Thursday, October 18, 2007

Navarathri goodies!

Got to love dussehra - dolls, dolling up, socializing, trading stories and catching up (often after a whole year!), eating, more eating ... :)

This year, I chose to experiment a bit with our traditional sundal, snacks and dessert recipes and come up with some variations. I started this post several days ago, but the week has been expectedly packed, I'm glad I'm getting to post about these before Navarathri is actually over! :)

Obviously, we needed a sundal of sorts - can't really do without that! After poking around the stuff we had on hand, I finally decided to make a mixed sundal - green channa, kaala channa, garbanzo and corn! The corn was truly a killer addition - the sweetness totally offset the tartness of the lemon juice and added to the crunchiness of the coconut. Yay for a sundal variation!

Sundal Medley
A zillion servings!

2 cups green channa
2 cups kaala channa

1 can chickpeas

1 can corn
3 red chillies - finely chopped
2 green chillies - finely chopped

1 T mustard
1 T cumin

1 t asafoetida

1 T sesame oil

1 t turmeric powder

3 T grated ginger

10-12 curry leaves

1 cup fresh coconut gratings

juice from 2 lemons


Soak the channa in warm water for a few hours and then cook them till tender. Heat the sesame oil and add the mustard. Once it sputters, add the jeera, red and green chillies, ginger, asafoetida and curry leaves. Add the channa, garbanzo and corn. Sprinkle with turmeric and salt and simmer for a few more minutes. Finally toss with the grated coconut and lemon juice.

Happy, very happy!

So, we needed another snack - hmm ... poha? We often make poha for navarathri - sometimes like upma, sometimes with lemon or tamarind. But lately, the poha at the indian stores have not been thick enough and get all clumpy - I really don't like that! So, I went back and forth between using poha and basmati rice and finally settled on poha. Well, that was a minor mistake. I wanted to make mango poha - with a ton of grated raw mango and it ended up all clumpy! Minor disaster! After a few minutes of panicking, I figured I could salvage it by making patties out of the poha and baking them. Hmm ... worth a try!

Used-to-be-poha patties
another zillion servings!

1 lb poha (thickest available)
2 red chillies - chopped
a handful of peanuts
1 t mustard

1 t urad dal
1 T channa dal

2 raw mangoes - grated

1 t turmeric

10 curry leaves

1 t oil

Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard. Once it sputters, throw in the curry leaves, peanuts, urad dal, channa dal and red chillies. Once browned, add the grated mango, turmeric and salt. Cook for a few minutes. In the meantime, add some water to the poha to soften it. This often ends up being tricky - I add a little water at a time, wait for it to soak up and then add more. The poha seemed pretty happy till I added the mango mix and then it seemed a little too clumpy.

*grrr*! Time to bake! Heat oven to 450 F. Grease a large baking tray and make patties out of handfuls of the poha mix and bake these in the oven for about 20 minutes. Flip the patties over, douse them with some oil spray and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Wow! These turned out pretty good. Really, really surprising, but we were pretty kicked about it :)

Ok, we obviously needed a dessert here. I had read about Ganne ka kheer and really wanted to try it out, but I could only land my hands on a can of sugarcane at my fave latino store La Espinola. I proceeded to extract the juice out of the sugarcane stalks (?!!) using a juicer. Well, 45 minutes and achy hands later, I had about a cup of juice - figured that would have to do! Since that wasn't much juice, I decided to maybe make a kheer with nuts as well as the rice cooked in sugarcane. Hmm ... what we ended up with was a lot different :)

Sugarcane-banana cake in cashew-pistachio milk
Many many servings

Sugarcane-banana cake

3/4 cup of basmati rice

1 cup sugarcane juice

3 overripe bananas

5 green cardamoms

8 slices of white bread

I cooked about 3/4 cup of rice in the sugarcane juice + 1 cup of water for about 20 minutes till the rice was completely cooked and soft. I tossed in the cardamom and bananas and cooked for another 5 minutes, mashing the rice+bananas along the way. While the mixture cooled, I ground up the bread slices into fresh crumbs. The last step here was the mix the bread crumbs with the rice/banana mix, pour it into a cake pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 F.

