Today Hindu families will be celebrating Raksha Bandhan, the festival of love, care and protection between brothers and sisters. On this auspicious day, sisters tie the rakhi/sacred thread around the wrist of their brothers and pray for their happiness and well being while brothers in return promise to safeguard them from sorrows and dangers alike.

A number of legends are linked to the festival all of which depict the affection between siblings in Indian mythology. There is a beautiful story in the Mahabharata scriptures about Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, and Lord Krishna. The original rakhi is believed to have been a strip of saree that Draupadi tore off her own to bandage Krishna‘s bleeding finger. From there, Krishna vowed to be her protector at all times and fulfilled his brotherly duty by protecting her chastity by extending her saree’s length indefinitely so that it could not be removed by her molesters.

It is also traditional to exchange gifts and homemade sweets on Raksha Bandhan. This year I made my all-time favourite Indian mithai, the safarjan – a small apple shaped barfi with a hint of cardamom. The recipe is adapted from one I clipped from a newspaper years back; the source is from one of the cooks from Bombay Sweets, the famous mithai shop in Port Louis. I must say that it did produce a pretty accurate imitation of the shop’s best selling barfi. To all my brothers and cousins out there, wish you a Happy Raksha Bandhan!

SAFARJAN

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups paneer

1/2 cup milk powder

1 cup liquid milk

2 tbs unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Yellow food colouring

Red food colouring

Green food colouring

2 tbs slivered almonds

Method:

  • In a non-stick pan, melt butter over low heat, then add milk and a pinch of yellow food colouring.

  • Bring to the boil then add milk powder. Add paneer and mix well until everything comes together.

  • Allow the mixture to cook over medium heat. Stir continuously so that it does not stick to the bottom.

  • Simmer until the mixture thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan after 10 to 12 mins.

  • When it attains the texture of soft dough, remove from flame. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

  • With the mixture is still slightly warm, add sugar and cardamom powder.

  • Knead the mixture well until it forms a smooth dough. Make small balls out of it.

  • Garnish with red food colouring and almond slivers tinted with green food colouring. Makes 15 pieces.

Best Wishes to all Brothers & Sisters!

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