JFS:Dassera – the Round Up.

Raaga at The Singing Chef made some sundal to go with the memories of celebrating Navratri in Madras (now Chennai). 9 types of sundals for 9 nights! Now that is some Naivedyam. Along with the good, the somewhat not good memories surface.

Raaga-Sundal

We’d also get invited to people’s houses and everyone used to have the standard, “Oru Paattu Paadu Maa” (Please sing a song!). I was a moody child just as I am a moody adult. And I never did like singing at other people’s golus. … but try and see the world through the eyes of a 14 year old who has been learning music from the age of 4, who is interested in good music and not necessarily in raagas and azhuttam and all the associated stuff and you’ll know what I mean.

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Rachna from Soul Food made Vrat Kadhi

Rachna-Vrat Kadhi

From my childhood days, I’ve spent these nine days fasting and feasting on yummy fasting food, hearing bhajans glorifying the mother goddess and waiting for my ‘kanjak’ on the 8th day. (In Punjab, on the 8th (ashtami) day, little gifts and a plate of halwa-poori, chole is given to little girls).

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Renuka from Fusion writes how Navratri Golu is celebrated in Tamilnadu. She lists the 10 Devis and their temples,too.

In Tamilnadu the tenth day is known as AYUDHA POOJA .On this day people worship books,instruments,machineries,vehicles….On VIJAYADASAMI it is considered auspicious to start anything new.Here we can find lot of children joining schools,music classes and dance classes

Her second entry brings recipes for 8 types of sundals. Now that is a celebration!

Sundals are made using Black channa,White channa,Channa dhal,Moong dhal,Green peas,White peas,Motchai,Horse gram,Greeng gram,Groundnuts/Peanuts,Red lobia (Karamani),White lobia.

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Siri at Siri’s Corner had a tri-color feast with Aloo Pulav, Palak Methi Paneer and Carrot Halwa. Check out the cream laced Palak Methi Paneer. Definitely my kind of girl! She also has a story.

But Rama needed 108 blue lotuses for the worship of the Divine Mother, while Rama had managed to procure only 107. He was on the verge of laying one of his eyes that was lotus-shaped and blue in color at the Goddess’s feet when Shakti, satisfied with the measure of his devotion, granted her blessings.

Siri-Collage

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Musical from Musical’s Kitchen explains the rules of fasting in Punjab and makes some smashing Khatte Wale Aloo.

People enjoy goodies made out of swaang (literal meaning, pretend) da chawal (samo), singhare da atta (water chestnut flour)-relished as rotis, choora and halva, kuttu de atte di roti (rotis made out of kuttu flour) etc. Salt is replaced by kala loon/kala namak/sendha namak (black salt). The sabzis, daals and kadhis are made sans and onion, garlic and even tomatoes! People enjoy the laddoos/pinnis made out of jaggery and red amaranth seeds (boor, seel, rajgira).

Musy-Khatte wale aloo

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Roopa at My chow Chow Bhath made some lip-smacking Bhoondi Ladoos. Now, if that doesn’t sound like festive season, I don’t know what would.

Roopa-Bhoondi Ladoo

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Radha has lovely photos of the golu, thambulam and the Carrot Halwa and Black Kondakadalai. She explains the golu as

The Golu arrangement is a sheer exercise of creativity which reminds us of the age old folk lore and puranas. In modern context it gives an opportunity for people to mingle with one another and relish the refreshments served. The guests invited are offered betal leaves (thambulam) which is mutually reciprocated during the visits of friends and relatives. On an auspicious note, exchange of thambulam spells harmony and good will for hindu families.

Radha-Thambulam

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Easy Crafts made some Jevarisi (Sabudana/Sago) Pudding. Check out her other posts for navratri, too.

Easy Crafts-Jevarisi Payasam

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Sunita from Sunita’s world has a wonderful post on her childhood bijoydashmi memories. When a post starts as I quote below, you know what follows has to be good.

..the Durga puja season…the season of autumn( sorot kal, as we call it)…. when there is a slight nip in the air…when the sun shines down a bit lazily…when there are smiles all around…people moving to and and fro with that sense of urgency to reach the puja mondop and offer their prayers…to get a strategic place to stand before it gets over crowded.

