The excitement of Durga Puja is in the air and with this excitement I am also excited to share my first guest post on my blog. Yes! Since the time I have started blogging, I have never done any guest post for any blogger nor have I ever hosted any blogger as guest on my blog. So this time while talking about Durga Puja with a friend of mine and asking her to share some authentic Bengali Recipe with me, I felt I should start a section where I will love to introduce a NON BLOGGER “FOODIE” sharing their recipes with me and my readers . There are so many people who are great cooks but they don’t blog and share their recipes but continue to cook silently so this is my way to show a little tribute to all those great masterchef’s at home like our own mom’s, family & friends , I will try to bring many recipes from all over India straight from these lovely foodies I know, it’s all about inspiring others to cook & share. I hope you all will like my new series of Guest Post @ mad!
If I would have written about Durga Puja despite the fact of living in a Bengali Colony in Delhi for good 20 years and surrounded by many Bengali families,attending many Bengali Weddings, Durga Puja Fest & other functions, I felt I would not be able to do that much of a justice to my post.
So here I am introducing you to Kalpana Sarkar Bose, my neighbour & a sweet foodie friend with her “Aloor Dom” recipe & about Durga Puja. Not to miss the visual treat of the Durga Idols & Puja Pandal captured straight from Kolkata and shared by her cousin :)! I am happy that she agreed to be a part of this guest series on my blog. Please welcome Kalpana Sarkar Bose!
“Hi, I am Kalpana Sarkar Bose, born and brought up in Delhi and since marriage based in Bangalore. I have been engaged in the tourism sector, though on a break since my daughter Ashima’s birth. I have always loved to cook elaborate meals and enjoy watching cookery and travel shows on television. I am passionate about learning new recipes from around the world and also from various regions of India. I love to experiment as well.
I am honoured and thrilled that my neighbour and friend, Anamika, has given me the opportunity to contribute to her awesome blog. I get inspired after reading her columns and took the liberty to share a few recipes with all of you starting with aloor dom which is among one of the favourite dishes at home.”
DURGA PUJA and the baangaali are synonymous. Ask any Bengali about the significance of Puja and an unmistakable sense of longing and belonging envelops dadas (bhaiyas) and boudis (bhabhis) alike.
One of the biggest festival of the year, durga puja commemorates the annual visit of goddess durga along with her children( lakshmi,saraswati,ganesh and kartik) to her parent’s home – Planet Earth, which ends on the tenth day - dashami, when she leaves to reunite with her consort, Lord Shiva. It also celebrates her victory over the demon Mahishasura in a battle that epitomised the duel between good and evil, in which Goddess Durga, on her lion mount, wielding ten weapons in her ten hands, prevails over the scene.
The festivities begin on the sixth day (Shashti) and last until the ninth day (navami) coinciding with the waxing moon of the lunar fortnight (called devi-paksha), and on the tenth day(dashami), durga returns to Shiva which is ritualised through a procession to a water body and an elaborate immersion ceremony.
Until mid-eighteenth century Durga Puja was mainly celebrated within the precincts of a household, but as communities and public spaces became more pronounced, this festival shifted onto the realm of a pada(community), the neighbourhood, unleashing collective creative energies. Indeed, the elaborate pandals are extravagant works of art.
The morning pushpanjalis (flower offerings with prayers in Sanskrit), followed by the beating of the dhak ( a specific kind of drum) during aarati (invocation with lamps), the dhunochi naach (a devotional dance form which weaves in the ritual of burning frankincense and myrrh), sindoor khaila (playing with vermillon), and various cultural programmes showcasing Bengal’s rich cultural heritage, whilst also inviting new cultural idioms and forms from around the country are some of the highlights of the event.
These are days that are also marked by elaborate feasts, lights, music, and joy, distinguishing Durga Puja from all other Indian festivals. Durga Puja stands out as one of the largest outdoor art festivals on earth. The various food stalls surrounding pandals constitute a gastronomical carnival. If people eat to live, a Bengali’s life is a celebration of food. A big-time foodie, Bengalis willingly allow their taste buds to take on the drivers’ seat during these few days. Beginning with the proshad (Prasad) following pushpanjali, and the afternoon public luncheon gathering or the bhog wheer vegetarian dishes sans onion and garlic are served, come evening and the gourmand is found feasting on some of the choicest non-vegetarian dishes.
Aloor dom( dum aloo), koraichutir kochuri(peas kachori), luchi(puri), cholar dal( channa dal), mochar chop(banana flower chop), mochar ghonto(a sabzi made with banana flower), elish bhapa (hilsa fish curry), daab chingri(prawns cooked inside tender coconut), bhetki macher paturi (a starter wrapped in banana leaf made with bhetki fish), kosha mangsho(a mutton curry), fish fry, mutton-chop, mughlai parantha( a parantha stuffed with rich muttom keema and egg), dorma(again fish or keema stuffed inside parmal), dimmer debil( a starter made with eggs n keema), macher kalia( a specific fish curry), rolls, mishit doi( a sweet yoghurt), roshogollas( rasgullas), sandesh, cham cham, kancha golla, langcha, pantua, lady kine, chanar goja( all different types of Bengali sweets), it’s an endless catalogue, a relentless assault on all your senses…
After dashami, when the idol is immersed, begins the season of inter-household visits to commemorate Goddess Durga’s victory. Knows as Bijoya (after the Sankrit Vijaye), this season ends with the Kali Puja – another popular Bengali festival that coincides with Deepavali in the rest of India. Sweetmeats and other delectable food dishes, once again, are the centrepiece of all Bijoya rituals.
On the occasion of durga puja, I am sharing a vegetarian recipes of Aloor Dom ( Bengali Dum Aloo ) which are assured to take your taste buds for an adventure you’d never want it ends, and may find you hovering around the puja pandal this season .
Though there are various versions of Aloor Dom recipe but this is my version of an easy Aloor Dom Bengali recipe.
Pics Courtesy: Kalpana Sarkar Bose
Wishing you a Happy Festive Season & thank you Anamika for inviting me over, after all it’s all about being MAD – making a difference :)!