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Festival Foods

Shivratri Special Sweet Kachori

Lord Shiva is famous for his Tandav Nritya (dance). It is believed that he performed his Dance on Mahashivratri.  Mahashivratri is a very auspicious day for all hindus. Devotees observe full day fast and do Shiv Lingam pooja and do jagaran chanting “Om Namah Shivaya.”

Whether for religious reasons or as a means to good health, fasting has been an inextricable part of our traditions.  But as a foodie, I can't resist the different varieties of food you can eat on the day of the fast. So why not indulge ourselves little with some tasty snack that is suitable for the day of fasting. This snack is very popular in Maharashtra but not very widely known in other parts of  India. Its called Sweet Kachori. I hope you all love this yummy and easy to make kachori.

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Ingredients for the cover:


  • 2 Medium Potatoes

  • Salt to taste

  • 3-4 Tablespoons  Sago Starch (Ararut–Sabudana pith)


Ingredients for Stuffing:


  • 1 Cup  Fresh Grated Coconut

  • 2 Teaspoon Sugar

  • 3 Small Crushed Green Chillies

  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt

  • 2 Tablespoon Chopped Coriander Leaves

  • ¼ Teaspoon Lemon Juice

  • ¼ Grated Fresh Ginger

  • 1½ Tablespoon Crushed Cashew Nuts

  • 1 Tablespoon Golden Raisins


How to Make:

Boil the potatoes and mash it completely. Add salt and the sago Starch.

Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing.

Make small balls of potatoes. Take a small ball, make a small bowl shape and put the stuffing. Close the potato base and fry it in hot oil till it becomes golden brown. You can also flatten the stuffed potato ball and then fry. If you feel the potato cover is breaking in the oil, try with less stuffing. Or put little more sago starch in the mashed potato.

Serve it with Coconut-Coriander Chutney.

A perfect Holi drink - Thandai

It's Holi time again. Holi, also called the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu Spring festival observed in India. It is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). Holi is one of my favorite festivals. The most vibrant and colorful festival! When it comes to Holi celebrations, nothing can beat North Indian spirit. They really rock. The dhol (drum), singing, dancing, getting drenched in colored waters. Yes! That's holi...  Well, there are people who might disagree with me but who cares....
Holi celebrations are incomplete without a glass of thandai. It is embedded in the tradition of Holi.  This milk based thirst-quencher is tasty and cooling and perfect mood setter for playing colors. So let us get ready for a holi party with a easy to make recipe of Thandai.

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Ingredients:

  • 15 Almonds

  • 2 Teaspoons Aniseeds

  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds

  • 2 Teaspoons Peppercorns

  • 2 Teaspoons Poppy Seeds

  • 12 Teaspoons Sugar

  • 8 cardamoms

  • One pinch of Saffron

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Rose Water

  • 300 ml Water

  • 400 ml Milk

  • 6-7 Ice cubes

  • Rose Petals to garnish


How to Make:

Grind all the spices and sugar together in a fine powder..

Add Almonds to the spice powder and grind.

Let the powder remain in the blender. Add  300 ml water into the powder till it becomes very smooth.

Now add the milk and ice cubes in the blender and blend further for 1-1 ½ minute.

Strain the liquid through the cheesecloth.

Add rosewater to the liquid. Crush the saffron on the palm on your hand and add it to the liquid.

Garnish it with shredded rose petals.

Nice and chilled Thandai is ready to be served.

Jain special Papad-Methi Curry (Papad-Fenugreek Curry)

Mahavir Jayanti is regarded as the main Jain festival of the year. The festival is celebrated in India to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira.

The entire Jain community through out the country celebrates Mahavir Jayanti. On this auspicious day, grand chariot processions with the images of Mahavira are taken out, rich ceremonies are held in the temples, fasts and charities are observed.

Jain cooking has different influences of Gujarati, Marwari, north Indian and Maharashtrian cuisines. Jain food is very similar to saatvik cooking except that certain root foods like potatoes, ginger, onions, garlic are prohibited. Today the recipe I am sharing with you is very common in Gujarat and Rajsthan. Jains usually make this curry during paryyusan.
It is  made with Papad and Fenugreek Seeds. It is little unusual dish, I hope you like it.

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Ingredients :


  • 3 large papads

  • 2 Teaspoon yellow fenugreek seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon oil

  • 1/4 Teaspoon each cumin & mustard seeds

  • 1/2 Teaspoon red chilli powder

  • 1/4 Teaspoon dhania powder

  • 3-4 pinches turmeric

  • 2 pinches asafoetida

  • salt to taste

  • 2 Tablespoon fresh curds

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 Teaspoon Besan

  • Chopped Coriander leaves to garnish.


How to Make:

Boil fenugreek seeds in some water, till soft to touch but not mushy.
Drain and keep aside.
Break papad into 1 squares roughly.
Dissolve dry masalas and salt in 1/2 cup water.
Heat a heavy pan, add oil.
Add cumin and mustard seeds. Allow it to splutter, add masala water.
Mix Besan and curd and then add curds in the pan. Stir continuously till whiteness is gone.
Add remaining water, methi seeds, bring to a boil.
Add papad pieces and bring back to boil.
Cook on low, covered, for 3-4 minutes or till papad is soft. Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with chapati.
Note:
Do not over boil Fenugreek seeds, otherwise they will taste bitter.

