Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Durga Utsab and Feasting..... Vegetarian Platter

Durga Utsab and Feasting..... Vegetarian Platter 

Durga Puja (Worship of Goddess Durga ) also called Durgotsab. It is a popular festival of Bengal. It is celebrated in the eastern region of India and now celebrated world wide. The main days of Durga puja according to the traditional Hindu Calander are Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Bijoya Dashami which is within the 9 nights and 10 days of Navaratri.The word Navaratri means nine nights in Sanskrit, Nava meaning nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The 10th day is Vijayadashami or Dussehra. This fortnight is called Devi Pokkho (Fortnight of the Goddess). The fortnight ends on Kojagori Laxmi Puja “Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagori Full Moon Night.
           Apart from the magnificent Puja Pandal set up, the sound of the Dhak (sound of the drums played during the Arati) and Dhunachi Nach (one of the form of Arti, dancing with the incense burner) and dressing, feasting is an important part... After the Debi Puja is the Pet Puja... Mornings people go to the Pandals to give Pushpanjali (Flower offering to the Goddess) on an empty stomach.Thereafter begins the feasting of the day. The food stalls in the pandals are open from morning selling, Vegetable Chop, Muchar Chop, Luchi and Dal Puri with Aloor Tarkari, and some of the sweet dishes like Rasgullas, Kalojam, Mihidanar Laddu, Pantua, Rajbhog etc. Afternoons lunch is usually the Bhog Prasad (Food offering to the Goddess and distributed amongst the people). It consist of Khichudi, Labra, Begun Bhaja, Chutney, Payesh and a Sweet dish. Nights are the visits to different Pandals and celebrating with friends and family. Enjoying the Pandals, Adda (is a form of intellectual exchange among members, who were originally of the same socio-economic strata)and Food. Mughlai Paratha, Chop, Ghugni, Jhal Muri, Phuchka, Luchi Aloor dum, Ilish Mach Bhat, Mutton Biriyani and off course no celebration ends with out sweets. The last day of the festival Vijaya Dashami is celebrated with Shindur Khala (For Bengali women, this last ritual — Sindoor Khela or Sindoor Utsav — holds much significance. The sindoor is a symbol of married life.It is first apply on the idol of Goddess Durga and then on other women while wishing them a happy married life and good luck. The origins believe that the goddess is heading for her in-laws’house. So,a royal treatment is given to Her.)There after immersion takes place and the Vijaya Dashami is concluded with KolaKoli. Greeting and respect to elders and love to young ones in the family and feasting on good food. Mutton Curry and Rice or Palau is made on that day with varieties of Sweets.
I have made some of the pure vegetarian dishes with out onions and garlic for the Durga Puja celebration at home. This dishes are different from the traditional dish prepared during the festival.
From left to Right...
Saag Bhaja usually spinach leaves are stirred fried with salt and turmeric powder. I have fried Dill leaves.
Muger Dal Bata
Kasundi diye Pholkopir Roast
Gandharaj Lebu ar Dhonepata diye Chana
Curd
Kacha Kolar Bora (Raw Banana Kofta)
Pineapple and Khejurgurer (Date Jaggary) Baked Sandesh

Muger Dal Bata (Mung Dal Paste)
For the Paste
1/4 Cup Coconut grated
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tbsp Poppy seeds
1 Or 2 Green Chiilies
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Mustard Oil
Method
Blend all the above ingredients into a thick paste. Keep it aside for 15 minutes.
For the Muger Dal
Ingredients
1 Cup Moong Dal
Paste
1 Or 2 Chilli Chopped
Salt to taste
Few Coriander leaves Chopped
1/4 tsp Mustard Oil
Method
Soak the dal for 15 minutes. Remove the water from the dal.  Grind the dal into a coarse  paste, while grinding avoid adding water. Take a Malmal cloth, add the dal paste on the Malmal cloth, tie the cloth tightly, steam the dal till cooked. Once cooled, take the dal out of the cloth in a mixing bowl, add the chopped chillies, paste, salt to taste, mustard oil and few chopped coriander leaves. Mix it well. For garnishing add few drops of Mustard oil and chopped coriander leaves.

Kasundi diye Pholkopir Roast (Cauliflower roasted in Kasundi)
For the Kasundi
Ingredients
Ingredients
1 small Raw Green Mango pieces
3 Green chillies
3 Garlic cloves (optional)
1tbsp Black Mustard seeds
1tbsp Yellow Mustard seeds
Rock Salt to taste
Pinch of Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp of Mustard Oil
Method
Blend all the ingredients in a blender except for the mustard oil into a paste. Add little water to get a thick paste and blend it again. Now add mustard oil little at a time while blending. Store it into a glass bottle in the fridge. Let it stand for a day.
For the Cauliflower Roast
Ingredients
1 big Cauliflower cut into medium size florets
1 big Tomato cut into pieces
2 Capsicum cut into medium pieces
1/4 tsp Ginger paste
1/4 tsp Chilli paste
2 tbsp Curd
2 to 3 tbsp Kasundi
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Cumin seed powder
1 tbsp Mustard Oil
Few Coriander Leaves chopped
Method
Boil the Cauliflower florets and in 2 cups of water, adding salt to the water for 5 minutes. Drain the water out. In a mixing bowl add the ginger paste, chilli paste, curd, salt to taste, oil, turmeric powder and cumin seed powder and mix it. Add the cauliflower florets, capsicum and tomato pieces in the paste, mix it well and add the vegetables a glass baking tray, roast the vegetables for 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius in a pre heated oven. In between at a interval of 15 minutes, take the baking tray out of the oven and stir the vegetables. After the vegetables are cooked, take it out of the oven and garnish it with coriander leaves.

Gandharaj Lebu ar Dhonepata diye Chana (Cottage Cheese with Gandharaj lemon and Coriander leaves )
For the Paste
Ingredients
1/2 tsp Mustard Oil
1 Cup Coriander Leaves
1 or 2 Green Chillies
1 small piece of Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Dates Or 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tspTurmeric powder
1 Gandharaj Lemon Juice
Method
Before taking out the Juice of the Gandharaj lemon, remove the zest of the lemon. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender into a paste.
For the Cottage Cheese preparation
Ingredients
500 grams Cottage Cheese cut into pieces
1 Tomato cut into strip
2 Green Or Red Chilli slit
Coriander paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Mustard Oil
For Garnishing
Few Coriander leaves chopped
Zest of Gandharaj  Lemon
Method
Take a wok, add oil. Let it heat. Add the tomatoes and the chillies. Sauté it for 2 minutes. Add the paste, stir and simmer for 2 minutes, add the Cottage cheese cubes and the salt, stir and cook for another 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup water and salt. Stir, cover and let it simmer till the gravy has incorporated well with the Cottage Cheese. Before serving, garnish with coriander leaves, lemon zest and few drops of Mustard Oil.

Pineapple and Khejurgurer (Date Jaggary) Baked Sandesh
Ingredients
1 cup Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup grated Khajurgur ( Date Jaggary)
2 tbsp Pineapple paste or chopped finely
Method
Take a mixing bowl, mix the cottage cheese and the Jaggary well. Take a pan, add the cottage cheese mix with the Jaggary. On low flame cook the mixture well, add the pineapple paste, mix it well. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes till the ingredients has incoperated well. Take a small lose base tart tins.  Add the Sandesh mixture in the tins. Bake the Sandesh at 180 degrees for 25 minutes in a preheated oven till the top has  browned.