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Understanding the significance and nutritious nature of Gopalkala

Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
24 July 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Every year, around the months of August/September, India celebrates Janmashtami, also known as Gokulashtami, celebrating the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is a day of jubilation, of dances, dramas, dahi handis and sumptuous Janmashtami special foods. One of the dishes that features in this traditional spread, and bears great mythological significance, bringing out the importance of Krishna Janmashtami, is Gopalkala.

Gopalkala – A dish, traditionally nutritious!

Eat BreakfastOut of the traditional dishes prepared as offerings to Krishna, most of them are on the sweeter side and dairy-based. After all, Krishna and his love for maakhan (churned butter) is well known. The Gopalkala dish falls on the savoury side. According to the Puranas, after grazing cattle with his cowherd friends, Krishna would sit down with all of them for lunch and together, mix all the food together and distribute it amongst them, thus, making a ‘kala’, a mixture. And ‘Gopal’ is simply another name for Krishna.

With poha (flattened rice), curds and coconut as its key ingredients, this Prasad dish also is quite nutritious in nature.

  • Poha provides the body with carbohydrates, thus, releasing energy.
  • Poha is also a good source of iron.
  • Dahi, with its high fibre, vitamin and riboflavin content, contribute to a good digestive system and gut health. It is also a great source of probiotic which helps with digestion and maintaining a healthy gut
  • Also, high in protein and a good source of calcium
  • The spices lead to good heart health and keep the blood pressure levels under control.
  • Coconut, high on manganese and iron, is essential for brain health and red blood cell formation

An Easy Way to Make Gopalkala

To make this special Gopalkala recipe, first soak the thick poha in water for a few minutes, to make it slightly puffy. Make sure your Gopalkala is nutritious by using Tata Sampann Poha which has high dietary fibre. For the seasoning, you add ghee in a pan on medium heat, with some mustard seeds, allowing it to crackle. Then come the small ginger bits, green chillies, and cumin seeds which should be fried, after which the heat should be turned off. Now, add this seasoning to the water-drained poha, along with curd, chopped cucumber, grated coconut and salt to taste. And finally, as garnish, you could add some coriander leaves, and serve this savoury dish as Prasad, thus, bringing out the significance of Janmashtami.


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