On the day Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with much fervour in Maharashtra and the southern states, is another little-known Kashmiri festival called Pann. Celebrated by Kashmiri pandits, the festival is associated with the spinning of newly produced cotton and worshipping goddess Beeb Garaz maej (maej is mother in Kashmiri). Beeb Garaz maej is also considered the local agricultural goddess and is symbolized by a pot. It’s a day of bounty and to mark this, Roth (a Kashmiri sweet bread) is prepared by families, and offered to Beeb Garaz maej. Running Safapore has meant reconnecting with my heritage and here I share the delicious details of Pann with great excitement.
Also read: All you need to know about Ganesh Chaturthi
It is said that our ancestors wanted the girls of the family to be independent and encouraged their daughters to make thread or “Pann” from a cotton ball and sell it in the market. Her first earning is considered to bring prosperity and spent on getting the material for making Roth, and offered to the goddess. The pot is symbolic of a bountiful harvest as the celebrations involve offering rice, durva, and flowers to maej’s pot. There is a katha or re-telling of a story of Beeb Garaz maej that is read out for everyone.
The story involves a daughter’s role in reinstating a flourishing kingdom which was captured by adversaries after her father, the king, disrespects Beeb Garaz maej. The princess and her mother the queen, escape and survive by doing household chores. When the princess grows up, she watches the puja being offered to Beeb Garaz maej, and gathers wheat from a stable, and sugar and ghee to make Roth for the goddess. The goddess, pleased by her devotion, restores the kingdom. When the family unites to partake the prasad, they are thrilled to see that the Roths offered by the daughter, have turned to gold.
Also read: How to make ghee at home
The highlight of Pann is clearly Roth. Here’s a recipe you can follow:
How to make Kashmiri Roth
Roth is made by kneading flour with ghee, sugar, water and cardamom. Add about 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of wheat flour, and 6 to 8 tablespoons of ghee to it. Make sure the dough is tough and not too soft. Add the elaichi powder. You can also add chopped nuts to it. Now roll it like a thick poori and make patterns on it with a katori or small utensil with sharp edges, usually intersecting circular patterns are made. Roth is traditionally fried in desi ghee. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of it as soon as you take them out. Roth is usually distributed among family and friends, so make a big batch. Makes a great breakfast or snack with Kashmiri Kahva!
Safapore is a Delhi-based catering service that specializes in traditional Kashmiri cuisine .
Image: Anchal Pandita
Lead image conceptualised by Vartika Pahuja