithi to you too.Β  And your turn to share the ariselu.Β 

  2. Here goes from the CT kitchen, I just made the baked Roth yesterday. I do not have any pictures to go with it, but as my sons said they are roth demolishers. It is a simple recepie.
    5 C flour (I used 3 C white and 2C whole wheat)
    1/2 t baking soda
    5 T ghee
    1 1/3 cup yoghurt
    1 1/2 C sugar

    Mix the dough and keep aside for 15 minutes (add more yoghurt if your dough is dry). Key to the dough is that all ingredients should bind togetnher and be a soft dough. Divide into two parts and roll out to about a 1/4″ thickness. Prick with a fork or a tool to prevent it from rising. Sprinkle with khus khus. Bake in the oven at 350 degree F for about 20-25 minutes. This makes two big roths. I use the 14″ pizza dish or stone.

    Hi Minnie!Β  Nice way to keep in touch.Β  So you made roth too.Β  And now I have your recipe on record.Β 

  3. Hi Anita,
    Your posts are a wonderful read always and addictive too πŸ˜€ I have tasted the South Indian version of this dish called ‘Ariselu’ in Telugu, as Vineela has already mentioned. I’ve never tried making them though, will try your version soon or will experiment with the baked version here !

    Thanks for reading, Priya.Β  Always a pleasure.Β  Interesting..similar recipe in South…swapping regions in previous births seems to have been more prevalent that we thought! πŸ™‚

  4. It looks like ati-rasam (ti of tavaraga group) in Tamil Nadu. I am from Kerala we usually don’t make it, but I have eaten/tasted the Tamil Nadu variety. Not my fav though.

    We have something known as valsan, made out of rice flour which is made into small puri types and stuffed with coconut and jaggery combination like the coconut barfi(some use sugar) and steamed after covering it with banana leaves. That is YUMMY. The same thing is known by variety of shapes (usually in the ball variety) known as Modak in Mah and Modakam in Tamil Nadu. Don’t know if people in Karnataka and Andhra make it though.


  5. It is really wonderful. Right way to keep the traditions of Kashmir alive. All the best. Keep it up!!!

    Thanks for stopping by, Romesh!

  6. Hi Anita didi,

    I’m a kashmiri from USA…been married for just over a year now. I absolutely loved Pann as a kid (used to live in Srinagar but moved to the USA w/ my family in ’91 at age 11 after “migration”). Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog! I never cooked before marriage AT ALL…and now I’m this super duper kitchen girl (doesn’t mean I’m any good…just like being in the kitchen and trying new things).

    Your blog has given me some good laughs, great tips, and a fun time remembering things about Kashmir. I was just remembering that Pann is around the corner. I actually did the whole Pann pooja last year and (attempted) to make roth…they turned out ok. This year, I have a whole year of cooking experience behind me, so hopefully, I can do a better job. And perhaps your recipe here can help!

    Sorry for going on and on…have been reading the blog for a while and wanted to compliment and thank you!


    Hey, Anu.

    Let me know how the roth turns out. There is a recipe for the other roth (baked-kind) in here as well (as a comment from my sister). Try that out as well, and you’ll be reminded of Srinagar even more!

    Thanks for reading. Hope to see more of you on these pages…

  7. Anita,
    This is an interesting recipe- a sweet with kala/badi/moti elaichi?! Totally a new concept for me…I am most curious right now thinking how they would taste. I’ve been out of ghee for a bit now, but I suppose it is time to make a fresh batch anyway (using this recipe as an excuse works for me!)

    What day does the Kashmiri Ganesh Chaturthi fall on?

    Here we are on the same page as the rest of the Hindus! Same day as it shows on your πŸ˜€ Kaal Nirnaya.

  8. Hello,

    Nice to see your blogs, just wanted to add that Roth are special and auspicious for all Kashmiri family even today, no matter which part of the world we are, we still perform this special day on Vinayak Chaturthi OR PUN CHORUM (Kashmiri)


    Thanks for the visit, Sunil. And may we all also imbibe the lessons of mutual respect and tolerance that are also there in the story.

  9. Hi again,

    So I was this close to making the baked roath today (did the pooja this morning) and my friend told me that “you must follow tradition from the years past…” which means I had to fry them since I did that last year! Ay yay yay…lol! Apparently I can “change tradition” if there is a big event in the family, ie. wedding/birth, etc. I will definitely try out the baked roth recipe for Diwali though. My mom has done that in the past (gave it to my in-laws during my wedding) and it turned out pretty well.


