Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chakkuli / Chakli / Murukku

Murukku or Chakli or Chakkuli(Konkani) is a snack usually which accompanies tea / coffee.
Its spicy and crispy which makes it all the more in demand. I have to thank Praveena here for sharing such a lovely recipe with all of us. Here is the original from a marvellous blog - Simply Spicy....or Zimbly Spicy? :)

My 21 month old gorged on 4 pieces the moment I offered him, I had to physically stop him so that he wouldn't choke on them and asked him to chew and eat. My 35 month old too loved it.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients :
2 cups rice flour / ari podi/ chawal ka atta
1 cup besan/gram flour(kadala maav)/chaney ka atta
1 tbsp white til / sesame seeds
1 tbsp ajwain(carom seeds)/ Ova
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp hing powder / asafoetida
1/4 cup(50 gms) melted butter
225 ml of lukewarm water (approx)
Oil (Vegetable or Peanut oil) for deep frying

Method :

In a large bowl, sieve together the flours, add ajwain, til, chilli pwdr, hing, salt and mix well.
Add the melted butter and mix well. Add little lukewarm water and knead into a soft dough.
Grease the chakli press with some oil, grease chakli mould too.

Take a part of the dough and stuff insidet he chakli press.

Onto a newspaper or paper napkin, press out in round shape and prepare one batch prior to frying.

Heat the oil on high, lower to medium flame when hot enough, and deep fry the chaklis(flip them once in between till they turn golden brown.)

Remove in a dish lined with paper napkin so that any extra oil is absorbed. Press the next batch while first is getting fried. The yield was 57 chaklis.

Njoi these savory chaklis as snacks with tea / coffee!!


Mango Cake

Mango is my favourite! Pushpa of PuSiVa'S CuLiNarY StUdiO has gorgeous baking recipes which are very simple yet give out great results!! She has a good collection of cooking books and her own recipes which have been neatly filed away for reference! This dish was baked as a birthday cake for her sister Chikie, by her. The ingredients were few and the photo awesome which made me immediately try it out. Original recipe called for mango puree-I used mango pulp instead. I skipped lemon juice and mango essence.

Ingredients :
1 cup maida / all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
1 stick(100 gms) butter at room temperature
1 egg
3/4th cup mango puree
1 tsp vanilla essence (mango essence ideally)

1/2 cup milk

Method :
Sieve together- flour, b.soda, b.pwdr, salt and keep aside.

In a big bowl, mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg keep mixing. Add the essence.

Add mango puree and mix for a while. Add the flour mixture spoon by spoon and milk in turns ending with the flour mixture. Keep mixing till homogenous. Grease the baking pan generously with butter and flour. Pour the mixture in the greased tin / in a tin lined with parchment paper.
Preheat oven at
175° C for 30-35 minutes...or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool for ten minutes, transfer on to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Gorge on this delicious Mango cake shamelessly! Its worth it!

I had to pre-heat my oven at
170° C for ten minutes, reduce the temp. to 160° C , baking time 35 minutes .



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Walnut Cookies -Eggless

Vertical section of a cookie --Yum yum yummie to the core!!!!

Walnut Cookies...sounded great, last week when I went through Lazzat blog - Rahin, had a drool-on-this-pic of the cookies. Further when I read her recipe, ingredients and method, it was eggless and didn't have baking soda or baking powder either! What else could I ask for?

Thank you Rahin. I messed up first time, but she resolved my queries soon enough for me to give it a try again and succeed!!

My kids simply love it, I have to hide this cookie jar from them. Below measure gives an yield of 18 cookies.

