Why Sesame (Til) is the Perfect Makar Sankranti Superfood?
As winter’s chill brushes against our cheeks and colourful kites dance in the clear sky, India comes alive with the spirit of Makar Sankranti, or the Kite Festival. Amidst greetings and kite-flying joy, a sweet tradition emerges—the enticing scent of til laddoos fills kitchens across the country.
Yet, these simple sesame seeds are more than festive indulgences. Within them lies a nutritional treasure, turning them into the ideal Makar Sankranti superfood.
Read More: Surprising Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Why is Makar Sakranti Celebrated?
Most Hindu festivals are inspired by nature and have a logic behind them. Makar Sankranti is no different. It is celebrated to mark the Sun’s “northward movement”- Uttarayan.
The interesting thing is that while other Hindu festival dates can change from one year to another, Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the same two days each year (Jan 14 and 15). From Jan 15 onwards, days start getting longer and hotter- a welcome remedy from the chilly winter.
It is also the time when the winter harvest is complete- and farmers sell their yields in the market. The festival is also a reminder of the gifts of Mother Earth. And so people around India celebrate the day as the harvest festival! During this time, people meet friends and family members, gather together, and say thanks to Mother Nature through special rituals and feasts.
One Festival, But many names and ways to celebrate!
True to India’s “Unity in Diversity” DNA, Makar Sankranti is a festival that brings together different names and celebrations, reflecting the colourful diversity of our country
- Uttarayana in Gujarat (India’s biggest Kite Festival)
- Lohri in Punjab (celebrated with bonfires and folk dances)
- Maghi in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh (celebrated with treats and prayers)
- Magh Bihu in Assam with feasts, music, and traditional games.
- Pongal in Tamil Nadu, is a four-day festival with yummy rice dishes.
- Makara Chaula in Odisha with prayers and delicious sweets.
- Suggi Habba in Karnataka with prayers and special meals.
Sesame Seeds: Little Gems of Goodness
During Makar Sankranti in India, these little wonders, or til, take the spotlight, bringing sweetness and hopes for a prosperous year. Beyond tradition, sesame seeds are like nutritional superheroes. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – they’re like a health boost, fitting perfectly with the healing vibe of Makar Sankranti
Til Laddoos: Sweet, Simple, Super Healthy
Munching on til ladoos for Makar Sankranti is like having a tasty and good-for-you treat. They’re not too sugary or fatty. Just mix roasted sesame seeds, jaggery, and a bit of ghee, and you’ve got this natural, delicious combo. Jaggery adds sweetness and iron, while ghee brings in some richness. It’s the best guilt-free snack for the festival!
Beyond the Laddoos: Savoury yet Healthy Sesame(Til) Seed Recipes
While til ladoos may reign supreme as the sweet treat of Makar Sankranti, sesame seeds can also be the star ingredient in delicious and healthy savoury dishes. From dips and chutneys to curries and salads, let’s explore creative ways to celebrate the versatility of til beyond the sweet sphere.
1. Til Peanut Chutney
Flavour-packed chutney is perfect with chapatis, dosas, or veggies. Roast sesame seeds and peanuts, and blend with cilantro, ginger, green chillies, and lemon juice.
2. Sesame Paneer Bhurji
A tasty twist on classic bhurji! Cook crumbled paneer with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Toss in toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy with rotis or naan.
3. Sesame Lentil Salad
Light lunch idea – Benefits of Sprouts, lentils with crunchy salad, fresh veggies, and sesame seeds. Mix with lemon-tahini dressing. Easy, nutritious, and delicious!
4. Til Dahi Vada
Dahi vadas with a nutty upgrade! Coated in roasted sesame seeds, and dunked in creamy yogurt gravy. Perfect appetizer or snack.
5. Til and Coconut Rice
Fragrant rice infused with toasted sesame seeds and sweet coconut. It is a simple, flavorful side dish, great with curries or dal.
6. Til Stuffed Parathas
Flaky parathas filled with toasted sesame seeds, spices, and herbs. Satisfying and portable Makar Sankranti treat.
7. Til and Spinach Curry
Creamy curry blending spinach with nutty sesame seed paste. Coconut milk adds sweetness and richness. A perfect winter warmer for the festive seasons.
So, this Makar Sankranti, explore the savoury side of sesame seeds. Fly some kites and celebrate the day with dishes that are healthy, hearty, and packed with flavour.
Read More: 10 Health Benefits of Spinach
Recipes for Everyday Smiles
And who says Sesame Seeds are only for Makar Sankranti? They are an all-season delight. You can sprinkle them on your morning toasts, blend them into your workout smoothies, or even bake them into muffins and cookies. Sesame seeds can be your year-round ticket to tasty and healthy bites.
A Flavorful Recap: Celebrate with Health on Your Plate
As we relish the sweetness of til ladoos, remember Makar Sankranti is about fresh starts and hope. Let your plate mirror that spirit, filled with health from sesame seeds. Choose til ladoos for a conscious, delicious treat that nourishes.
Team Kayawell Wishes You a Happy Makar Sankranti
May your celebration be as bright as the sun’s ascent, and may your plate shine with the superfood goodness of til! Happy Makar Sankranti!
Q1. What are popular activities during Makar Sankranti?
Kite flying is popular, especially in Gujarat, which hosts the biggest kite festival. Other activities include bonfires, dances, fairs, and family gatherings.
Q2. Black Vs. White Sesame Seeds- Which is better?
Both have similar nutrition, but black sesame seeds have slightly higher antioxidants. The choice depends on personal preference and availability.
Q3. Can I add other ingredients to til laddoos?
Absolutely! Customize with nuts, dried fruits, or spices like cardamom or cinnamon. Sugar-free alternatives like dates or honey can also be explored.
Q4. Do I have to use ghee for Til recipes?
No, not necessarily. Depending on your preferences, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.
Q5. How to wash, dry, and store sesame seeds?
First, you must rinse the seeds under cold water. Once you are done, pat dry, and air-dry them before storing them in a sealed container.