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Sharmi at Neivedyam made some Sago Pudding. Man, does that bring back memories.

Sharmi-Sago Pudding

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Vegconcoctions has some really beautiful and creative Golu pics at her blog. A must-see.

Navrathri Golu

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Rina at >Rina’s Recipes has some very sunny sundal

Rina-Sundal

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Remya over at Spices ‘n Flavors has Golu at her blog along with some gorgeous Sweet Appam”

Remya-Sweet Appam

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Vineela at Vineela’s Cuisine has some beautiful Golu pics as her entry.

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Daily Meals has very festive Boondi Ladoos up her sleeve.

Daily Meals-Boondi Ladoos

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An excellent Dasara in Mysore post by Namratha at Finger Licking Food.

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Srivalli at Cooking 4 all seasons has neivedya for Ayudh Pooja

Srivalli-Ayudh Pooja

and Vijaya Dashmi.

Srivalli-Vijaya Dashmi Feast

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Rachna of Soul Food has some easy Peanut Ladoos, tailor made for the modern Indian pantry.

Rachna-Peanut Ladoo

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Asha of Foodies Hope brings in a Tamilian Festive Feast to the gathering. Asha, How do you do it? The Mysore Palace and links toMysore Dassera celebrations make this a must-see post.

Asha-Feast

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Kajal of Kajal’s Dreams has all you ever wanted to know about Navrathri/Dassera and garba and more.

Modern Garba is also heavily influenced by Raas a dance traditionally performed by men. It is performed on 9 nights, ‘Navratri’ to Goddess Ambica, where women dance gracefully in circles sometimes also using, ‘Bedu, Kanjari’ or just ‘Taali’ and ‘Chapti’. The word Garba is derived from the word Garba Deep meaning a lamp inside a perforated earthen pot. The light inside the perforated earthen pot symbolized the embryonic life.

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Sandeepa, the one of the Bong Mom’s CookBook, the one who weaves stories with her words, the one who has disabled mouse selection on her blog – gives me a special post that has been coming a year. There are many parts of the post that would have been great previews, but lack of space and -ahem, some technical difficulties – led to me selecting this one.

..see Sondhi Pujo on Friday evening and wait for the 108 lamps to be lit albeit by electricity, wait for the Arati and seek blessings from those flames for myself, my daughter, my family, have Bhog on Styrofoam plates balanced on my knees, catch up with friends and overhear elderly Bengali ladies displaying their expensive saree and jewellery subtly.Amidst the crowds and the haze of the incense, I will look up to Durga’s face and see her still smiling kindly and I shall hope that smile gives my daughter belief in her own strength…

Sandeepa, special rule for you from next year. You need to send in the preview of your post as part of the entry. And that’s whats you get for the union wise crack. :cool:

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Talimpu has the most photogenic Andhra Pulihora. Don’t believe me? Just take a look!

Talimpu-ava_pulihara

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Gulkand and Khoya come together for this delicious sounding treat from Mansi at Fun and Food.

Mansi-Gulkand-Burfi

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I definitely know there were more entries around the blogospere for Dassera. But these are the only ones that I have emails for. If your entry is not included, please drop me a line! Diwali Entires next.

A Mother and Son, Minding Peas and Cues

Monica Bhide has a very interesting essay with the same title in the Washington Post. For three weeks now, I have sat with the new post page trying to come up with something. Each time I have drawn a blank with the cursor blinking at me forlornly. I am struggling with spending time tending to this blog, spending time in the kitchen and just being with the kids.

This essay was a nice in the way it brought it all together.

Find the article here

Reprinting the whole essay here, in case the link becomes redundant.

As a very young child, my son Jai had an unaccountable aversion to learning any language other than English. Yet, I was determined to teach him Hindi, my mother tongue, to ensure he did not miss out on a culture and heritage for lack of simple knowledge of its language.

I would point to his clothes, toys and books and encourage him to respond with their Hindi names. Eventually, he spoke a few words — he could point to a chair and call it kursi and say the numbers from 1 to 10 in Hindi. But he did not know simple phrases such as “How are you?” or “My name is Jai.” He could not have a conversation in Hindi.