Ingredients :
1 cup walnut powdered
1 cup all purspose flour / maida
1/4 tsp salt
25 gms granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 stick (100 gms) butter at room temperature
Powdered sugar

Method :
Mix the walnut powder along with maida and salt. (Use dry jar grinder for powdering the walnuts. Walnuts have oil in them which gives the powder not flowing but of a bit sticky texture. It would look like partly fine and partly like rava/semolina.) Keep aside.
In a large bowl, with the aid of a beater, beat the butter with sugar for minimum 2 mins till its homogeneous and fluffy. Add vanilla essence. Keeping the mixer on, add spoon by spoon the walnut mixture till it mixes in pretty well and comes together.
Use a spoon or fixed measure to scoop it out, press the dough a little (like kababs!) and shape it into cookies with shapes of your choice.
Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F. Line a parchment / waxed paper in a cookie sheet and arrange the cookie shaped dough with 1 inch spacing as they tend to spread a bit while getting baked.
Bake for 20 minutes. (You may flip it half-way through.)
Take it on a wire rack or plate for cooling, in a minute or two-not after that, sprinkle the powdered sugar. (I took the help of a new tea strainer, one tsp of powdered sugar in the strainer, holding it on the top of cookie, jerking the strainer clockwise on cookie for equal distribution. Let it cool for another 10-15 minutes before transferring to an airtight container.

This is the first time baked cookie in which I melted the butter but taste was awesome. I used a star shaped cookie cutter to shape it. I didn't sprinkle sugar on it.

Second time I baked these with butter kept at room temperature, they were sprinkled with some powdered sugar and were awesome to taste.
They were browned at base a bit more than needed as my electric oven emits more heat.
I baked these in electric oven..temp-150 deg C -20 mins precise.

After shifting it to this cookie jar, I had to wrap a paper towel around it so that my son doesn't demand them at odd times -my cabinets being full, I have no other place but my counter-top to place them!! Poor cookies soon would become extinct else!!

Make them, bake them and Njoi them at tea!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Humble Breakfast- Normal Steamed Idli & Microwave(MW) Idli

What happens when you run out of time and really want to have a replete breakfast? Microwave (mw) comes to aid! Yes the above pic is of a mv'd idli. It truly didn't take much time, considering the fact that the fermented batter was atop my counter. All I did was to pull out glass bowls, grease them with coconut oil, fill two tbsp of batter...mv on high for 1 minute!! That was it and out came the (15 minutes saver) yummy idli...filling enough!

Here is the recipe for normal Idli...

Ingredients :
1 cup urad daal
2 cups dosa rice
2 tbspn cooked rice
Salt to taste
Coconut oil for greasing

Method :
Step I - Washing and soaking. Wash urad daal and dosa rice seperately until clean water flows. In double the water, soak for around 5-6 hours. Preferable complete the soaking procedure for urad daal under refrigeration. (This tip is from my amma to protect the mixer jar and motor from heating up.)

Step II - Grinding. First grind the urad daal with little water into a very very fine paste, giving the mixer a standing time of a minute or two between every run. Touch to feel the silky-satin smooth batter. No grains of urad daal should be felt at this point. Run the mixie again to get a fine batter. Pour this into a vessel. In the mixer jar, take dosa rice with water visible to an inch above it. Mix it till coarse or smooth. If you are not using cooked rice, make it very smooth. If you grind the dosa rice coarsely, making it look like rava or sugar granules, please add cooked rice for fluffyness. Add the cooked rice to mixer jar, blend till it is well mixed and you get a flowing yet sauce consistency batter. Add this to the urad daal batter. Mix well with aid of a spatula or spoon till its homogenous. Leave aside covered with a lid to ferment. Choose a vessel which is large so that this batter is filled up to two third of the vessel. This batter should neither be too liquid nor too thick.

Step III - Fermenting. For places with a temperature of 25 deg C or more, the batter will ferment in 10 hours. For lower temperature areas, leave the batter to ferment for upto 24 hours or till the batter doubles up in volume. Check for fermentation. Add salt.

