CELEBRATING THE FESTIVITIES (GANESH CHATURTHI)

Ganesh Chaturthi is a highly preferred and most popular festival of the Hindu religion. It is celebrated annually in the month of August or September with big enthusiasm. It is celebrated as a birth anniversary of the Lord Ganesha.He is the God of wisdom and prosperity so people in Hindu religion worship him to get the same.
Though Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated in Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and many other parts of the country, prasad or naivedyam may differ from region to region.
Modaks and ladoos are the favorite sweets of lord ganesha and often served as naivedhyam or bhog to lord ganesha. Most people make modaks on the first day of ganesh chaturthi festival in Maharashtra.

Popular recipes which are made during ganesh chaturthi festival are:

1) Steamed modak
ukadiche or steamed modak is the most popular modak. It is also sold in many sweets shop during ganesh chaturthi festival.

2) Varan bhaat
In English, varan bhaat would read as lentil-rice where varan stands for lentil curry or stew and bhaat means steamed rice. varan can vary from region to region.Maharashtrian varan and has fresh coconut added to it with minimal spices.

3) Alu vadi or patra
Alu vadi also known as patra is stuffed, rolled colocasia leaves snack that is popular in both maharashtrian and gujarati cuisine. The colocasia leaves are smeared with a sweet, spicy and tangy besan or gram flour paste and stacked upon each other. they are then rolled and steamed. the steamed rolls are then tempered or fried.

4) Batata bhaji
Maharashtrian style of making potato subzi. It is also known as batata sukhi bhaji. Batata=potatoes, sukhi=dry and bhaji=subzi/curry.
Batata bhaji is a mild dish which does not require any spice powder except turmeric powder. Still it is very flavorful and yummy potato side dish. Green chilies and curry leaves are added in the tempering aka tadka. Curry leaves gives a nice aroma.

5)Rishi panchami sabzi
A Maharashtrian delicacy made of mix vegetables.

6) Kala vatana amti (Black pea curry)
No onion no garlic coconut based black peas curry. tastes best with rice pooris, bhakris, ambolis (a dosa variety) and steamed rice.

7) Puran poli
A sweet flat bread that is specially made for ganesh chaturthi or any other festive occasion.

8) Rice pooris or wheat pooris
Soft fluffy pooris made with rice flour. These pooris go well with kale vatanyche amti or sambar.

Other popular recipes prepared during this festival:
1)Suran chips
2)Kothimbir vadi
3)Poha chiwda
4)Panchamrut
5)Shrikhand.

RECIPE TIME!

**Ukadiche modak or steamed modak**

– Ingredients
For The Dough
2 cups rice flour (chawal ka atta)

For The Filling
1 1/4 cups grated jaggery (gur)
2 cups freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp poppy seeds (khus-khus)
1/2 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder

Other Ingredient
1 tsp ghee for kneading and greasing

-Method

For the dough

1)Boil 1¾ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan.
2)Place the rice flour in a deep bowl and add the boiled water gradually. Mix well using a spoon in the beginning and then knead into a soft and smooth dough.
3)Cover with a lid and keep aside for 10 minutes.

For the filling
1)Heat a deep non-stick pan, add the jaggery and cook on a slow flame for 1 to 2 minutes or till the jaggery melts, while stirring continuously.
2)Add the coconut, poppy seeds and cardamom powder, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 4 to 5 minutes or till all the moisture evaporates and the mixture thickens. Keep aside to cool slightly.
3)Divide the filling into equal portions and keep aside.

How to proceed
1)Knead the dough once again using ½ tsp of ghee and keep aside.
2)Grease a modak mould using very little ghee and close it.
3)Take a portion of the dough, press it into the cavity of the modak mould till it is evenly lined on all the sides.
4)Fill the dough cavity with a portion of the filling.
5)Take a smaller portion of the dough and spread it evenly at the base of the modak mould so as to seal the filling.
6)Demould the modak from the modak mould.
7)Repeat steps 2 to 7 to make the remaining modaks.

Once the ukadiche modaks are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on the modaks. the ukadiche modaks are ready to be offered to lord ganesha.