That all changed during a trip to India when Jai was 4. I was sitting with my mother on the floor, shelling peas. As we were laughing and talking, Jai wandered over, picked up a pea pod with great curiosity and asked what it was. It is mattar, my mother told him. Peas? he wondered. Inside this? He loved the fact that he could open the pod and find a treasure. He opened one, then another and another. He sat still, which in itself was an achievement. He began to listen to us, to ask questions.

Some mothers like to color with their young children, some read books, some watch television. I could never have imagined our time together would be used to shell peas.

Once we were back in the States, I searched supermarkets and farmers’ markets for peas in pods. I rinsed them, patted them dry and waited for 3 o’clock so I could pick up Jai from school and we could shell peas. When pea pods were hard to find, I cheated, more than once passing off edamame as peas. Rarely were we able to eat the peas for dinner; by the time Jai’s tiny fingers got them out of the pods, they were too squished or had gone straight into his mouth. I didn’t care as long as we sat and shelled and talked.

We sat on the floor and started by sorting the pea pods, his fingers working furiously to separate the little baby pods from the mother pods and the daddy pods. Some days we named the piles of pods for his school friends — Zack, Sam, Casey. Then we counted. Jai could count to 20 in Hindi by then, and finished counting in English. On a few occasions, we reached 30 together.

Then came Jai’s favorite part, the time for me to tell him stories — in Hindi. We always started with the story of the witch, the one who would come and make a home in your hair if you went out without drying it on a cold day. The story would somehow segue into what Buzz Lightyear or Spider-Man would do if he found this witch. (An interesting question, since we could not find a bit of hair on either of their heads.) Each story had a different ending, depending on which action figure was stationed next to Jai for the afternoon.

After the witch would come the story of an Indian princess who lived in a golden castle. I wanted it to end with her marrying a handsome prince. My son, however, would add his 4-year-old’s spin and American viewpoints. Sometimes the princess would be a doctor, usually a veterinarian, and would end up marrying Shrek. Other times, the gentle princess would be transformed into a superhero and I was pleasantly challenged to come up with the Hindi names for laser guns and robotic evildoers.

One day, Jai asked me, “Mom, apne kahania kaha see seekhi?”

Where did I learn the stories? Why, from Bahenjee, of course.

By now Jai knew that word meant “older sister,” and his curiosity was piqued since I had no older sister. She was not related to me, I explained. It was a term often used as a mark of respect for an older person. A distant relative by marriage, she lived in a quiet part of my dadi’s house in Delhi. Dadi, my father’s mother, lived in what most people refer to as an Indian bungalow that housed a joint family — 14 people on an average day, not including the various relatives who would show up out of the blue.

With her crooked teeth, thinning white hair, flowing white sari and shrill voice, Bahenjee lived on the fringes of Dadi’s household. She had her own small area — steel almirah or armoire, charpai or cot, and wildly painted and loud pictures of various gods on the mostly bare and peeling wall. On a shelf were statues of gods, incense sticks, fresh jasmine flowers, silver coins. Bahenjee generally rose at an ungodly hour, 4 a.m., and did the work of an alarm clock for the house, singing prayers tunelessly at the top of her voice.

“Ab who kaha hai?” asked Jai. Where is she now? I had no idea.

“Nanu se poochege?” He pointed to the phone for me to call his grandfather in India to ask him. I did, and my father told us that after my grandparents died, Bahenjee went to live with her son. She had since died.

Jai asked me more and more about her and her stories and the memories came flooding back.

On my summer vacations, when I was a child, I would look forward to going to Dadi’s house so I could be with Bahenjee. For she was one of the best storytellers in the world. You and I shell peas, I told Jai; Bahenjee and I would make sev, noodles, as she shared stories. We would sit together in the hot Delhi sun after her ritual of sweeping the concrete courtyard with a wooden broomstick, brushing away dust and dirt I couldn’t see, and laying out a bamboo mat, or chitai, for us to sit on. She would spread newspapers in front of the mat and peel a few Indian oranges, santras, for me to eat. Then she would bring out the chickpea dough.