Step IV - Steaming and Mv Idlis.
For steamer idlis : Take the idli mould...grease it with ghee or coconut oil. Place 1 1/2 tbpsn of batter into each of the four dents of a idli plate. Leave a little place..say a mm so that idli has space to rise on steaming. I use a pressure cooker. My Mil's way. So one cup of water, first goes the idli stand then the idli plates one after the other, carefully without spilling the batter out.
The stove goes on- its kept on a high flame and lid firmly placed, minus the whistle / weight.
After five minutes or just as high steam is seen from the whistle rod, lower the flame to slow and cook exactly for ten minutes. Have to keep a watch on time for this. Put it off. Give 2-3 minutes, open the lid, scoop out the idlis and serve hot with accompaniment which varies from podi, chutney, sambhar, ketchup(yes..thats for my ketchup loving kids!!) etc. Enjoy!
Ideal for a family of 5-6 members as it gives out many idlis at one go.
Time to prepare - 1 + 5 + 10 + 2 = 18 mins - 20 mins approx frm preparing the greased plates to palating it.

For microwave idlis : Six small glass bowls which are microwaveable are needed to be greased with coconut oil or ghee. 1 1/2 tbspn batter into each of the greased bowls. Place the bowls at the brim of the turntables as heat is reflected more around the corners. Microwave high for one minute and idli is ready! Take it out only after 3 minutes as center is cooked later. Depending on the settings of the mw, try one bowl first and note the time. Thereafter you may use that as standard time for mw idlis. Serve immediately.
Ideal for two people. Total time taken - 1 + 1 + 3 = 5 mins. So a real time saver for me!

Enjoy Idlis whichever way you may please!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Moong Daal Curry With Chappati

A dish made with veggies and split moong daal. Its delicious when served with rice or chappatis.

When ISG posted this recipe on her blog, Daily Musings a few days back it promptly caught my attention. I usually make beans upperi / upkari which is an accompaniment for dal-rice. This dish started off like a upkari is being made and turned it into a gravy with veggies! A beautiful information by ISG in her post about various pulses and their properties. Thanks for posting.

Here goes the recipe for daal.

Ingredients :

1 cup split moong daal
1/2 cup peas (fresh / frozen)
10-12 french beans
1/2 small red onion chopped finely
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 sprigs curry leaves
Oil (Vegetable oil)

For Masala :
1 tbspn fresh scraped coconut or 1/4th cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp jeera
1-3 green chillies

Method :
Cook daal with peas in a pressure cooker upto three whistles-wt a pinch of turmeric if needed. Grind to fine paste the masala ingredients with little water (say 4-5 tbspns). Wash and cut beans finely. In a deep pan, take a tbspn of oil, add mustard seeds, let them splutter, add jeera and curry leaves, add the onions which are finely chopped, fry until light brown, add the masala, fry a bit. Add the beans and cook for 4 - 5 minutes till tender. Mash the the cooked daal a bit carefully not mashing the peas..add it in the pan and cook further. Add water if you need more watery consistency. Simmer for 3-4 mins on a medium flame..put off the stove and cover with lid for flavour to gel.

Serve hot with chappati or rice.

Thankyou for this lovely recipe, ISG which I tweaked a bit to suit my pantry and family.

Sheer Kurma /Sevaiya Kheer / Semaiya Kheer

This one is from Rakesh Sethi in his Eid special episode of Mirch Masala.
Though I can find this recipe again on Indya.com, I want to file it somewhere, and what better place than my blog can I find to keep this recipe safe.

Updated : Happy Dassera To All My Lovely Friends, Family and Visitors!

Ingredients :
5 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
25 gms roasted sevai
20 gms khajoor paste(approx 5 dates peeled and ground into a paste)
20 gms rice paste
4 pods green cardamom
15 gms of sliced badam,sliced pista,cashew(halved) raisins

Method :
In a heavy bottomed kadhai,take the milk and heat on a medium flame, keep stirring till one boil is reached and the quantity reduces by 1/3rd. Add the paste of rice (soak two tablespoon rice for 20 mins, grind with little water, to obtain paste) to milk and stir the mixture will thicken, crush the cardamoms a little and add. Add the khajoor paste, mix well.Add sevaiyan. In a pan, take 2-3 tbspn ghee, fry cashew,badam,pistachios until brown, add to the mixture. Add sugar. Stir till the desired consistency or thickness is obtained.
Serve chilled, garnished with cashew,badam,pistachios.


