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Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Each year, from September 15 to October 15 Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. 2021 was especially significant because it was the 200th anniversary of Costa Rican Independence from Spain. Here are a few traditional & unique Latin American recipes you may want to add to your menu: 

Varalakshmi Vratham Recipes & Suggested Menu

This year Varalakshmi Vratham is celebrated on Friday, 25th August 2023.

Varalakshmi Vratham is an important puja performed on the Friday in August before the Full Moon, by married women in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu. The puja is dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi, the mother goddess that gives blessings, and grants wealth in its various forms. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshiping her eight forms known as Ashtalakshmi; they are Adilakshmi - Great Lakshmi, Dhanalakshmi - Wealth, Dhanyalakshmi - Grain, Gajalakshmi - Livestock, Santanalakshmi - Progeny, Veeralakshmi - Courage, Vidyalakshmi - Knowledge, and Vijayalakshmi - Victory.

Each family's puja rites and customs are past down from Mother-in-Law to Daughter-in-Law with the hope for continued prosperity and health for the family. Amma taught me their traditions on her first visit to the US. On this day, a variety of foods are offered as naivedhyam to please the Goddess so tasting during preparation or eating the food before offering it to God is strictly forbidden. The food is first placed before God and prayers are offered. After the rituals, the food is considered blessed and sanctified by God (prasad), and can then be consumed.

It is good to follow your families particular customs but traditionally 5, 7, or 9 dishes are prepared without the use of  ginger, garlic, onion or chili. In our case we prepare 5 dishes, a mix of sweet and savory, without ginger, garlic, or onion. 

Here is a recipe list and some suggested easy menus, some of these recipes include chili, garlic, ginger, and onion, omit them or replace with asafetida (Hing) for garlic and onion, and black pepper for green chili.

Appetizers & Snacks

Here are some suggested Menu's using the Recipes mentioned above.
5 Dish Menu

7 Dish Menu

9 Dish Menu

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