Today is Ashtami, and there is a time-tested food tradition of making sooji ka halwa, puri and kala channa, especially in north Indian homes. Meanwhile, the festivities for Durga Puja kicked in yesterday. It’s marked by Bhoger khichuri, elaborate thalis and lots of mishti. Bhoger khichuri is cooked in a community kitchen under strict rules, offered to the goddess as prasad, and then distributed among visiting worshippers. Most shy away from making it at home. But, one can prepare a festive thali with posto, begun bhaja and mishti doi. Here are a whole host of recipe ideas for the festivities this week.
Ashtami-special halwa puri
The combination of puffy Atta puris, spicy kala channa and warm halwa is pure perfection. Balancing flavours and textures, these are made during Ashtami and involves an elaborate ceremony of feeding several people. Even if one doesn’t have the time or energy for rituals, it’s hard to deny the craving (or curiosity) for this festive special. If there’s something you need to make today or this week, make it this Ashtami-special halwa-puri.
Durga Puja Veg Thali
There are 12 items in this video by Bong Eats; an YouTube channel considered to be an authority on Bengali recipes. You can choose to make all or just a few. There are classics like shukto, potol posto and plastic chutney. The idea is to get into a celebratory mood or satisfy a craving for Bengali food, and learn something new in the process. If you are short on time and have to pick just one, opt for mishti doi or payesh.
Mutton is an integral part of celebrations and the slow-cooked kosha mangsho is a favourite. It’s served with warm luchis or fragrant pulao. Don’t worry about leftovers, because it tastes better the following day. Be sure to make extra to distribute among friends and family.