I had first tasted this as a kid at my neighbour's place, who used to fondly call me for eating anything that was made daily and especially for festivals too..for some vague reasons, I was not able to pick up this kheer's name as a kid and used to call it "Surkumba"!! I came across various cookery shows on DD in my teens and realised that I was calling my favourite sweet wrongly!!
I corrected myself then.

This is the first time I used Khajur paste and Rice paste in it, it was too delicious for me!!!
I also added a tbspn of charoli which was originally used by my neighbour's in their dish!
My family(both sides-mine as well as hubby's) makes semaiya kheer with the thick rice noodles,
while I truly prefer these wheat ones which are very thin and lend out a different taste to this kheer!!!

Bon apetite!! Njoi this kheer!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Golpapdi / Wheat Biscuits

Tarala Dalal is one lovable cook. I used to watch her cookery shows regularly till they were pulled out of the channel. This recipe is from her camp. Golpapdi. (I still am clueless why its called Gol as its not round, why papdi as its a biscuit! Well maybe someday my query will be resolved! :) )This was instantly loved by kids. Preparing Golpapdi is very easy and fast. I got it done in 40 mins.

The taste is heavily of jaggery,ghee and roasted wheat flour. Its crispy yet has a softness to it which makes it heavenly.

Below is the recipe from her blog - Tarala Dalal.


A wheat flour sweet which is easy to prepare.

Cooking Time : 20 min.
Preparation Time : 10 min.

Serves 4.


1 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)

3/4 cup jaggery (gur), cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon poppy seeds (khus-khus)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (elaichi)

1 teaspoon desiccated coconut (optional)

5 tablespoons ghee

Sprinkle the poppy seeds on a 150 mm. (6") diameter greased thali. Keep aside.


Melt the ghee in a frying pan and add the wheat flour stirring continuopusly till it turns golden brown in colour.


Remove from the flame and add the jaggery, cardmom powder and coconut. Stir well.


When the jaggery melts and the mixture is still warm, pour it into the greased thali with poppy seeds and spread it evenly with the help of the base of a small bowl (katori)


Cut into diamond shapes while still warm.


Store in an air-tight container when cool.

You can add 1 tablespoon of milk along with the jaggery if the mixture becomes too hard.

The only change I did was substituting the poppy seeds with white sesame seeds (til) since we don't get poppy seeds here.

Lovely recipe for me, I prepare this once in a while. Thanks for posting TD and team.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Badami Burfi (Microwave-mw) /Microwave Almond Burfi

Wishing One and All A Very Happy Navratri!!!

Here's a write up on Meaning and Significance of Navaratri which I wish to include, from a close family friend's brother, Muralianna.
Thanks for writing & sharing such a in-depth article!

Meaning of NAVRATRI

‘Nava’ means nine. It also means ‘fresh’ or ‘new’.
‘Ratri’,‘ra’ means giving solace or rest. ‘Tri’ means three.

There are three types of botherations or problems that may affect a person
- physical, mental, spiritual
. That which gives you relief from all these difficulties is ‘ratri’.

‘Ratri’ or night relieves you and brings you comfort. It takes you into its arms and puts you to sleep. Even birds and animals go to sleep at night. The night relaxes everybody, whether happy, unhappy or miserable, everybody goes to sleep.

‘Navaratri’ means the new night or the nine nights that give you rest from all these three types of problems.

The nine days represent the nine months spent by the baby in the mother’s womb. It represents the evolution of the consciousness to a heightened awareness.

In life, there are positive and negative qualities that affect us. Navaratri represents how the negativity can be conquered by the inherent positive qualities in an individual so that one emerges as a divine being.

In the ashram, when such a celebration happens, it is done for the
benefit of all of humanity. It is done with an intention that all the
people should be happy; there should be good rainfall, prosperity in the
country and so on. Many 'homas' are conducted with the chanting of
'mantras' creating an atmosphere of positivity and celebration.

