mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Roth, Pun, and Vinayak Chaturthi

In Kashmiri, Tea Party, Traditions and Customs on August 29, 2006 at 7:53 pm

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…

Roth

Roth

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🙂 . And I am thinking kids may enjoy even more if you let them have fun with cookie cutters and fry up some interesting shapes.

  1. Hi Anita,
    rOTH LOOKS YUMMY.
    we had a similar recipe called “ariselu” in south india.it can be done with either rice flour or wheatflour .THANKS FOR SHARING.
    Happy VINAYAKA CHAVITHI
    vineela

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

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

  3. This is new to me. Have never tried this. Thanks for sharing

  4. Hi Anita,
    Your posts are a wonderful read always and addictive too😀 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.  Always a pleasure.  Interesting..similar recipe in South…swapping regions in previous births seems to have been more prevalent that we thought!🙂

  5. […] Food blogs on India cuisine appear to be proliferating. When I checked this time last year there were a handful, but now there are so many all over the map that it is hard to keep track of them. Browsing through cooking blogs is a delightful experience and you never know what you will end up learning about food history, or dishes that are long forgotten. This is espcially true of Indian food blog when there is a festival to celebrate like Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh, Ganesha Ganapathi, Vinayak, Vinayaka, or Vinayagar (the word avatar did originate in India you know) is the elephant-headed god who brings you good luck. But, first lets us look at a modern Ganesha, or a modern avatar of the god that is complete with headphones and computer mouse from Puja’s blog post. We switch gears and pop over to neighboring Malaysia, where The Vadai Has Landed has a wonderful post about how Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayagar Chathruthi. The visuals describe how the festival is celebrated in Malaysia that has a sizebale Indian community. A Mad Tea Party has a really nice post on celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with traditional Kashmiri offering to the god. She also has a bunch of other interesting recipe. Go check it out.  […]

  6. 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.

    vitahavya

  7. This is new to me.will try it very soon.Thanks for sharing.

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

    Thanks for stopping by, Romesh!

  9. 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!

    Love,
    Anu

    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…

  10. 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😀 Kaal Nirnaya.

  11. 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)

    Regards
    Sunil

    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.

  12. 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.

    Cheers!
    Anu

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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🙂
    Do you have a page on kahva chai? i have the tea leaves but haven’t made it ever!!.

    Thank you for sharing🙂
    Sonali

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

  15. 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🙂

    Don’t forget to make some kahva!

  16. 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🙂
    Please enjoy some roth on my behalf as well🙂

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

  17. Anita, that was me: musical😀

  18. […] To this party my aunt (the groom’s mother) brought the roth and dry fruits her new daughter-in-law had brought to share with all of us. This is roth khabar where specially baked roth, studded with dry fruits, sent by the bride’s family is distributed to family, friends, and neighbours, to announce the coming home of the bride. I got a gigantic half of a roth that we had with kahva on a couple of mornings! You can find my mom and sister’s recipe for this type of roth in the comments section of this post. […]

  19. 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!🙂

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

    -Ashu

  20. 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.

    -Rekka

  21. Hi
    Could you also give us the correct version of the story that is narratted during the Pun pooja.

    Regards

    Arun

  22. […] paced than ever for me.  Work, work related travel, sister’s visit, Ganesh Chaturthi and the Pun Pooza, and the continuing house renovation, all came to a head. As if I didn’t have enough on my […]

  23. 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.

    Sudha

  24. Oh I absolutely LOVE Roth. My aunt makes them so good (khasta roth)😀 . 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😀
    Thanks for posting🙂

  25. 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.

    Regards

    C.L.Zadoo

  26. I didn’t. Know roth was a kashmiri thing🙂 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!

  27. 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.

    rexy

  28. 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🙂

  29. 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!

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