The earliest use of cannabis dates back to the 2000 B.C and is referred to as “Bhang”- it is the edible form of cannabis and is an offering for the Gods during many Hindu festivals. Maha Shiv Ratri, the festival marking the beginning of spring by celebrating the “great night of Shiva” the good of transformation who is believed to have consumed this edible cannabis to focus towards his inner self to garner his divine powers. Cannabis has a long standing relationship with the history of Indian religion and culture…it’s been used in the rural areas for its medicinal properties to treat minor ailments, while the ancient text, the Vedas have referred to this plant as “a source of happiness”, “a joy giver” and a “liberator.” This Maha Shiv Ratri let’s get our lives filled with joy, happiness and some liberation with these Bhang laced recipes….
Bhang Lassi :
- Water : 2 cups
- Fresh cannabis leaves : 1/2 ounce
- Warm milk : 3 cups
- Garam masala : 1/4 tsp
- Ground ginger : 1/4 tsp
- Ground fennel : 1/4 tsp
- Ground anise : 1/2 tsp
- Ground cardamom : 1/2 tsp
- Rose water : 1/2 tsp
- Honey or sugar: 1/2 cup
- Rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds or pistachios to garnish
Heat the water, add the cannabis leaves/ flower. Keep it steeped for about 7-10 minutes. Strain the leaves and flowers through a Muslim cloth while squeezing all the liquid. Keep the liquid aside.
Grind the leaves and flowers in a mortar and pestle with the milk. This should be done with 1/2 tsp of milk at a time in slow process so that the entire milk is used and juice extracted from the leaves and flowers.
Add the chopped pistachios, almonds, rose petals, cardamom etc with the extra milk in the mortar and pestle and grind it to a paste.
Mix all the above together and add the garam masala, fennel, ginger, anise, cardamom, rose water, honey or sugar and the remaining milk. Mix well and serve it chilled.
Bhang Fritters :
- Methi (fenugreek) leaves
- Large potatoes: 2, peeled and chopped
- Water : 3/4 cup
- Garlic : 3-4 cloves, peeled and mashed
- Ajwain carom seeds): 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder :1 tsp
- Anardana powder: 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste.
- Oil for frying
Wash and chop the Bhang leaves and methi leaves. Make a thick non lumpy paste with the beans and water. Mix well with all the above above ingredients including the chopped Bhang and methi leaves.
Dry small dumplings in the hot oil till golden brown and crispy fried.
Serve hot with sauce.
Dry the leaves and flowers, fill it into your cigarettes, chillums or pipes and just inhale…
Har Har Mahadev, Jai Shiv Ratri!!!
P.S : J M Campbell, who led the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission in the year 1893-94 said, “ To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshiped ascetics, deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences… Bhang brings union with the Divine spirit. We drank bhang and the mystery of who I am grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin…”