'Mantras' remove fear from the mind. They break the thread of repetitive thoughts and bring the mind to the present moment, which is the field of all possibilities. The sound energy of the mantras charges the atoms positively. These vibrations are absorbed by every atom of our body.

'Homas' are ancient ways of purifying the individual and collective
consciousness. There are three aspects

Devapuja -honoring the divine in all its forms,
Sangatikarana -hastening the process of evolution by bringing together the elements of creation and
Dana -sharing what you have been blessed with.

Women are celebrated during these days. In the Hindu mythology, the
three deities Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati representing courage, wealth
and wisdom are celebrated.

‘NAVA’ means ‘nine’ and ‘Ratri’ is made up of ‘Ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘Tri’ meaning the ‘the three aspects of our life, Body, Mind and Soul. So ‘NAVARATRI’ means ‘giving rest to all the three aspects of our life, for nine days’.

The first three days of NAVARATRI, are ‘Tamasic’ days, followed by three ‘Rajasic’ days and ending with three ‘Sattvic’ days. At night, all the artis are performed for the Devi - the enjoyer of everything. So there is classical dance, music and various
musical instruments being played. Each day has special implications, yagnas, poojas and homas are performed.

Our ancestors felt the inadequacy of words and so they expressed themselves with symbols … for instance, we offer flowers and fruit to God. The ‘flower’ is a symbol of what we are - so full, attractive and so light - so beautiful. Fruits are symbols of completeness. In the life cycle of a plant, fruits signify completeness. Also the fruit is the ultimate result. That is how we feel when we offer the symbolic fruit to God with all the gratitude for contentment in life.

We also light lamps. Indian tradition involves tall brass lamps with
a swan carved at the top. This is a very beautiful symbol. It means that with the light of knowledge, one attains ‘Viveka’ a characteristic of the swan. In Sanskrit, it is called ‘Neerakshiraviveka’ meaning a swan can differentiate between milk and water even though both may be mixed.

Similarly, in the context of NAVARATRI, there is a symbolism behind
the ‘bull’ being destroyed by the ‘Devi’. What do we call someone who is very dull, thick skinned and insensitive? A buffalo! Only the Mother Divine can destroy this buffalo with the collective energy of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh! Just as a baby takes nine months to be born, the Devi took nine days to rest and what was born on the tenth day was pure love and devotion, with which the Devi conquered the buffalo of inertia and dullness! Devi Ma is not somebody holding a big ‘trishool’ in one hand. She is a form of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. Therefore, sometimes, the forms taken by this Divine may be that of Ganesha, Chandi (Devi), Vishnu, Shiva….. and the manifestation, in this creation, happens in a mother’s womb…. in silence, secretly. So during these nine days of NAVARATRI when the Master goes into silence, the energy is in the process of getting more and more refined, well-tuned,
to welcome the Mother Divine. This is called ‘Aradhana’.

Ninth day is a day for honoring everything that we have, no matter
how seemingly insignificant, and the tenth day is ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ the
‘victory day’. It is only after we have honored something that we can gain victory over it. This day is celebrated as the victory of the Devi over the evil forces – which is also just ‘Maya’.

The festival of NAVRATRI lasts for nine nights. According to the Hindu calendar NAVRATRI celebration begins from the first day of the bright
fortnight of Ashwin. This festival is fully dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga Mata and her nine forms. These nine days are celebrated
in all over the country with an ardent zeal and enthusiasm. The devotees all over India celebrate the last three days with much solemnity, calm and joy. But on the tenth day, Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.

The festival of NAVARATRI is devoted to the Shakti or the Eternal Mother. This worship is so old in India even in the Vedic era. This opinion was confirmed in the vedas and puranas. The festivities commence on
the first night in the month of Ashwin (October). The vibrant festivities last for ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, 'NAVARATRI'.

NAVARATRI is divided & devoted for the worship of Trinity of Gods in
a female form - three days for Durga (Goddess of Energy) three days
for Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and three days for Sarswati (Goddess of
. On the fifth day, it is traditional to worship Sarswati Mata
to invoke our sprit and knowledge. The eighth and ninth day, it is
traditional to perform Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire) to honour
Durga Mata and bid her farewell. The 10th day, on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil.