Cashew-Pistachio Milk


5 cups nonfat milk
1 can condensed milk

a handful of unsalted cashews

another handful of unsalted pistachios

2 T saffron

I cooked the nuts in the milk for about ten minutes. Once cooled, I pureed this milk and set it back on the stove on simmer. Next, I added the condensed milk and saffron kept stirring the milk till it boiled and got thicker. It took another 15-20 minutes of constant stirring before the milk was thick enough for the dessert.

Ok, so the final assembly of our dessert involved submerging a piece of the sugarcane-banana cake in a cup of the milk till it completely soaked up the flavors and got all soft and sweet and yummy! Kind of contrived, a little complicated but totally worth it! :)

Ok, Lakshmi has convinced me, this has got to be my submission for Jihva's Festive Series :) Thanks, Lakshmi!


Padmaja said...

happy dasara Kaykat!!so many goodies for navrathri? and i love all of them!! yummy!!

Sia said...

wishing u a very happy navaratri and thats a feast u cooked for the festival:)

ANI said...

Wow.. very creative entries.. yeah, it happens a lot with poha. Its delicate thing to handle.

Swaroopa said...

surely goodies!! i loved all of them. BTW where do u get sugar cane juice? wanna try the cake & shake....

Siri said...

Lovely.. loved all the dishes.. nice experiment with sundal..:)

Asha said...

Ooh, I am loving the feast. Specialy Cahew and pistachio payasa with cake. Very unique combo!:)
My post will be next week after the Navratri!;p

lakshmi said...

corn is such a clever addition - delightful. very unusual cooking for navrathri - i loved the idea of sugarcane banana cake with kaju pita milk. you can send this to Vee for JFI (and perhaps to Viji for RCI? - unusual perhaps but i like the menu :) )

Sirisha Kilambi said...

Kaykat....What yummy looking dishes....Love to have each one of them dear...Happy Navrathri to u and ur family :-)

Sandeepa said...

Happy Dussera/Navratri did cook up alot of stuff. I am going to eat out this season;-)

bee said...

each of those recipes is very special and unusual. i think the corn in the sundal is brilliant.

Saju said...

what a wonderful array of dishes, each one looks more tastier than the last one.
Happy Dasarato you

sra said...

You've described the taste of the corn in the sundal really well, and that picture's beautiful. It's 11 pm, I've just had a late dinner and I'm lusting over the dessert in your post.

Nabeela said...

Looks like a lot of experimenting is going on here ;)
Whats with the gazillion servings? :D

Kribha said...

I'm absolutely drooling at your pics. That's a really nice variation from the regular sundals. Clap clap for coming up with this. You are so creative. Cashew-pistachio milk looks DELICIOUS. Bookmarked everything.Thanks for sharing.

TBC said...

Happy Dasera/Navratri!

Puspha said...

WOW!!!! Awesome spread.

Namratha said...

Bravo!! Bravo!! I sure wouldn't mind a zillion servings of all what you've made now...yumm yumm yummy! :) Happy Dasara!

Cynthia said...

Okay, while you may have checked back to see the pics on my blog about 10 times, I've been starting at your for the equivalent of that number of visits :)

Thanks for your lovely comments and I am so happy that you visited and helped me to discover your blog!

Redchillies said...

Kaykat, totally bowleed over by your creativity. First I thought I loved your idea of green/black chana and corn. What more do I see? Baked poha. That is awesome! Great going.

Pravs said...

Happy dasara. Very unique dishes. Looks yummy.

VegeYum said...

Navrati Blessings to you. Really enjoyed your navrati post. So many goodies. Thank you.


Like all the recipes..your sundal looks delicious and healthy!!thanx for sharing the recipes..:))

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Yum! These look like wonderful tasty little morsels! I love snacks!

Superchef said...

i love sundal of all varieties!!! verry creative entry...

Linda said...

Your festival dishes are beautiful, and all sound delicious! I'm especially craving a taste of that sugarcane banana cake -- I must look for sugarcane to try this :)

Sig said...

Love the sundal medley... beautiful pic :)