Maha Ashtami – Durga Puja

Ziddi Tamana

Today us Durga Ashtami. It is one of the most celebrated festivals for Hindus. The Goddess is bathed and dressed for the battle, where she kills the buffalo-demon, Mahishasur. It is believed that in the old days, a buffalo was offered as sacrifice to the goddess. These days bananas, pumpkins and cucumbers replaced the animal.

Devotees celebrated the day yesterday with elaborate rituals since early morning across the India and the world.

D and celebrated by making channay and halwa and by doing aarti first thing in the morning.

Here’s a quick recipe to make kalay channay (black chickpeas):

1. Soak chickpeas over night in water
2. In the morning, in a steel pot heat ghee (butter) and jeera (cumin)
3. Once the jeera begins sizzling and turns golden brown, add salt, pepper, curry powder, green chili, red chili powder and haldi (turmeric)
4. Let all ingredients cook for a…

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Recipe of the Week: Masala Rice

A while ago, I posted a pilaf rice recipe, my neighbor absolutely loves that recipe and when I make it, she gets a big bowl of it for lunch and dinner. But recently, I’ve started experimenting with spices and ingredients and one of my experiments was a big success. I’ve added a twist to old pilaf recipe and spiced things up. It’s become a big hit in my home and with my friends. They love it because it’s a filling, hearty solution when you don’t know what you want to eat but crave a savory meal. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 whole black peppers
  • 2-3 black cardamom
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 tsp. jeera (cumin seeds)
  • salt to taste (1-2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1-2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (I use the mix with carrots, corn and snow peas – soak in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 2 cups rice (washed and soaked for 10 mins)
  • 4 cups water (remember, one part rice to two parts water)
  • 1 chopped large onion (I like red onion because it adds color to the dish)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 1/2 chopped tomato
  • 1 cup nutri (soya chunks – soaked and lightly salted)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat oil in a large pot, add black cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, whole black pepper and let sizzle until all the ingredients brown and swell.
  • Add jeera and let cook until golden brown.
  • Add onions and chopped ginger and cook until onions are translucent.
  • Add dry spices; ginger powder, salt, pepper, red chilli powder, garam masala, haldi, curry powder and chopped vegetable bouillon, cook until oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well. Cook until all ingredients nicely mixed into a thick paste.
  • Add thawed mixed vegetables and mix until all are coated with the paste.
  • Add nutri (soya chunks) and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add rice and water and mix paste into the rice.
  • Turn heat on high and bring to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, lower heat to the least setting and cover.
  • Cook mixture for about 15-17 minutes without removing cover.
  • Remove from heat after rice is fully cooked and serve with yogurt.

Voila! You’ve just made masala rice. I know there are ton of ingredients that go into this recipe. But if you’re like me, you’ve already got most of these spices in your kitchen and if you don’t 95% of local grocery stores (especially in Canada) will have small packages of these items that you can buy for cheap.

Enjoy your new go-to meal and do let me know how enjoy it!

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