NAVARATRI is a combination of various themes, with the common theme
of the victory of good over evil. Some opine that Vijayadashami or
Dusshera is celebrated on the day Lord Rama kills Ravana. According to a Puranic legend, the mighty demon Mahisasur vanquished the gods and their king, Indra. They then approached Brahma,Vishnu and Maheshwar, who decided to destroy the demon, so they all combined their energy, and gave rise to Shakti.

They all prayed to the divine mother Durga to do the needful. Equipped with lethal weapons, riding a ferocious lion, the Goddess in all her
awesome majesty, vanquished the evil one without much ado. The 10th
day, on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or
Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil. Dassera (tenth day) is
one of the significant Hindu festivals, celebrated with much joy in the
entire country.

On the tenth day, the Vijayadasmi day, colossal effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnadh are placed in vast open spaces.
Rama, accompanied by his consort Sita and his brother Lakshmana,
arrive and shoot arrows of fire at these effigies, which are stuffed with
explosive material. The result is a deafening blast, enhanced by the
shouts of merriment and triumph from the spectators. It is significant
that the Lord invoked the blessings of the divine mother, Goddess Durga,
before actually going out to battle. In burning the effigies the people
are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of
virtue and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways
. On this day in the famous Ramleela grounds in Delhi huge effigies of the ten-headed demon king Ravana, Meghanath, his son, and Kumbhakarna, his brother, stuffed with crackers are torched by an arrow to symbolize the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

The festival is also celebrated with intense fervour and zest, in
whole India, in the form of Durga Puja. The vibrant festivities last for
ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, 'NAVARATRI'. But
this festival varies from place to place.

The most famous NAVARATRI celebrations are held on the western states
of India (Gujarat and Maharashtra) in the form of Dandiya and Garba
dances. While dancing the dancers move around in a circle, with different steps around a lamp, which represent the Eternal Light of the Durga Mata. Generally Gujarati women dance around the circles by clapping their hands or decorated sticks to the rhythm of the
devotional songs. After worshipping and 'Aarti', 'Dandiya raas' is performed all through the night.

In West-Bengal, NAVARATRI is the real lyrics of the Bengali life.
This festival is essentially religious in nature. It is celebrated with
true devotion. In the time of Durga Puja huge idols of the Mata Durga
posed as killing the demon Mahishasura are worshipped . Huge 'pandals' are set up every where to worship Durga Mata (Goddess Durga). The tenth day is devoted to the worship of goddess Durga. She is Shakti, the cosmic energy that animates all beings. Beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess are worshipped in elaborate pandals for nine days, and on the ninth day, these are carried out in procession for immersion (visarjan) in a river or pond.

In Maharashtra, NAVARATRI celebration is slightly different than
other states. Here NAVRATRI is dedicated to Goddess Durga while the
Vijayadashami is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. This day is considered auspicious to begin education, buy new homes, start new ventures, and weddings.

The Daserra of Mysore is also quite famous where caparisoned elephants lead a colourful procession through the gaily-dressed streets of the city. During NAVARATRI, Chamundi, the royal deity of the Mysore royalty is worshipped with pomp and pageantry.

In the Kulu valley in Himachal Pradesh, the hill- folk celebrate
Daserra with a grand mass ceremony wherein village deities are taken out in elaborate processions. In Punjab, NAVARATRI is taken as a period of fasting.

In Tamil Nadu, the first three days are dedicated to the worship of
Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. The next three days to Saraswati, Goddess of learning and arts and the last three days to Shakti (Durga).

In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, women arrange 'Bommai Kolu', a special placing of dolls in various costumes decorated with flowers and ornaments on specially prepared steps. Nine young 'kanyas' or virgins are offered new clothes and sweets as the goddesses and married women share flowers, kumkum and snacks among themselves.

Like other festivals in the country, NAVRATRI is a festival that
combines spiritual, cultural and frivolous activities for almost a
fortnight. So it is really an occasion for festivities on a grand scale, which
emanate a genuine feeling of bonhomie and warmth.