Bahenjee would make small logs of the dough, and she taught me how to hold each one between my fingers as if I were counting the beads of a rosary. Away we would go, preparing small bits of sev as princesses crossed paths with evil witches. Even as she talked, Bahenjee outpaced me in making sev. She would go through containers of dough while I was still struggling with my first log. She never seemed to notice that I generally made a mess and seemed to be interested only in the stories. Occasionally, she would ask me to wet a muslin cloth to cover the dough as it started to dry up. We would sit in that glowing Delhi heat for hours and I would listen, mesmerized.

As I recalled Bahenjee’s stories for Jai, it occurred to me that the tales she had told me had been in Multani — I learned a dying language through her stories. All of the stories were set in my father’s birthplace, Multan, a part of India until the separation of India and Pakistan. Bahenjee spoke Hindi, the more colloquial language, as well, but seemed to prefer telling the stories in her own language, stopping to translate only if I looked totally lost. She would recount painfully how she was forced to leave her motherland. She would talk about my father’s childhood, about her own family, about the food and the festivities.

Her language connected me to a place I would never see and a culture I had never known. No one in my family ever returned to Multan. Bahenjee chronicled a history that was lost in a war over religion and hate. I learned prayers and nursery rhymes in Multani.

Bahenjee’s stories ended, inevitably, when the dough did. I have always wondered what she did in the winters.

Learning to appreciate another culture through its language, through the words of an old woman who has seen life and lived to tell about it, now feels like a blessing. When my parents told us their childhood stories, we rolled our eyes. It always seemed to be intended as a lecture, prefaced with, “When I was your age . . .” Bahenjee’s stories were different. They transported me, intrigued me.

Several years have gone by since Jai and I started counting peas. At the age of 8, he speaks Hindi, though not flawlessly. Often he mixes English and Hindi words to create his own language. He has even picked up a few stray words of Multani.

Now, the questions he asks in his Hindi-English mix are no longer simple. Kya sab Iraqi log bad hai? Are all Iraqi people bad?

Why are those soldiers carrying banndooks, guns?

Why do people die, will I die? Aap bhi? Will you?

Jai no longer struggles with the language; now it’s my turn. I struggle for the right words, the right answers, in any language.

Jihva Special Edition 2007

Oh Yes. It is that time of the year again. The time when PPM hosts Jihva. It also means that Diwali is around the corner! Because Jihva becomes synonymous with diwali when it visits this blog.

It also means it is the time when I tinker around with the rules of the event, so much so that Indira just gave up, threw up her hands and called it ‘Special Edition’. “Go ahead,Vee. Do your worst, we have a whole year to repair what you do“. Since tinkering with the rules has become sort of a tradition with Jihva when it comes to this blog and since I already tweaked it a bit the last time, the pressure to match that this time around was enormous. Bit, in the end , I think I have out-done myself from last time.

You see, I decided to co-host Jihva with the ongoing Festive Series that The ‘Yum’ Blog has been hosting since Janmashtami. Lakshmi was kind enough to allow me to host the Dassera and Diwali editions of it. So this time instead of just Jihva Special Edition, we have

Jihva Special Editon : The Festive Series.

Yeah, Yeah. That’s quite a mouthful. You didn’t really expect anything less when you knew that I was going to host it this month, did you? If you did, well, now you know better. Alright, Alright, I will make it simple for you. I am going to call it JFS (Jihva-Festive Series). There, all happy? Good, ‘cos this is where the rules come in.

In keeping with the Festive Series rules, this month’s Jihva will allow for non-food related posts. In fact, I am opening up the field to include anything and everything that you as a blogger can think of about the Diwali and Dassera. Just dress it up according to rules below and you have a shoo in. In fact, this is a great way for non-food bloggers to join in on the Jihva ride.

There are two due dates. The last date for Navratri-Dassera Related entries is 24-Oct-2007 and the last date for the Diwali entries is 11-Nov-2007.

Indira, I can see you banging your head against the monitor. Don’t think I can’t. Stop it. Right now. Remember, another whole year before it comes back to me.

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The Jihva Special Edition : Festive Series Rules.

1) The theme for the month is Navratri-Dassera/Diwali. Write a post about either or both. It can be food related, recipe, memories, thoughts, experiences, incident, anecdote, photo essay, essentially anything and everything that is related to Diwali/Navratri-Dassera.

