As my son commented yesterday, “You go all out for Diwali!” For some strange reason, I do! I am not much of a festival person, I hardly celebrate any and the ones I celebrate are also heavily customized. 🙂 Yet, I actually pull out all stops for Diwali pushing myself and everyone around me. So, the rangoli, diyas, mandir decoration, cleaning, cooking, dressing up, lights, crackers all must be pat. This year the cleaning was better organized and less stressful. The rangoli was done by the sons.
And since this is a food blog, I am going to share some food memories that have come to .
Food is much more than filling empty tummies. Food is memories; it is love. It is also about making and reliving memories. No one I know enjoys slogging on the stove or daily cooking including yours truly. Don’t get me wrong; I like cooking but it is not as if I rush to the kitchen when I have some free time. I don’t. I methodically plan my cooking. I enjoy experimenting, playing with ingredients, flavors and techniques but I also like cooking with minimal effort and time. Very rarely do I make the exception and cook elaborate dishes only because the loved ones enjoy them so much. 🙂
So for Diwali that I make an exception and slog for hours to make besan laddoos that the kids dig. I also made urad dal ki kachoris, dahi vade and chhole yesterday. Interestingly, my sister had also made the same for her family. I guess there is truth to family traditions being kept alive through food. For me, it is even more sentimental since mom passed away. My beautiful memories are tied to her food and in a way cooking dishes the way she did or making she liked makes me feel close to her something I derive comfort in. Hence the part about pushing myself to do this for my family.
Diwali is a time when one must be with family and friends. And that is the spirit of Diwali for me. Of happiness, cheer, camaraderie, family and of course, gastronomic delights.
Here I leave you with the recipe for urad dal kachoris. The filling can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days. You can then use it to make stuffed parathas that taste heavenly with spicy green chutney.
For about 15 kachoris:
Maida/refined flour: 250 gm
Oil 2 tbsp.
Salt 1/2 tsp.
Ajwain (carom seeds) 1 tsp.
½ Kg. urad dal (without skin)
1 inch piece ginger
1 tsp. chilly powder
1 heaped tbsp. saunf (aniseed)
1 heaped tbsp. coriander seeds
½ tsp. strong heeng (asafoetida)
1 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. oil
Oil for frying
Soak urad dal in water for 4-5 hours. Drain it well and blend it in the mixer with some ginger. Don’t add much water just a little to get a thick paste. Now heat oil in a kadhai, tip in the blended mix and add in the dry masalas. You will need to dry roast coriander seeds, saunf and black pepper and coarsely powder them before adding. Now slowly cook the dal mix on a low flame till it gets completely cooked. It takes some time and patience. Keep moving it around so that it does not stick to the bottom. Now take it off the fire once cooked and dry. It will be sticky. Let it cool completely. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
For the outer shell, make a stiff dough by adding all the ingredients together and kneading the dough with some water. Keep it aside for half an hour covered.
To make the kachoris: Take a big ball of the dough. Make a pocket and fill in a generous teaspoon of the filling in it just like you’d do for a paratha. Close it. Now roll out the dough carefully to form a small kachori. This is like a filled poori. Roll out a lot of kachoris in this manner. Make sure the kachori does not break or the filling will spill out while frying.
Heat oil in a kadhai and deep fry these kachoris till golden on both sides. Consume with aloo-tamatar sabzi(a potato curry in a tomato gravy) or with any curry of your choice. You can also have these as a tea-time snack.
So, go ahead. Don’t wait for Diwali to try out this recipe.