NAVRATRI celebrations may vary but the worship of Goddess Durga
remains their sole reason. The deity took different avatars or incarnations, killing nine evil forces or asuras. Each day of NAVRATRI is devoted to one avatar.

The Nine Avatars are

1. Mahakali came into being to kill two rakshasas, Madhu and kaitabh.
After the deluge (Pralay) a lotus grew out of Narayana's navel with
Brahma seated on it. But along with him these two demons were also born -- and they wanted to kill Brahma. In answer to Brahma's frantic prayers,
Mahakali, who stayed in Lord Vishnu's eyes, left him and rose to fight these demons for 500 years. Mahakali changed the demon's mindset and instead of fighting they sought Vishnu's blessings.

2. Once, Mahishasura defeated the gods and began ruling in heaven. The
gods prayed to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. These gods emanated very strong
light from their bodies, which turned into Mahalakshmi (Mahishasuramardhini) and killed Mahishasur.

3. Mahasaraswati or Chamunda eliminated Shumbha and Nishumbha. She was conceived from the powers of God Vishnu. Chamunda also killed another demon, Raktabeej, who could reproduce as many more of himself from each drop of his blood that fell to the ground. But Raktabeej was vanquished with the help of Mahakali who collected his blood on her tongue to stop this senseless reproduction.

4. The fourth avatar safeguarded Krishna from his cruel uncle, Kansa.
Yogamaya was brought to Mathura from Gokul in place of Krishna. In future wars she helped Krishna with her yogic powers, and killed powerful
rakshasas like Chadoor.

5.Then came the ferocious Rakta Dantika who killed Veprachiti Rakshasa.
She drank the demon's blood, hence this name.

6. The sixth avatar was not incarnated to save the usually clumsy demigods. For 100 years, there was a drought on earth. So the sages performed penance and pleased Devi Bhagwati who was born as
Shakumbhari. She brought rain to the parched land.

7. A demon named Durgam had created mayhem. So Lord Vishnu created a goddess. Since she killed Durgam, she was called Durga, and is the most sought after deity. She rides a tiger.

8. A demon named Arun had evil designs on the wives of the demigods so
they changed into wasps and prayed to Durga. Durga changed into a wasp herself and killed the demon. So she came to be known as Bhramari.

9. The last incarnation is Chandika -- she came to kill two demons,
Chanda and Munda.

May you be receipient of Divine Mother's Blessings !

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Foodies Hope, Asha, posted this highly tempting Badam Burfi recipe which made me run to kitchen and the result was awesome!! It didn't have chewy texture, but soft and melt-in-the -mouth texture and equally matching taste! Thanks a million Asha for this recipe.

This was loved by all at home.

Here goes the recipe :

Ingredients :
1 cup badam(almonds)
3/4th cup powdered sugar
Saffron -few strands
2 tbspn thick cream
2 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom

Method :
Dry roast the almonds till a slight aroma comes or for five minutes. Cool it.

Grind the roasted almonds into powder. In a microwaveable glass bowl, mix the powdered almonds, sugar, saffron strands, thick cream, ghee together.

Mw on high power for one minute. Take out, stir with spoon. Keep it back, mv on high for 1 min. Take out stir. This time, the mixture will start bubbling a bit. The stirring is done so that heat is evenly spread into the mixture. Mw again for 1 minute or until the entire mixture starts bubbling, avoid burning it by staying near the mv, peeping in and press cancel action at anytime the bubbling starts.
Grease a plate with ghee, using a spatula, evenly spread the mixture. Score it with knife when surface is slightly cooled.

When it cools completely, say in one hour, cut into pieces, garnish with almonds and relish with milk!!!