2) Write a post related to the festivities, link back to this post and send to pastpresentme@yahoo.com the following info.

a. Your Blog Name
b. Your Name
c. Images related to your post (must be part of your post), if any
d. The URL to the post

Please include JFS:Dassera or JFS:Diwali in the mail’s subject line depending upon your post.

3) If you do not have a blog mail me your content and I will publish it here on PPM , as is.

4) You can send in single or multiple posts, as you wish.

5) Have fun during it all.

That’s it. Do your best and send it across and then join me for the round up.

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Navratri/Dassera : The celebration of Goddess Durga in her many Manifestations. It is celebrated for Nine days and nights and ends with the tenth day of Dassera/Vijaydashmi. It is also an harvest festival in some parts of India with the new harvest of rice being celebrated. Harvest Festival, Slaying of Asura Mahishasura at the hands of Goddess Durga, King of Asuras Ravana’s defeat and death at the hands of Bhagwan Ram, celebration of the female goddess all of this culminate into a festival that is celebrated all over India.

Western India, particularly Gujarat, celebrates the nine nights with the traditional Garba Dance .

Northern India celebrates the Dassera with Ramlila-enactment of the Ramayan as written in Ramacharitmanas by Tulsidas., followed by the celebration of Bhagwan Ram’s victory and the downfall of the King of Asuras Ravan by burning his effigy.

Ramlila, literally “Rama’s play”, is a performance of the Ramayana epic in the form of a series of scenes that include song, narration, recital and dialogue. It is performed across the whole of northern India during the festival of Dussehra, held each year according to the ritual calendar around the month of October or November. The most representative Ramlilas are those of Ayodhya, Ramnagar and Benares, Vrindavan, Almora, Sattna and Madhubani. [From Here]

On the Eastern side, West Bengal, celebrates with nine days of Durga Puja

In eastern India, especially in Bengal, the Durga Puja is the principal festival during Navratri. It is celebrated with gaiety and devotion through public ceremonies of “Sarbojanin Puja” or community worship. Huge decorative temporary structures called “pandals” are constructed to house these grand prayer services, followed by mass feeding, and cultural functions. The earthen icons of Goddess Durga, accompanied by those of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikya, are taken out on the tenth day in a triumphal procession to the nearby river, where they are ceremonially immersed. Bengali ladies give an emotion-charged send-off to Durga amidst ululations and drumbeats. This marks the end of the goddess’ brief visit to the earth. As Durga leaves for Mount Kailash, the abode of her husband Shiva, it’s time for “Bijoya” or Vijayadashami, when people visit each other’s homes, hug each other and exchange sweets. [From here]

Here the slaying of Mahishasura by the all-ppwerful Goddess Durga is celebrated.

…is that of the Goddess Durga slaying the buffalo-demon, Mahishasura. According to popular mythology, the gods were compelled to grant Mahishasura indomitable powers for his unparalleled meditation. As expected, the omnipotent buffalo-demon Mahishasura raised hell at the gates of heaven, astounding the gods with his mammoth dominion. The infuriated gods then created Durga. It is believed that Durga was actualised by the combined effort of all deities. Durga possesses a weapon of each god and is said to be more powerful than all of them put together. [From here]

Diwali/Deepavali : The festival of lights, the celebration of the return of Bhagwan Ram from exile, the slaying of Asur Hiranakashyap at the hands of the Narsimha Avataar of Bhagwan Vishnu, the arrival of the Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi, take a pick. All of this and none of this are part of the celebrations of Diwali in India. But there is light, yes there is light and there is sound, with crackers booming.

Religious Significance of Diwali

All you want to know about Diwali

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Jihva-Diwali 2006

Stuffed Chillies.

I have had mind-boggling two weeks which along with the weather hasn’t helped my disposition at all.

Really groggy weather in my neck of the woods right now. It is not raining but it seems likes it would rain any minute now and its been like that for the past three days without a drop of rain. The greenery seems to be going brown without going through the customary color change and that is just sad. For fall is not fall until the colors come in. Three weeks into september and I am already missing summer. The weird weather is to blame. There is slight chill in the air. Not much but enough to send the kids into the customary change of season cold. I am already dreading the winter this season.