NOTE:- In Hindi, colocasia leaves are called as arbi ke patte. In Marathi, colocasia leaves are known as alu or aloo, whereas in hindi alu or aloo is the term for potatoes.

CELEBRATING THE FESTIVITIES (NAVROZ)

Festivals are the periods of celebration and are an important part of life of Indian people. When religion intervened to invest the festivals with spiritual meaning, this joy came to be identified with the joy of worship.

The Festivals of India are still associated with religion and participation in the productive activities and with the seasons of the year.

The month of August calls for numerous festivals. We recently celebrated Navroz or Pateti. It is basically the Parsi New Year, which is all set to close all the accounts of the last year and begin with the new year. On the day of Pateti, the parsis visit the fire temple. It is said that the sacred fire was brought from Iran once upon a time and is always kept burning in the temple by the priest.
This festival signifies that it is the time to forget and forgive wrong and sins of previous year and start a new year of love and peace.

There’s nothing quite like a splendid Navroz meal. It all starts at breakfast when plates of sweet sev (vermicelli) are served at breakfast table together with sweet dahi. Home is decorated with colourful chawk patterns (rangoli) and torans (flower garlands) swing from the door.

Here are some dishes that are prepared to celebrate this festival.

1) RAVO
Ravo is a sweet dish which is their utmost specialty. Ravo or semolina marks the start of the auspicious day which is prepared by lightly frying the semolina before dousing it with great amount of creamy milk. The complete dish looks like pearls adorned on thick creamy layer . One can enjoy it with dry fruits soaked with ghee and buttered bread or tea.

2) PAATRANI MACCHI

When it comes to non-veg every culture has their own recipes since traditional times. This is the trademark of Parsis, using mild green chutney to coat the fish before they wrap it in banana leaves and then steam it. Pomfret or Kingfish is usually used to prepare this dish. Coconut chutney filling made up of coriander, chilies, mint, and lemons adds up to make it mouth watering.

3) SEV OR MALIDO
Usually served at the fire temple, this dish contains nutmeg-scented sweet curd. This is the best way to start Pateti.

4) DHANSAK
This delicious and popular Parsi dish can be made with chicken or lamb. You can even omit the meat altogether and go vegetarian. Dhansak is traditionally served with Brown Rice and Kachumbar salad.

5) SALLI BOTI
It gets its name from Salli (meaning sticks) for the potato sticks in it and Boti which means chunks of meat. Serve with a green salad and hot, fresh Chapatis, Parathas or Naans.

OTHER PARSI DISHES
1)Lagan Nu Custard
2)Parsi saffron rice
3)Chicken farcha
4)Saas Ni Machhi
5)Parsi Mutton Kebab.

RECIPE TIME!

*PAATRANI MACCHI*

For Parsis, the fish is a symbol of good luck and prosperity – it is transformed into mithai, used in the chawk decorations that adorn the threshold of their homes and crafted into little silver creatures that sit in the seas (ceremonial tray).

– Ingredients

6 slices pomfret
2 tsp salt
8 pieces banana leaves

~For the chutney
1 fresh coconut, grated
1 stalk fresh coriander
8 pieces green chilies
1 tbsp cumin seeds
5 pieces garlic cloves
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice

– Method

1) Grind coconut, chopped coriander leaves, green chilies, cumin seeds and garlic cloves to make the chutney.
2)Add sugar, salt and lemon juice to the same.
3)Cut banana leaves vertically and keep the centre stalk aside.
Coat each slice of fish with the chutney.
4)Lay the cut leaves across each other, whilst keeping the fish in the center.
5)Start rolling the fish along with the leaf.
6)Keep the stalks of the leaves in a pan with hot water.
Place the rolled fish on the stalks.
7)Allow to steam for 30 minutes or more until the fish is cooked.
Serve hot.

