Welcoming the Goddess

The Hindu calendar follows the lunar phases and so it’s a little different from our well known English calendar from January to December. As the Gregorian and the Hindu calendars do not tally the timing of Durga Puja also shifts yearly from Late September to late October. This time the Puja starts on 24th September; the day being Shasthi, welcoming the goddess to earth.

Shasthir ghaut

My grand mother used to tell me different stories of the goddess. One such was the welcoming of the goddess. According to the Hindu mythology, Devi Durga is the daughter of the King of Himalayas. Every year on the Shasthi of the Bengali month of Ashwin, she comes down from Kailash, the abode of her husband, Lord Shiva to earth. She stays here for the next four days and goes back to Kailash. The goddess doesn’t come alone; she comes along with her four children, two daughters and two sons, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Karthik.

The Celebration

While listening to these stories, as a kid I used to become spell bound and dreamt about how the goddess with her four children would come down to earth. Years have passed, and there is nobody to tell me stories nowJ. But the feeling of happiness, the planning to go pandal hopping, meeting friends, and above all buying new clothes and eating out – make this time the best month of the year.

From today the ninth day is Shasthi. Kolkata is getting decked up with the minute decorations of this grand festival. The clay idols of the goddess are almost ready except for the last coat of paint. At Cook Like a Bong we decided on celebrating this festival with an event and publishing our first eBook on Shasthi this year. Also, I’ll be posting about the different recipes that you can try out during the four days of celebration; starting today.

Shasthir Dala

Bongs love for luchi

A breakfast with some luchi, alu dum and sandesh will make the day for any Bong. Bengalis cannot get enough of these fluffy fried phulkas. Luchi, luuchi, lucchi, poori, puri, phulka – whatever one can call them, but to any Bong it’s an essence of pure ecstasy. The taste and smell of luchi enhances if fried in ghee. So, while frying the rolled out luchi, you can add half the volume of ghee with sunflower oil. Will tell you the recipe for this curry in my later post.

Luchi Tarkari

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30min
Makes 20 luchis

Ingredients:

All purpose flour (Maida): 2 cups

Carom seeds (Jowan/Ajwain): 1teaspoon

Sunflower oil (Sada tel): For deep frying

Salt: ½ teaspoon

Water: 1 ½ cup

Preparation:

  • Take the flour in a big bowl, carom seeds, salt and 2 tablespoon of oil
  • Mix the ingredients well to form a sandy mixture
  • Pour in half the water and knead the dough to almost dry
  • Then again pour the other half of water and knead well
  • If you feel the dough is not sticking to your palm, then its ready
  • Keep the dough for about 40mins covered with a wet muslin cloth
  • Divide the dough into 20 small balls, dip half the balls in oil for lubrication and roll the balls to 4-5 inch diameter circles
  • Heat oil for frying in a deep wok till smoking hot
  • Reduce the flame and slide in the rolled out poori
  • Press the luchi, while frying with the back of a slotted spatula, this helps in making the luchis fluffy
  • Take out of flame and place in a colander to let the luchis drain out the excess oil
  • Serve with any thick gravy curry (veg or non-veg)

Luchi

Hot Tips: Don’t drop the rolled out pooris into the heated oil, oil may splash out. Luchi even tastes good with granulated sugar or payesh, try it. You can use atta instead of maida but that makes the luchi look darker on color. You can even leave out the carom seeds while preparing luchi.

Further Readings: Bong Mom’s Luchi Preparation, Wiki Puri

Let us know your likings and memories of luchis or pooris, and don’t forget to send in your entries to the blog event ending 22nd September.

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