Durga puja has already started. As Bengal gets decked up with all the pandals and the puja shopping almost come to an end, I on the other hand, living thousands of miles away is waiting for this weekend to arrive. The Durga puja in the US is held during weekends just for the convenience of the attendees.
While I miss on my dose of the Kolkata Durga pooja fever, I’m getting ready to celebrate the US style Durga puja. I will definitely miss the phuchka, alu kabli, churmur, ghugni – oh I cant stop writing the list of road side food that I’ll be missing on this puja – but would have a new taste, a new experience of celebrating puja just over the weekend.
The street food on Kolkata adds an added charm to the whole flavor of Durga puja, but there is always the home cooked prasad. Though my family strictly becomes vegetarian during the four days of puja, mainly because of the fact we have our own durga idol at home, and she has been worshiped in the family for more than a century now. And, as Ma Durga is bid adieu, the next day, ekdashi is the day to eat fish and only fish. The entire family with brothers, sisters, cousins, their spouses, their kids – you know how the Indian family tree is – eats, sitting on the floor. Last year I was heading the frying department of the lunch, mostly because my mom felt her daughter is old enough to get married so she is old enough to cook for hundred people, or at least the dal and bhaja part. So, my task for last ekdashi was to make loitta macher vada for the entire family. It was intimidating, it was tiring, yet there was a satisfaction seeing everybody asking for more.
To start with the festivities here’s a simple recipe for kalakand using ricotta cheese. Kalakand apparently a Rajasthani dessert, was first introduced in the late 40s and since then it has become one of the favorite Indian desserts. And, when it comes to Bengalis we just love sweets.
And, for all of you 2013 puja time table is here.
Durga Puja Date and Time 2013
- Shashthi – 10th October, Thursday (23rd Aashin 1420) – 11.14 pm (Oct 9) – 9.00 pm (Oct 10)
- Shaptami – 11th October, Friday (24rd Aashin 1420) – 9.00 pm (Oct 10) – 6.37 pm (Oct 11)
- Ashthami – 12th October, Saturday (25th Aashin 1420) – 6.37 pm (Oct 11) – 4.12 pm (Oct 12)
- Sandhipuja – 12th October, Saturday (25th Aashin 1420) – 3.48 pm – 4.36 pm
- Nabami – 13th October, Sunday (26th Aashin 1420) – 4.12 pm (Oct 12) – 1.50 pm (Oct 13)
- Dashami – 14th October, Monday (27th Aashin 1420) – 1.50 pm (Oct 13) – 11.36 am (Oct 14)
Kalakand in Microwave
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 14 oz condensed milk
- Few strands of saffron
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon slivered almonds
- In a microwave safe bowl add the ricotta cheese and condensed milk and mix well
- Cook in microwave high for 5 minutes, take out and stir well.
- Repeat for 3 to 4 times cooking for 5 minutes and stirring till the ricotta looks pretty dry and crumbly. Add the cardamom powder and saffron strands
- Give it a good stir. Apply ghee on a square plate and spread the ricotta evenly with a inch thickness.
- Allow to cool for at least 2 hours, cut in one inch squares, garnish with the slivered almonds and serve.