Festive spirit is raging high among Bongs with Durga Puja just round corner (only 11 days). There is so much to talk about – Puja Barshiki, history of Durga Puja, Durga Puja in Kolkata, memories of school/college days, Mahalaya hymns, my experience at last year’s Puja at Bangalore and of course the Puja wardrobe, Puja recipes – that I became overwhelmed with to write and what to leave out.
So, here’s the deal.
Starting today, I’ll write a post a day till Puja starts. And in these posts, I hope to cover ‘Pujor Amej’ (Festive Flavour) in terms of food, history and a bong’s insight. There would be occasional touches of fashion trends too.
And some updates on Durga Puja Food Festival too. Hurry folks, the deadline for getting a chance for an entry in the eBook and a prize is 22nd September. Click here for more information.
Puja is almost at the door steps and am counting on the days, just 11 days to go. The first essence of the puja you get in Kolkata is the sale of the Puja Barshikis. At this time of the year the fat magazines is a well known scene at the news paper stalls. I had not yet bought my share of Puja Shankha this time, but just brought back home this month’s edition of Anadamela. The trigger was the painting of a Durga idol on the cover page of the edition; it said “Pouranik Galpe Debi Durga” (Mention of the Goddess Durga in mythology). I’ll let you all the stories in the corresponding posts, so be patient.
There had been several stories about the inception of this autumn festival, which became the most important festivals among Bengalis, and for that matter Hindus. My most fond memories of Durga Puja are the dawn of Mahalaya. Mahalaya is said to be the day of the inception of the goddess. This day also marks the last week on countdown for the pujas, and so it is so special. With the cracking of dawn starts the radio program for Mahalaya. When I was a kid that was the only source, these days every Bengali channel shows their version of Mahalaya, but still listening to the hymns sung by Virendra Kishore Bhadra in a half-awake state is my favorite.
What I thought of posting today has nothing to deal with Mahalaya or Durga Puja, but with less than a fortnight to go before the festival starts and as I have missed the last year of Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, I am looking forward for this year. When it’s autumn, the air, the blue sky with the fluffy wet white clouds, the bamboo structures getting ready for the puja, the crowd at the shops – everything just compelling me to talk about the goddess and the way these four days is spent.
In my previous posts I had written about a lot of chicken preparations, but this time I just shifted a little and prepared with minced chicken. Those of you, who are fond of mutton or lamb, can also prepare it with minced meat.Preparation time: 10min Cooking time: 15 – 20min
- Minced chicken (Murgir keema): 300gm
- Potatoes (Aalu): 2 medium sizes, cut into quarters
- Sour curd (Tauk Doi): 2 tablespoons
- Onion paste (Peyaj bata): 2 tablespoons
- Ginger-garlic paste (Aada-rasun bata): 1 tablespoon
- Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
- Chili powder (Sukhno lanka guro): 1 teaspoon
- Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon
- Clean the keema in a colander and keep for sometime for the water to drain out
- Heat half the oil in a wok and half fry the potatoes and keep aside
- Pour in the rest of the oil and let it heat
- Add in the onion and ginger-garlic paste and sauté
- Add the half-fried potatoes, sour curd, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt ; and stir till the color changes a shade darker and it becomes dry
- Put in the keema and stir again
- Pour in water and let the keema cook till tender
- Take out of flame and serve with warm rice