Incredible INDIA! The Land of Fairs, Festivals and Varieties of FOOD in INDIA

Durga Puja is famous festival in west Bengal
Durga Puja is famous festival in west Bengal

Festivals are a great time to experience Indian food varieties! This is one time when food speaks volumes about the region, people and the rituals observed by them. For example, Diwali or Deepavali—the festival of lights, celebrated around November, is a popular North Indian festival very typical of its fried delicacies, foods prepared in ghee and dry fruits. Some rare sweets such as phenori, which require elaborate preparation, are also exchanged during Diwali.

Sankranti, another popular Indian festival, is celebrated with great fervour and difference across India in the month of January. In the West, Konkani or Marathi women prepare and exchange sugar coated seeds and nuts called Til-Gul of different colours. However, down South, in Tamil Nadu, people celebrate Sankranti as Pongal with new ornaments, clothes and sweet candies. They also worship harvested crops. Exchange of til, jaggery peanuts and fried gram, is a popular ritual in other parts of the country.

Durga Puja finds a special place among Indian festivals. An important festival of West Bengal, it is celebrated around the month of October. It lasts for six whole days starting from the fifth day of the lunar cycle and ends with the immersion of the sacred idols in the river Ganges. Decorated pandals, lights, children, community pujas with blaring music is a common sight. The city of joy, Kolkata, comes alive and the streets are cramped with people and celebrations. Pandal hopping, feasting and fasting are some other rituals observed by the Bengali community.

Some popular recipes include delicious sweet treats such as the Rosogulla, Kaju Barfi, Kalakand , Kalebi and Rasmalai among others. Patishapta is another favourite, a sweet stuffed with dry fruits and coconut and layered with flour. This is also prepared during Makar Sankranti and Diwali. Crunchy snacks are also easy to prepare and light. Mishti Doi cannot be missed if you’re in Kolkata, during Durga Puja or even otherwise. It is a delight prepared from full cream milk and sugar.

Further East, in Assam, another festival is celebrated with great fervour and difference. Yes, it is Bihu, and what essentially makes it different is that it is celebrated in three months – April, January and October. Among all other rituals and celebrations, it is the Bihu dance that occupies most prominence during this festival.

Feasting is again an important highlight for this festival like others. Pitha or Pithe is prepared with the batter of wheat or rice flour and filled with sweet savoury ingredients. Larus is another traditional recipe prepared from coconut and rice. Finally, it is the Jolpan or breakfast that occupies a very special place during this time. Anything can be served as Jolpan such as Pitha, laddu, tea, roti, ghugni (dry fried kala channa), luchi (puri) and paranthas.

India Folk Dance Bihu from Assam

India is diverse in its culture, language, topography, festivals and obviously food! Not to mention, that herbs and spices find a very special place in the Indian kitchen. Right from the assortment of dishes to the variations in cooking styles, every region, place, restaurant, hotel or dhaba has its own discernible flavour and quality.

Here am going to write about North Indian Recipe, In another hub am going to write about remaining Indian Special Recipes from Different Parts of India


Delhi

Dal Makhani is a favorite North Indian dish! It is a staple from the Punjab region. It typically differs from other Punjabi dal dishes such as Dal Tadka or Dal Fry. This dish found its way into northern India and abroad post partition when entrepreneurial Punjabi migrants introduced it to locals.

Dal Makhani

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Urad dal
  • 500 g Tomato puree
  • 4 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tsp Degi mirch powder
  • 1tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Kasoori methi
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 250 g Butter
  • 100 g Desi ghee
  • 250 g Cream
  • 50 ml Oil

Method

  • Soak the dal for a few hours (preferably overnight); strain and put it in 100 ml of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and rub it for 30 seconds and wash it. (This will remove the black colour).
  • Cover the dal with water and boil until it splits into two. Once cooked and split, strain and cool it down.
  • Now in a handi, add approximately 2 litres of water, Degi mirch, salt and 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the water starts boiling, add the cooked dal and take it off the heat.
  • Now leave the handi on a mouth of the tandoor for approximately 5-6 hours; as the tandoor would cool down, the dal would keep simmering and become quite soft. Alternatively, simmer the pot on the stove until the dal becomes soft.
  • Now add desi ghee and ginger-garlic paste in a pot and sauté it. Add the tomato puree, chilli powder and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Then add the cooled dal; add salt to taste, butter and slowly emulsify the butter.
  • Once the butter is emulsified, add the cream, garam masala and kasoori methi and stir the dal to mix in all the ingredients well; simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with a cube of butter and dash of cream. Serve with butter nan or tandoori roti.

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