Halwa, Chana & Puri


Last weekend was the end of one of many festivals – Navratri which means nine (nav) nights (ratri). This festival goes on for nine days, each day has it’s own significance. Goddess Durga is primarily worshipped during this festival. Different regions of India celebrate this festival differently. In the northern parts, Navratri is celebrated by keeping Jagraata – where in holy songs are sung all night long. Many fast during this time (where typically any food that involves grains is not eaten). In the western parts, people celebrate it by playing Garba or Dandiya Raas which involves people forming circles around the idol of Goddess Durga and dancing on melodious songs by clapping their hands or using sticks in a rhythm.

In my house, my Mom used to fast until the 8th day (Asthmi). On Asthmi, we would cook Halwa, Puri and Kale Chane. She used to wake up in the morning, prepare this meal, and call 9 girls (young girls aging between 5 – 12 yrs), clean their feet, give them some gifts and feed them this meal. These girls are supposed to represent the 9 avatar’s of Goddess Durga.

I had also cooked this meal and thought of making it as my blog for the week –

Sooji Halwa

Ingredients:

1 cup Sooji (Semolina)

2 cups water

1/2 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Ghee

3-4 cloves of cardamom crushed

5-6 Green Raisins

5-6 Cashews Chopped

5-6 Almonds (Peeled and Diced)

Fresh grated Coconut for garnishing

Method:

  1. In a pan add Ghee. Once it melts add Sooji. Also add crushed cardamom. Heat these on a medium flame.
  2. In other bowl, mix together Water and Sugar and bring it to boil.
  3. Once the Sooji’s color turn into golden brown, add the sugar and water syrup to it.
  4. Keep Mixing till most of the water is evaporated.
  5. The halwa is cooked. Add cashews, almonds, raisins. Garnish fresh grated coconut and serve.

Kale Chane

Ingredients:

1 cup Kale Chane (These are red colored chick peas. These need soaked in water for at least 6 hrs and then pressure cooked/boiled till they are cooked. Remember to add salt acc to taste when boiling)

1 tomato (puree)

2 tbsp oil

2 tsp grated ginger

2 tsp curry leaves

2 tsp Mustard Seeds

2 tsp Cumin Seeds

2 tsp Green Chillies (finely chopped)

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tbsp fresh grated coconut

Salt acc to taste

Method:

  1. Add 2 tbsp of oil in a wok.
  2. Once its hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once they start to splatter, add ginger, green chillies.
  3. Then add red chili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Cook it for a minute.
  4. Now add the tomato puree and salt to taste.
  5. Cook the tomatoes until you see the oil on the sides of the wok.
  6. Now add the red boiled/cooked chick peas. Cook these well till all the puree is dried.
  7. Add in the coconut and serve hot.

Puri

Ingredients:

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2 tbsp oil

1 tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds)

1/4 cup luke warm Milk

Luke Warm water to knead the dough

1 tbsp Salt

Oil for deep-frying

Method:

  1. Take some oil in a Wok or a similar vessel and set it aside to heat on a Med-Hi flame.
  2. In a big bowl, mix together all the ingredients except water. Add little water at a time to make a dough out of it. Remember to make the dough a little harder than a regular chapati dough. Cover it and leave it aside for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Make small portions of the dough. Make these depending on how big you want the puris to be.
  4. Flatten it a bit in your palm and roll up each portion into a ball. Flatten it out and grease it on both sides slightly with oil. Using a rolling-pin, start rolling it out. Always remember to roll it such that the sides are thinner than the centre. Roll it out enough such that it cooks well. Cover the rolled out puris with a thin cloth or a paper towel so that they don’t dry.
  5. You would need a slotted stainless steel spoon for frying the puris.Once the oil is all heated up, add one puri at a time to the heated oil. First the puri will sink to the bottom, and then rise up. Once it starts floating, press the puri downwards with the slotted spoon. You should see the puri puff up. Turn over the puri quickly. Once lightly brown on both the sides, remove the puri, and drain it on a paper towel.
  6. Repeat step 5 for all the puris you have rolled out.


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