Eggs for Easter

Easter is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical years scripture, Jesus was resurrected  from the dead on the 3rd day after his crucifixion. Many Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday.

Easter Bunny and Easter Egg hunts have become integral part of the the Easter celebrations.  All the departments stores are filled with eggs, candies and different fillers. My younger one is having Easter egg hunt and Easter party in the school. He is so excited as this will his 1st Easter Egg hunt. While I was busy filling the Easter eggs  for his party, I thought why not make something of eggs for Easter. So here is my twist on the traditional deviled eggs, Hot & Spicy Deviled Eggs. So Enjoy!!!!

Hot & Spicy Deviled Eggs

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Ingredients:


  • 5 nos. of Hard Boiled Eggs

  • 5 Tablespoons of chopped onion

  • 3 Tablespoons of chopped Green Capsicum

  • 2-3 Tablespoons of  chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 green chili minced

  • ¼ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder

  • ¼ Teaspoon Coriander Powder

  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin Powder

  • ¼  Teaspoon Garam Masala

  • ¼ Teaspoon Amchoor Powder

  • 31/2 Tablespoons oil

  • Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

  • Salt as per taste


How to Make:

Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks and mash them together in a small mixing bowl.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry onions, minced green chili, green capsicum and tomatoes for 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, amchoor powder and mix properly. Add the mashed egg yolks and salt into the pan and  mix it till it is well combined.

Once the mixture is warm enough, Spoon mixture into egg shells.

In a clean frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Place all the filled eggs in the pan (white side down)

Keep rotating the pan till the eggs become little brown and are warm enough. Remove from heat and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves on the eggs.

Heat 1 ½ tablespoon oil in a small pan. Turn of the heat and put 1 teaspoon chili powder in the oil. The oil will have nice red color. Pour the oil on the eggs evenly.

Hot and spicy deviled eggs are ready to eat.

Note :   For all the cheese lovers, you can put grated cheese on the eggs while warming them in the pan.

Eggplant Fritters and Tomato Chutney for Gudhi Padwa

Gudhi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month, and is celebrated as  New Year by Maharashtrians.  This day is celebrated as Ugadi in Andhra pradesh and Karnataka and Cheti Chand by Sindhi community.

It is considered as a very auspicious day. On this day, gudhis are hung outside the houses. A 'gudhi' is a pole on the top of which an upturned brass or silver pot called a kalash is placed. The gudhi is covered with a colourful silk cloth and decorated with marigold flowers, coconuts, and mango leaves that symbolize nature's bounty.

I remember my childhood days when we all used to eat the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree with sugar  after the gudhi pooja. I don't remember the exact reason of this ritual but could be to purify your system.

On this day, everybody dresses up in new clothes, go to the temple and then its time for a nice family gathering and a nice feast too. Shrikhand-poori and some savory dish is very common among Maharashtrian families.

On the occasion of Gudhi Padwa and Ugadi, I will like to share with you some dishes which you will love to eat.

Vangyache Kaap (Eggplant Fritters):

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Ingredients:


  • One Eggplant (thickness of around 3-4 inches)

  • ½ cup Rice Flour

  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice

  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder

  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Salt

  • Oil to shallow fry the fritters


How to Make:

Cut the Eggplant into round disks of 1 cm. thickness. Sprinkle the salt on the Eggplant disks so that all the eggplant disks are coated properly.

Mix the rice flour, chili powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice.

Heat the fry pan. Take one eggplant disc and coat it with rice flour. Shallow fry it with oil till  both sides  become light brown. It takes around 2 minutes on each side. Rice flour makes the fritters crispy. If you feel it needs more salt, you can add little salt in the rice flour mixture.
You can serve this as a side dish along with the full meal. It is a good alternative to fried pakoras.

Andhra Tomato Chutney:

This Tomato Chutney is a South Indian favorite. It's a common among all south indian households. It is classic accompaniment to idlis, dosas, ponganalu. You can even add it to steamed rice and eat.

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Ingredients:


  • 3 Big tomatoes – Cut into big pieces

  • 3 Red Chillies

  • 3 Green Chillies

  • 2 Garlic Cloves

  • ½ inch fresh Ginger

  • 1 Teaspoon Tamarind Paste

  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds Powder

  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Oil

  • Salt – As required



Ingredients for Tempering
:


  • ¾ tablespoon Oil

  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds

  • One pinch of Asafoetida Powder


How to Make:

Heat the oil in the pan.  Add garlic, ginger, red chillies and green chillies and fry for some time. Now add tomatoes and tamarind paste and roast till the tomatoes become soft. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Add sesame seeds powder and salt and grind it in a mixer to make a smooth chutney.

Heat oil in a small sauce pan. Make a tempering (tadka) using mustard seeds. After it splutters, add asafoetida powder.  Pour it on chutney and garnish chutney with chopped coriander leaves. You can store the Tomato Chutney in refrigerator for 8-10 days.

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