    Of course, we can change tradition and start a new tradition!

  10. PS. The roth turned out fantastic! I used your method of mixing the water, (melted) ghee, sugar and just added the moti elaichi (budde al) seeds to it as well. Then I kept using that mixture as the initial liquid for kneading the flour (in batches) and added water as needed.

    So, it made it simpler then?
    Wow, you’ve already done pun! I was waiting for my mother to return. She’s back and it will be all the three daughters and mum for pun after a very long time indeed – 15 years!

  11. Anita,
    I am SO glad to have found your website. today being ganesh chaturthi, i am planning to make some roth and laddde. not a big roth expert, the ones i made last year on diwali had turned out a bit hard. I am going to try out your recipe and see how they come out.
    I miss my mom’s roth back india…they used to be the BEST…soft and thick…mine just don’t go that way!
    But i am just glad to have found your website, i will go through all the pages over the weekend and start trying the kashmiri recipes πŸ™‚
    Do you have a page on kahva chai? i have the tea leaves but haven’t made it ever!!.

    Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    Hi, Sonali. Yes, you’ll find kahva here!
    Do let me know how the recipes pan out.

  12. Hi ,

    This brought back memories of mom, of me helping mom with making Roth and the exotic flavor.

    Waiting for mom’s parcel to reach me πŸ™‚

    Don’t forget to make some kahva!

  13. Silly me, in all the excitement y’day, i forgot to wish you for Pun!

    A very happy Vinayak Chaturthi to you and your family πŸ™‚
    Please enjoy some roth on my behalf as well πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Musy. Hope you had a good one too.

  14. Hi Anita,

    Great post! I thought Ganesh Chaturthi celebration was limited to only few states in India. Feels nice to know that even kashmiris celebrate! πŸ™‚

    Roth sounds delicious! will surely try out your version of Roth!


  15. Hi Anita

    I’ve just found your page, and was so relieved to find a recipe for Roth. I am a South African and my mom always makes the most delicious roth for Sathnarayan Puja and other auspicious days. Your recipe is almost the same as my moms, only difference is that she adds a banana to her recipe.She normally fries them up in loads of ghee.
    Thank you for your version, I shall be trying it out during Navarathri Puja this year.


  16. Hi Anita,

    Your Roth looks very tempting. Interesting, I’m from Tamil Nadu, have some Andhra blood in me, not sure which side it originated, but my mom does something similar called yelladai for Sri Jeyanthi. Same recipe with wheat flour, sugar or brown sugar, and ghee, mix, flatten and fry, my kids love it. Thanks for reminding me, great post.


  17. Oh I absolutely LOVE Roth. My aunt makes them so good (khasta roth) πŸ˜€ . Last time I went to India I asked her to specially make some for me so I could bring them back with me to US. Ooh now that I have your recipe I will have to try it some time. Love the pictures, I’m already drooling πŸ˜€
    Thanks for posting πŸ™‚

  18. Anita Ji

    Right now I am in California and lot of my kashmiri friends here are keen to know the back ground of the Roth (Punn) and its story. As more than 50% people are going to perform this pooja on coming thursday the August 27, 2009 I request you to kindly let us ksnow if it is possible for you to pass on the Roth Story (Punn Katha) in Kashmiri. We shall be too happy to have it on time.



  19. I didn’t. Know roth was a kashmiri thing πŸ™‚ I am from Trinidad and our ancestors brought there culture and traditional from UP ! Lucknow, Bengal and Calcutta to be more specific! We make roth to offer as prasad to Lord Hanuman , as well as for prasad for Satnarayan katha. It’s the same exact recipe! I was just looking throught to see if it was different. Happy findings!

  20. thanks for the recipe, am south african and was frantically searching for ‘roth” recipe or as close to what my nani used to make (added a banana as well) a relief to find the rest of ingredients etc. will try the yogurt varietion too.


  21. Roth looks yummy. Just a quick Q…how much flour did you use for this recipe? This will be the first time I’ll be making it πŸ™‚

  22. how much wheat approx would be required for this amount of water/ghee?

    It was a long time ago, I honestly don’t recall approximately how much flour we used or how many roth we made!

  23. Amazing ! Treat to eyes . I am happy to see it on the net .

    May I know how long it can be stored at room temperature or in refrigerator?

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