INDIAN CUISINE

“INDIAN FOOD IS A LUXURY ON TOUR.”
The history of Indian cooking has evolved along the Indian history. India has ancient cultural heritage which is dependent on religious, geography and socio-economic conditions. Traditionally Indian cooking has been handed down through the generations by demonstrations and word of mouth,
India is where Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism were born. With Jainisms and Buddhism stressing on áhimsa’ many became vegeterians.
The art of Indian cuisine lies not in high spicing, but in delicacy of spicing.
The bases of Indian meal are rice, wheat, millets, depending upon the regions. It is generally eaten with lentils or pulses, vegetables and savoury pickles or chutneys.

POPULAR INDIAN DISHES.

Tamatar shorba- An Indian tomato soup, no chilli spice, but flavourful spices such as cloves, ginger, garlic, pepper corns, bay leaf,etc. Base is formed by tomatoes.

Yakhni- Rich mutton stock with mild spices.

Aam ka panna- Thin liquidy pulp of green mango, boiled and mixed with sugar, salt and spices.

Rasam – Flavourful tamarind liquid with tomatoes and spices. This dish can be served with rice or as a soup course.

Jaljeera paani- Flavourful, tasty water prepared with lime juice or tamarind extract and flavourful spices.

Murgh Tandoori- Marinaded chicken in spiced yogurt and colour, ginger paste and cooked in an Indian oven, tandoor.

Paneer tandoori- Paneer dipped in yogurt marinade and baked on an iron road in an Indian oven, tandoor.

Mutton korma- Lamb’s meat or goat’s meat pieces marinaded in curd and flavourfu sics, cooked well and served with rice or Indian leavened bread.

Mutton roghanjosh – Well fried mutton pieces in spices, onions, tomatoes and served with thick gravy.

Patrani macchi- Parsee dish. Fish with spices, mint, etc in cooked in banana leaf.
POPULAR INDIAN CUISINES

Bengali cuisine- Fish is very popular and the dishes are prepared in mustard oil. Poppy seeds are used in some preparations. Mishti doi, a sweetened yogurt is very popular. Some other popular dishes are Moori, Loochi, Singharas, Sandesh, Bhajas, Sorse dharosh, ras malai, etc.

Punjabi cuisine- The dishes are rich and has a distinctive flavour and taste. Ome popular dishes are Bhatura chole, Sarson da saag, Makke ki roti, Kormas, Rajma, Paranthe, Halwa, Gucchi matar, etc.

Gujarati cuisine- The heaven of vegeterians. The dishes have a sweet taste. Little sugar is added even to salty dishes. Millets, Barley, wheat are widely used. Some popular dishes are Khaman dhokla, Batata shak, Kadi, Khandvi, Oondhiya, Doodh pak.
Chiwdas are very popular- fried and mixed with salt, spices, almonds, rasins.

Goan cuisine- The Portugese influenced. Fish is widely eaten.The Christians eat bread and the hindus eat chappaties. The Goanese food is sour and spicy. Kokum, a sour fruit is extensively used. Some popular dishes are Goan Prawn masala , Pork Vindaloo,, Gon fish curry, Chicken xacuti.

South Indian cuisine includes the cuisines of the five southern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu andTelangana. The similarities[citation needed] among the five states’ cuisines include the presence of rice as a staple food, the use of lentils and spices, dried red chilies and fresh green chilies, coconut, and native fruits and vegetables including tamarind, plantain, snake gourd, garlic, and ginger. The four cuisines have much[citation needed] in common and differ primarily[citation needed] in the spiciness of the food.
Kerala, Tamil Nadu, south and coastal Karnataka and most parts of Andhra Pradesh use more rice[citation needed]. People also consume Ragi in large quantities in southern Karnataka. North Karnataka, on the other hand, consumes more bajra and jowar[citation needed], while the Telangana state uses more jowar and bajra.

Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with the cuisine of the Marathi people from the state of Maharashtra in India. It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with the wider Indian cuisine. .Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from having mild to very spicy dishes Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staples of the Maharashtrian diet. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables. Traditionally, Maharashtrians have considered their food to be more austere than that of other regions in India. meat has traditionally been used quite sparsely or only by the well off until recently because of economic conditions and culture.

SPICES USED IN WESTERN AND INDIAN COOKERY.

