Sunday, November 11, 2007

The roughest Deepavali ever


Earlier this week, we had plans for a Deepavali dinner, maybe some lights, no fireworks (not a big fan of those anymore), a shot at cultural immersion of sorts ... I go back and forth on these festival days, the nostalgia aspect of celebration is pretty high since we celebrated every festival and puja growing up. However, I'm not too big on any conservative or overly (note the highly subjective usage :)) traditional notions behind festivals - a classic example being Karadiyar Nombu - when women pray for the well-being of the men in the family ... hmm, not be a bad idea, but it does bug me that there are no puja days when the men honor the women!

Back to Deepavali 2007 and what became of it ... wednesday evening involved a reasonably non-threatening visit to the vet -
Vodka's had this weird-looking hotspot on his side that was bugging me enough to warrant a trip to Redwood. Well, after a long physical, several needle aspirations and a short wait, he was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. And he was scheduled for surgery yesterday. I staggered out of the clinic, my head swimming with worst-case scenarios and illogical fears. Well, things seem a little better now - he's out of surgery (looking like he's been through a battle!) and recovering, the next week is going to be long and tedious - as we await the results of the biopsy. *bleh*

Anyway, all this made for a toned down Deepavali - but it did involve food, some of which Vodka sampled :) I was craving something comforting, yet festive - Bisi Bele Huli Anna - roughly translates to hot lentils with tamarind and rice, I believe. There are a zillion recipes for BBB out there, I mostly worked with what my mum told me - one of the big differences about her recipe is the 1.25:1 ratio of rice:lentils - I really like this proportion - makes the BBB a lot more chunky and earthy. The other thing I usually do is bake the BBB at 275 F for about 30-40 minutes -this gets the flavors to soak in quite a bit. Given my sleep-deprived state, I'm probably going to skip posting the details of the recipe since there are a zillion awesome versions out there, like here, here and here and more.


Often, a raita brings out the BBB flavors better than anything else - so that's what we went with. A simple carrot and pomegranate raita - very refreshing.


Well, Deepavali warrants a dessert - that was my excuse for trying out a variation of this walnut barfi recipe that my friend Yamini emailed me about the other day.


Nut Barfi

3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cashews

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 T butter

a few strands of saffron

1/4 cup of milk


Soak the walnuts and cashews in hot water for about 20 minutes.
Drain them and grind into a coarse paste, adding milk as needed to make the paste.
Toss this into a saucepan along with the saffron and stir on low heat for 1-2 minutes before adding the butter. This recipe apparently calls for a whole stick of butter, but I couldn't quite get myself to use that, so I opted for less butter but more stirring to get the barfi to set.
After about 20 minutes of stirring, I ended up pouring this into a pan hoping it would cool and harden. Well, it didn't :( Tasted great, but was all gooey. I finally ended up sticking it in the oven at 300 F for about 30 minutes, I think that was a bit much - about 20 minutes should've been good enough.

Tasted pretty good, but I definitely need to fine-tune the stirring/baking/etc times.



Happy Deepavali!

17 comments:

Asha said...

So sorry about the bad news, hope it turns into good news very quickly. BBB looks yum.
Kay, have you seen my RCI Karnataka round ups at foodies hope? Check out the third "Main course" round up, you will be very happy!!:))
Good luck, take care.

Nupur said...

So sorry to hear of Vodka's tumor and surgery. All my best wishes for a quick recovery and a favorable biopsy result. Hugs to Vodka!

Rajitha said...

hope vodka recovers soon...he looks adorable...

Sig said...

Sorry to hear about Vodka... :( Hope he gets better soon!

Cynthia said...

Let me add my sorry to the others about Vodka. Hope he gets better soon.

Dhivya Karthik said...

its so pretty damn sad thing to happen..Vodka luks so adorable in the snap and the news makes me feel so gloomy..Hope things get better....

Although I do want to say Kudos to ur nuts kheer!

Sandeepa said...

Awwwwwwww...I do pray that Vodka's results come out fine.
Your Diwali food looks good and good that Vodka enjoyed it too

Nags said...

such a lovely spread..

my thots are with vodka.. hope he gets better soon..

sra said...

So sorry about Vodka, hope he recovers soon and the biopsy clears him.

Bharathy said...

yeah...wonderful goodies here!!!

Hope Vodka gets fine soon..hugs to you da!!

bee said...

awww... hugs to the poor baby. and hope you have a wonderful year ahead.

Seema said...

Hope Vodka feels better soon & everything from now looks bright for you all...as the new year begins. Thanks for stopping by my blog, you have a great blog & some great recipes...just checked them out!!

KayKat said...

Thanks for all your wishes and good thoughts.

Vodka's getting better, the sutures look good, will keep everybody posted on how things go.

Asha, I finallly got around to reading the RCI roundups - Wow! So many awesome recipes, *so* much of food! :) Thanks for doing this.

Kribha said...

That so sad to hear about vodka. I just lost our pet in India a week back. Thank god I was not there to witness it. My mom and sis are still sad. My prayers are with vodka. Hope he recovers soon. Walnut barfi looks delicious. will try it sometime.

sagari said...

very bad wish to get well soon and burfi lookss soo yummy

Suganya said...

Oh my! I wish you and Vodka strength to pass through this tough time. Wishing for a speedy recovery.

arundati said...

so sorry about this...i really hope that you'll have good news...a big hug to dear vodka....