In every small town or big city, regardless of demographics, one will find ‘mandalas‘ (local organizations) announce “Dahi Handi“events where enthusiastic young boys and girls form intricate pyramids to reach the pot of food suspended above.
Kavya Gokhale points out that if dahi handi literally translates to a pot filled with curd, this description is not entirely accurate, as the pot actually contains a specially prepared festive dish called “Gopalkala”.
Gopalkala and Dahi Handi:
On this day, people from all walks of life and from all communities will not hesitate to plan their participation in the feast food – Gopalkala. This may vary now in the age of contract catering and app culture – but ideally Gopalkala is meant to be prepared potluck style, with members of a neighborhood or community each bringing one or two ingredients of the dish, which are all mixed together in the end.
Lord Krishna was a great proponent of unity in diversity, of all sections of society working together to form a cohesive whole. Do you remember his relationship with his fellow student at the time Gurukul – Sudama the poor Brahmin?
Poha or flattened rice is the key ingredient in Gopalkala, along with Dahi or curd. Potluck style, all attendees will bring some or most of the items from home – which will then be mixed together to make a holistic dish. A symbol of unity, ONLY the curd is a common ingredient – the rest of the ingredients in the dish vary widely, to signify the importance of equality and unity in society. Everything is whipped together and served to all.
For example, here is an example
Step 1: Soak the poha
- Soak selected amount of pooh or beaten rice in water for about 1-2 minutes. Do not take the ultra-thin pooh. Use the variety that needs about 2 minutes to soften. Some thicker varieties may take around 5 minutes to soften.
- Rice once threshed/pooh softens, Put the mixture in a large colander or chhallnidrain all the water and keep it aside until all the water is drained out.
2nd step –Seasoning for the Gopalkala:
- Put a kadhai or wok-type pot/pan over the gas stove flame.
- Heat ghee in skillet over medium heat; add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
- Add jeera or cumin seeds, green chillies, peeled and grated pieces of ginger and sauté for a minute and turn off the heat.
Step 3 – Final step of preparing Gopalkala:
- Take Dahi/yogurt in a large saucepan. The amount of Dahi should be enough to soak in the drained water pooh and a few other ingredients and remain fluid but thick in texture – a bit like porridge.
- Add seasoning and beaten rice to this yogurt. Also add salt to taste.
- Then add the finely chopped cucumbers, grated coconut and salt to taste. You can add chopped fresh fruit, dried fruit, etc.
- Now gently incorporate all the ingredients and stir to combine the Gopalkala.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.