Down through the ages, India has been known as the land of spices. Sweet or pungent, aromatic and seductive spices have played a special part in life, legend and ritual of the country.
The primary function of spices in Indian food is to improve the flavour of the dish. Many sices such as cloves, corriander, cumin seeds, cinnamon, etc. because of their volatile oil contents, impart various flavours to the food.
Besides enhancing the flavour and aroma of the food, spices have a phychological action beneficial to our system. They act as a stimulus to the digestive system and help digestion in many ways.
Some spices are used to give colour to food and to improve eye appeal.
Example, adding turmeric in yellow rice.

All palates do not crave highly spiced foods, yet most people demand that food should be adequately spiced. Even the people of the West, particularly the English and Americans who have a tradition of bland food, are now introducing a variety of spices into their dishes and appreciating the added charm in the food.

To enhance the flavour and aromas of foods, spices may be used whole or grounded, as in pualos or biryani.
Indian cooks are the artists in the use of spices.

CLOVES
A very old and important spice, the clove was known before the time of the early Egyptians. The word is taken from the Latin word ‘Clavus’ and the French word ‘clou’ both meaning nail.
Cloves are used in both, Westren and Indian dishes, both savoury and sweet, example. Pulaos, fruit salads, bechamel sauce, baked apple, etc.

NUTMEG AND MACE
These are the only known cases of two different spices from the same fruit. Nutmeg is grown in the Dutch East Indies and Geranada in the British west Indies. The nutmeg fruit resembles an apricot in size and shape. What we call nutmeg is the seed. It is protected by a thin shell, the has a coat of orangy flesh which dries into mace. Nutmeg is used in Western and Indian dishes in puddings, for flavouring eggs and egg and milk in some curries. Mace is used to flavour sauces, stocks, sweet dishes, etc.

MUSTARD
A product of great antiqiuty and grown in most parts of the world, mustard is used in both Western and Indian preparations. It is used in the West in powdered form, as a table condiment and for flavouring sauces, etc.

CINNAMON
It is harvested during the rainy season when piable and then dried into curls sold as sticks or ground into a powder.With its warm, sweet flavor, cinnamon is one of the biggest workhorses on the spice shelf. Cooks often use it to flavor baked goods and drinks, but cinnamon also works wonders in stews and sauces. The best cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon also known as true cinnamon.

CARDAMOM
Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild.
Cardamom comes from the seeds of a ginger-like plant. The small, brown-black sticky seeds are contained in a pod in three double rows with about six seeds in each row. The pods are between 5-20 mm (1/4”-3/4”) long, the larger variety known as ‘black’, being brown and the smaller being green. White-bleached pods are also available. The pods are roughly triangular in cross section and oval or oblate. Their dried surface is rough and furrowed, the large ‘blacks’ having deep wrinkles. The texture of the pod is that of tough paper.

PEPPER
This is obtained from the seeds or berries of the plant ‘piper nigrum’ which grows in Malabar and other places in India. Pepper is one of the most universally popular spices and is used in every type of savoury dish to improve flavour.
Types of peppers-
Black pepper,
White pepper,
Chili pepper
Cayenne pepper.

TURMERIC
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Indian traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric for medicine. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine.

Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, but is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes.

GINGER
Ginger is a zesty spice native to southeastern Asia. The ginger root familiar to most people is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant. Its name is thought to come from the Sanskrit name ‘Singabera’, meaning “horn-shaped,” probably a reference to the fact that ginger root sometimes resembles a horn.

This aromatic and pungent root has been around for millenium.
Ginger is often associated with Asian cooking, and commonly used in stir-fries, but its spicy, zesty taste is also delicious in beverages, baked goods, marinades and on fruit and vegetables. For culinary use, ginger can be used dried or fresh, though the fresh root has much more flavor and taste than dried ginger.

CUMIN SEEDS
Widely popular for their distinctive spice flavor, cumin seeds are commonly featuring ingredients in the North African, Middle-East, Western Chinese, Indian, Cuban and North Mexican cuisine. The spice is native to Middle-East Asian region, and today, grown all over the world for its pleasantly aromatic seeds.

(Book referred – Modern cookery)