Today is Makara Sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India, though known by different names. Astrologically, this festival marks the beginning of northward journey of Sun to tropic of Cancer and entering into zodiac sign Capricorn (Makara). In hindu tradition this marks the beginning of auspicious time for religious ceremonies. Astronomically, the hindu calendar marks this day as the day when the length of the day equals length of the night and days start getting longer and the nights shorter. This was also the time when historically the early monsoon would hit parts of India marking the beginning of harvest season.

Every culture has a harvest festival, to celebrate nature, to celebrate food. Makara Sankranti is one such occasion, celebrated by making dishes using grains, pulses, seeds and more to welcome harvest season. In southern India Sesame seed has a special place in Sankranti festival tradition. In many regions, a mixture made of jaggery, dried coconut cubes, sesame seeds and split peanuts are exchanged as a ritual on Sankranti. There are several other types of food preparations from sesame seeds in different regions of India. This tradition perhaps has to do with the fact that Sankranti falls in the winter and people often tuned their food needs according to the season by consuming body warming foods. Sesame seeds, with its high oil content is known to be a warming food in Ayurveda and mixed with other ingredients it also makes for a delicious treat. As is the case in most traditions, a human need has gotten these tiny little seeds a permanent place in the history and heritage of that region.
MangoPickle reader Sarika Pramod, presents one such delicious Sesame seed treat that also has cultural significance as a festival food in northern Karnataka. Try it out and enjoy!
Ellu Holige [Sesame Sweet Bread]
Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Festival Food
Cuisine: Authentic North Karnataka Food
Serves: 3

  • Sesame Seeds (white) – ¾ cup
  • Peanuts – ¼ cup
  • Cardomom Powder for fragrance – ¼ teaspoon
  • Jaggery – 1 cup
  • Coconut – 2 teaspoons
  • Whole Wheat flour ¼ cup
  • All purpose flour ¾ cup
  • Salt a pinch
  • Ghee (Clarified butter) 3 table spoons
  • Oil 2 table spoons

  1. Sieve all purpose flour and wheat flour
  2. Mix all purpose flour , wheat flour and salt with water and oil and make a nice dough
  3. Let it settle down for sometime
  4. Now roast sesame seeds in a pan till it splutters
  5. Roast peanuts in the same way and remove the skin
  6. Powder everything in a blender and get the wonderful mixture
  7. Divide the dough into small portions (small balls), flatten it a bit
  8. Place some stuffing into small balls and make flat rotis and smear some Ghee on it
  9. Ellu Holige is ready to be savored!

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