Mahalaya marks the beginning of Devi paksha and the end of pitri paksha, and for all of us like me, Mahalaya begins the countdown to Durga Puja – just a week to go. Durga puja is a grand festival and for the last quite few years I have missed being in Kolkata during this time of the year. I miss home during Durga puja more because the puja is held at my home, a 150 years old pujo. And for those of you who are not aware of Durga pujo culture in Bengal, dura pujo is generally held in the neighborhoods and not in family homes, there are very few families in Bengal who actually have the puja at home.
Durga puja is the celebration of food. The streets of Kolkata get filled with vendors selling Kolkata favorite phuchka and egg rolls, though I’m missing the streetfood pretty badly, I am more missing mom’s homemade bhoger khichuri. On Ashtami this khichudi is served to the goddess as an offering (prasad). The bhuni or bhuna khichudi is more of a pulao than a khichudi, though the main ingredients are rice and split yellow lentil, but its cooked in a way so that it’s not runny like a rainy day khichuri and can be fluffed easily with a fork when done.
I hope you enjoy this year’s pujo and share your experience with us. If you want more authentic Bengali recipes please download the ebook.
- 1 cup sona moong dal
- 1 cup gobindobhog rice
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 3 - 4 dry red chilies
- 2-3 large bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 3 - 4 tablespoon ghee
- ¼ cup coconut, cut into tiny pieces
- ¼ cup raisin, soaked in water
- Salt to taste
- In a heavy bottom pan dry roast the moong dal till it starts to turn light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. While roasting keep on stirring it, or else the bottom will get burnt
- Wash the roasted dal and soak for about 30 minutes. Wash the rice
- In the thick bottom pan, heat the ghee. Add the coconut pieces and fry till they turn light brown. With a slotted spoon take the coconut out and keep aside.
- Temper the remaining ghee with the red chilies, bay leaves and cumin seeds. As the seeds start to splutter add the soaked moong dal along with the washed rice. Mix in all the ground spices and ginger paste, season with salt. Toss and turn for a couple of minutes till the spices are mixed well and the raw smell of ginger goes away. Pour in about 4 cups of lukewarm water, cover and cook till it done.
- Sona moong is the yellow lentil that is smaller than the general variety of mong dal. It is more flavorful.
- If you dont find gobindobhog rice, you can substitute with kalajeera rice or any other short grained rice