Gurupurab – kada prashad and kirtans


By Shilpi Mahajan

It is  Gurupurab this week. It marks the birth anniversary of the first Sikh guru – Guru Nanak. My sweetest memories of Gurupurab go back to my days in India.

The celebrations for Gurupurab would begin weeks prior to the festival as the sweet melodies of the prabhat pheris (morning procession) filled the air at dawn. The devotees went around the locality singing hymns and collecting offerings. Misty-eyed, I would always wake up to the sound of the music and soak myself into the timelessness of those verses. The beauty of the music and the indefatigable spirit of the first ray breaking through the sky were a potent combination to anchor me to an unknown peace. Years later the memory still stirs me and walks me to that place and time in space.

The prabhat pheris culminate on the day of Gurupurab. Devotees throng gurdwaras, sing kirtans and arrange langars (free food stalls). Much like all Indian festivals, the festival is incomplete without sweets. But one melt in the mouth sweet that sets the festival apart from the rest is the kada prashad (Its as if soul nirvana is incomplete without the palette nirvana,

The best kada prashads are available in the gurudwaras and this recipe is from my cousin in Amritsar who got the inside scoop from an Uncle at the gurudwara. I have been using it for years and it tastes amazing. A must for the cold winter day of Gurupurab this is a quick 15-minute recipe:

1-cup whole-wheat flour
1-cup sugar
4 cups water
1 cups desi ghee or 2 cubes of unsalted butter


Take a thick-bottomed pan and add some desi ghee/unsalted butter. When it melts add wheat flour and stir continuously so that it does not stick to
the bottom of pan or get burnt. Add more ghee if required. Simultaneously mix sugar and water in a separate pan and bring it to a boil. Stir the wheat flour and butter till it is brown in color and you get the fragrance of roasted wheat flour. Now add the boiled water and sugar mix (water should be hot) and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed. Keep stirring till the water is absorbed completely and your spatula does not
stick to the mix.

Garnish with almonds. Serve hot.

More About Shilpi Mahajan

Shilpi is the founder of culture curry India, a company focused on travel to India through a cultural lens. An MBA from JBIMS, Shilpi took a sabbatical from her corporate life after her daughter Sehar was born. Together with her daughter, they traveled around North India and discovered her love for travel, photography, writing and found out how beautiful the country was, inside out.

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  1. Amanjeet

    fyi: kada tastes really good between two pieces of toasted white (Wonder) bread – kada sandwich, I kid you not, from my childhood days in Toronto with love
    (ps – my dad makes the best kada 🙂

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