Our mouthwatering Badam Burfi treat is ready in a jiffy thanks to microwave!!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mango Mousse

Though the season of mangoes is over, the inclination to eat mango dish always prevails!
In our supermarket, where we buy groceries and provisions, there were these neatly stacked last batch of Egyptian mangoes, which promptly caught my attention. These mangoes though sweet, are a bit fibred. My mind was pacing and scanning my memory for what I could dish out of them...and suddenly I remembered Archana's recipe of Mango Mousse which I had bookmarked for Alphonso mangoes - which during their season went straight from the fridge to mouth...as we all know they are irresistible!! I didn't want to try this recipe with frozen pulp of mango. Hence I picked these Egyptian mangoes to try out this mousse. I must say..... I did.not.regret..!!!!

I made this dish in full compliance to Archana's directions...Here is original.
The picture(s) posted by her is truly stunning!

Here goes the recipe....

Ingredients :
2 ripe mangoes
4 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup sugar
3 large eggs
200 ml Whipping cream

Method :
Wash and peel the mangoes, extract the pulp in a bowl. Blend in mixie or with a hand blender, if not smooth, then strain it for smoother pulp. Mix in honey. Keep aside. In another bowl, cream eggs with sugar in a double boiler, on a low flame with constant stirring until mixture is thick & creamy in consistency. Put off flame, take the bowl on counter, add the condensed milk. Let the mixture come to a room temperature. Mix in the mango mixture into the egg mixture gently and chill for half an hour. Whip the cream till soft peaks form, fold half the quantity of this whipped cream into the chilled mixture. Refrigerate the other half for piping. Chill for 4-6 hours prior to serving.

Pipe the whipped cream on top before serving.
Relish this lip smacking delicacy with friends and family.

Thanks Archana..for posting such a lovely dessert!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Naankatayi / Narayankatar/Baked Maida Biscuits

As kids, we used to gather around a hawker who used to frequent our area on Sundays with a huge slivery-white trunk balanced on his head, which gleamed in the sunlight as he called out to the residents, in that high pitch seller's voice - "Khariiii-ya, Jeera-butter, Naan - katayiii-lo"
His eyes scanning our building for prospective buyers, with head moving from floors to building wings--we used to run home and make our parents call him over to buy the goodies!! Amma used to drop her cooking and beckon this Khaariwala, I used to stare in awe at the neatly arranged delicacies in his huge trunk! He used to sell yummy Maska Khaari, Maska Bataar, Jeera bataar and above all a small pack of neatly stacked Naankatayis!! I used to plead for Naankatar, as they used to melt in the mouth leaving the aroma and taste behind! So 250gms / pav kilo purchase it would be then for that week...not without a warning that it is to be consumed only when handed over by her!!!! Hmmm...Good Old Bachpan!!

Now a quick flash forward from childhood to present....come blog age and a girl bakes them with ease at home, posts the pic,recipe and tips on her blog....tempting enough for me to give it a try a.s.a.p!!! Shilpa thanks for posting this childhood delicacy!! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a similar hawker in Mumbai again..at my in-laws place last year! Of course not only did I buy from him, but also peeped into his trunk for that neat arrangement!!

Coming to the recipe...its as per the original one from Shilpa..

Ingredients :
2 cups Maida
1 cup powdered sugar(not icing sugar)
1 tsp baking soda or baking powder*
1 cup hot melted ghee
1 tbspn ghee for shaping

* This substitute is relevant for Naankatayi only.

Method :
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (first 3 ingr. on list) properly. Pour the hot melted ghee to it and mix in well. Ghee will just soak the dry ingredients enough. Use standard measure for all ingredients. DO NOT ADD WATER. Push the dough to one side of the bowl, there should be no space or cracks. Leave the mixture in the bowl for 5 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or place a foil and apply ghee over it so that Naankatayi's don't stick to the base. Apply ghee on palms for shaping the dough into dome shaped biscuits. Its a bit difficult as they tend to crumble..hence use little pressure on dough with palms and fingers while shaping. Place on the parchment or foil with one inch gap between two. Bake till they crack on top or slightly brown at sides. (30-40 mins approx) depending on ovens.
Remove and cool completely. The above dough yields 2 dozens of Naankatayis.
Sit back and Njoi...don't forget to store the rest in an airtight container.