Last week we had a series of festivals called Dussera (also known as Navarathri). Traditionally we have ten days of celebration and this means lots of sweets and snacks. The most important of these festivals for us is Ayudha Pooja. It's a special occasion reserved to give thanks to all the tools, machines and vehicles we are blessed with.
On the day of Ayudha Pooja this year, hubby and I made a simple sweet and snack combination for Naiveidhyam (offering to the Gods and Goddesses). Something quick and delicious which we could eat and share.
Whatever is cooked with the intention of being placed at the altar as a food offering should only be eaten by us after the ritual is over. So while we prepare the food, we don't have the luxury of tasting and adjusting. But for some reason, every time we make Naiveidhyam food, it turns out perfect! This always reminds me that the taste of a dish is largely dependent on the energy and intention of love that goes into preparing it. Positive vibrations always yield beautiful results. :)
Sundal is a savory dish made of Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas. We can use any kind of chick peas to make these but this time we had Kabuli Channa (the larger ones) on hand so we used them. I normally follow the quick soak method to soak pulses but this time I soaked them overnight.
1 C Dry Chickpeas
2 Chopped Green Chillies
2 tsp Coconut Oil
Asafoetida Powder (a pinch)
Wash and soak the chickpeas over night (about 8 hours). Throw out the water, add fresh water and steam for 45 minutes or pressure cook for about 15 minutes until the chickpeas are soft.
In a wide, heavy bottomed pan heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add the chopped green chillies, asafoetida powder and curry leaves and stir for a half a minute.
Now add the cooked chickpeas and salt and a wee bit of the cooking liquid and cook on medium high heat while stir frying continuously. After about 5 mintues of this, once the water has evaporated, add the dessicated coconut and toss well and turn off the heat.
Mix in the lime juice and garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot.
Payasam is a liquidy dessert which is best eaten hot. It is served at the beginning of traditional South Indian meals.
Payasam can be made with many things - Rice, Dals, Tapioca, Semiya (fine semolina noodles), Broken Wheat etc... This time we made Channa Dal (Split Bengal Gram) Payasam.
1 C Channa Dal
1/4 C Dessicated Coconut
1/4 C Grated Jaggery
6 tsp Sugar
1 T Chopped Cashews
1 t Raisins
2 Cardamom Pods (crushed well with a stone/hammer/mortar and pestle)
Soak the channa dal for an hour. Add dessicated coconut and steam (in the soaking water) for half an hour.
Meanwhile, dry roast the cashews to a golden color, add the raisins and stir for a few seconds, until they brown slightly. Keep aside.
Once the channa is ready, add jaggery and sugar and mix well. Bring to a simmer on medium heat and stir till the sugar and jaggery have dissolved. Add the crushed cardamom, lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes.
Turn off the heat and serve hot.