The weather, though, has had me craving for deep-fried stuff all week. I am resolutely ignoring it. Thinking ahead, I am saving myself for Diwali, you see. Maybe if I abstain for the next month, I can gorge away the diwali goodies guilt-free. One can always hope. Sedentary lifestyles make you plan ahead for these things. But I digress. I was talking about the last two weeks.

Early on, as soon as I posted about the sweet appe, my blender died on me. Serves me right for cribbing about it in the last two posts. I had a good GE model with a coffee grinder attachment which had served me well the past 4 years. With the kind of use I have made of it, I am surprised it took so long for it to give up on me. But, the whole thing was disappointing. I always thought that the day it dies on me would be the day I have a dozen people for dinner. There I would be trying to grind up a heavenly curry paste and it would blast out, make horrible sounds, keep sputtering and the red light that signifies the machine is on would fade away slowly, kind of like the eye of the terminator at the end of each movie. And that I would see my dream of an Indianised Martha Stewartesque meal fading away with that light. O, the horror! O, the pain! If nothing so melodramatic, I thought that it would at least do me the favor of dying a spectacular death with the top flying away and the stuff that I was trying to grind hitting the roof and coming down in a shower. You know, a shower of strawberry smoothie early in the morning would be a spectacular way to start a day, wouldn’t it? But alas, no such luck. It just sputtered and ground itself to halt, never to make a peep again. Why? Because.

So anyway, I am having the biggest internal debate. I have decided to take this oppurtunity to invest in either an Indian mixer/grinder or the wet grinder. I can’t decide between the two. So I have decided to make it a democratic decision. I invite my readers to please vote for either so that I can finally decide. Yes, the word decide is on my mind too much these days. The Libran moon is up, my friends.

While you guys are voting on that, you could also comment on how one should deal with a 3 year old when you trying to talk to him about a certain not-good-boy thing he did and he replies,

“I don’t want to talk about it”.

To say, I was flabbergasted would be putting it mildly. I was completely dumb-founded and had no idea how to proceed. I stood there mute, actually feeling the sting of the ‘chaata‘ I would have got from my parents in such scenarios. They same ‘chaata‘ that they never got a chance to dispense, btw. He hasn’t repeated the action, but I would still like to be more prepared for statements like that one in case they make an appearance again. I still haven’t thought of a good retort. Yep, amazing two weeks I have had.

I decided to stuff my misery, my undecisiveness and my complete lack of ability to overcome a 3 year old among other stuff into some Anahiem Peppers and have a good dinner, instead. This decision was the easy part.

Stuffed Chillies

Recipe:

1)

Prep the chillies. Make a small horizontal cut,parallel to the stem about 1 cm below it. Make a vertical slit perpendicular to the first slit to the tip of the pepper. OPen up the pepper gently and remove all the seeds inside. I don’t remove the ribs. Sprinkle some salt on the peppers and keep it aside while you prepare the stuffing. The salting is an optional step. I do it because it softens the peppers just enough to allow it to cook quicker.

2) For the Stuffing. Mix

1/2 cup Besan/Chickpea Flour
1/4 cup Fresh Coconut gratings
1/4 cup Peanut powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder/Dhaniya
1/4 tsp Turmeric/Haldi
1 tsp Peanut Oil
a pinch Asafetida/Hing
Salt to taste
Juice from One lemon

together to almost form a dough. This stuffing is enough for 6 medium length peppers.

3) Gently stuff the dough into the chillies.

4) In a 8′ pan, heat a tsp of oil and spread it all over the pan’s surface . Add

a pinch of hing

Place the peppers on pan so that they are not overlapping. Immediately lower the flame, cover and cook for about ten minutes on each side. The time taken to cook would depend upon the amount of stuffing in your chillies. The steam and juices from the pepper should go through the stuffing right to its center. Make a cut on one of the chillies to make sure it has cooked all the way through. There is nothing good about uncooked besan. Enjoy.

