The story behind this festival is interesting. Once, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma started fighting each other to prove themselves who is big and they forget to do their job. At that time, Lord Shiva appeared in front of them as huge pillar of fire and asked them to find out his head and leg. Brahma took a form of Swan(Annam, a bird) and flew upwards to find of the head of Shiva. Lord Vishnu took a form of boar (Varaham, a giant pig) and started digging the ground to find out his leg. But both of them were not able to find head / leg. They realized their mistake and understood it was Lord Shiva who taught them a lesson.
From then, Lord Shiva is prayed as Agni Linga at a place know as Thiruvannamalai about 190 kms from Chennai. Every year, it is believed that during Karthigai, Lord Shiva appeared as 'Jothi' (Holy Fire called as Agni Shetram) in this place on top of a hill . As a symbolic worship, people of Tamilnadu started to light Deepams (Diyas, candles and other oil lamps) to decorate their houses. They also offer Appam, Aval, Pori to Lord Shiva and celebrate the day with joy & love. Some people even light Deepams during the entire month of Karthigai.
Ok, now I'll come to the recipe part. This time my celebration is simple and I haven't prepared anything special for this Karthigai due to my hectic work schedule. However, I have planned to post a sweet dish which I prepared for Diwali . Hope you all enjoy this Karthigai festival.
Preparation and Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 15 nos (Approximately)
Cashew nuts / Kaju / Mundhiri Paruppu - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup, adjust as per your taste
Water - 1/4 cup
Ghee - as required to grease the plate (Optional)
1) Put Cashew nuts in a mixer/coffee maker and make a fine powder of it. Do it in a single stretch to avoid the cashews sticking with mixie jar. Also, take care not to grind too much as it releases oil most of the time while over grinding.
2) Transfer to a plate.
4) When it reaches the bubbling consistency (Just put a drop of sugar syrup in small bowl of water. It will not
immediately dissolve), reduce the flame and QUICKLY add the ground cashew powder.
7) Leave aside for 5-10 minutes and cut them into desired shapes.
1) Use good quality cashews for best results and use only thick bottom pan/kadai to avoid burning.
2) The consistency of sugar syrup is very important. So, be extra cautious when the sugar syrup starts bubbling. Add cashew powder at the correct time to get the perfect kaju katli.
3) If you get the silver wrap, you can coat the kaju katli with it. However, this is only for decorating purpose.
4) If the kaju dough is dry, you can add a teaspoon of milk/hot water when you knead the dough. Repeat this procedure until you get the correct consistency.
5) Greasing the plate with ghee is optional. The cashew dough itself doesn't stick with your fingers and you can easily roll it without the help of ghee.