pic_0612-contrast

Naivedya: Sweet Appe

Nothing shouts coastal cuisine than an abundance of coconut in it. Other than seafood, that is. But we are still in the festive mood and so lets just stick to the coconut part. If I had any doubts regarding the role coconut plays in our life, they are crushed to smitterens every time I ask my mom for a traditional recipe. And it was replayed again when I asked for the recipe of Goud(Sweet) Appe (dumplings?). These appe are the traditional naivedyam offered to Ganpati during the Chavathi festival. They are made of, among other things, coconut and jaggery which seems to be a recurring theme in all the forms of prasad that is offered to this diety. Of course, growing up they were not my favorite things but as is the case with things, once they were no longer present I missed them. I asked my mom for the recipe so that I could recreate it this year. Now we are all familiar with the way moms tend to dispense recipe nuggets. However, with traditional recipes like these which are made once a year, my mom has exact proportions for all the ingredients except they are in coastal cuisine lingo.

Do you all remember basic geometry theorems? You have one-line theorems that you have to prove using other one-line theorems that could be proved using the current theorem you are trying to prove? You do? Good. Because deciphering the recipe is almost the same. Of course, there are some basic assumptions.

First, the ingredient list.

“Ekka Narla-ka, ek Kilo Goud aNi ek Kilo Rawa”

Translation:

For one coconut, one kilo jaggery and one kilo rawa.

Assumptions:

1) One coconut = gratings of one coconut.
2) Size of said Coconut = medium.
3) Any konkani worth his/her salt would know what a medium coconut is. (Have I not taught you anything, O clueless child of mine?)

Procedure Part 1.

Narla Vatooche, goud ghalnu melNu yevve tai vatooche. Kadeke rawa ghalnu ek pati ghundache

Translation:

Grind coconut, add jaggery and grind till everything is mixed. Finally add rawa and blend once to mix.

Assumptions:

1) 1 kilo Jaggery = 1 kilo jaggery grated.
2) Cardamom not mentioned is cardamom included.
3) Grind coconut = grind coconut till just enough.
4) Any konkani worth his/her salt would know how much is just enough. (Have I not taught you anything, O clueless child of mine?)

Procedure Part 2.

Don ghante puNi bareen kaNu dAvarche. Maagiri hoguru Ujjari toLNu kadche.

Translation:

Keep aside for at least two hours and deep-fry on a low flame.

Assumptions:

1) Deepfrying Fat = Ghee.

The last one is the best because she manages to give the most important tips for the recipe in one sentence. One, to let the mixture rest and two, to deep fry on a slow flame. How do you know when it is cooked? Any Cook worth his/her ……

—-Sorry Mom—–

Goud Appe

The biggest challenge after deciphering the recipe was to convert it into cup measures. Even though I have access to a coconut, the necessary implements for grating it and the enthu to grate it, the output from those proportions would still take us weeks to finish off. The second problem was the deepfrying the mixture. There is essentially no binder ingredient (like flour) in this mixture and it depends on the rawa absorbing all the liquid from the coconut and jaggery to help keep it together. The resting period goes a long way in achieving that. I have cribbed about my bender before and I do it again. In my kitchen, it is doing a job it is not engineered to do. Extra liquids go a long way in achieving this. More liquids means more trouble for the mixture to bind together. So, I decided to forgo the deepfrying to actually making them like appe. Which means access an Aebleskiver pan or the japanese takoyaki pan or the appam pan is essential.

Recipe :

Grind in a blender/ mixie, till the gratings seem like an homogenous mixture and not separate grains

2 cups Coconut gratings

using water, only as required. Once done, add

2 1/2 cups of jaggery, grated

and blend till the jaggery disintegrates. Add

1/2 tsp Cardamom/Elaichi powder, fresh always good.
1 cup Rawa/Sooji

and blend once just to mix everything together. Remove to a bowl and set aside to rest for at least 2 hours. I kept it for 4 hours.

Heat the appam pan. Lower flame to medium-low. Pour

1 tsp melted ghee, in each depression

When the ghee heats up, add

2 tbsp of the mixture, in each depression

This needs to be done very gently, be careful of the splattering ghee. Cook uncovered till the mixture on top changes color. Gently turn the appe over. You might have to slightly scrape the sides of each depression to do that. I use a small knife for the scraping and a spoon to turn it over. Cook until the other side browns up. Remove and drain on paper towels.

This recipe yields 32 appe. This post also joins the Festive cooking series: Ganesh Chaturthi at The Yum Blog.