Right now Navaratris are going on. It is a festival in India that is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Nav means nine and ratri means night. So basically it is nine nights and ten days of worship where people will also adhere to a fast.
It is a major festival in India. I remember a couple of years ago when a friend of mine came over. She was on the navaratri fast. And every time from then on when she came she was on this fast! I’m not hugely into festivals, even though I was born and brought up in India. And we have a festival almost every week for something or the other! Maybe I am not that into it because my mom was never into them. She always taught me to talk to God, sort of like my inner compass. Not to get caught in the whole show of being religious. That stuck.
As I now try and discover my roots via food I must say I am fascinated by what all these festivals and traditions represent. And some of them are quite wonderful. Because during these nine nights, nine forms of the Goddess are celebrated. The nine forms of the female strength. How cool is that that we worship this powerful female God who is the symbol of Shakti (energy). And of course food is always at the center of all this worship, the offerings to our Gods.
On the eight day, at many Hindu families, little girls, usually nine years old are invited to the house. These nine girls represent the nine forms of the Goddess Durga. As a mark of respect, their feet are washed, tilak (dot) applied on their forehead and rice grains sprinkled on their head. They are then offered prasad (offering) made of black chanas (brown chickpeas) with pooris and halwa. The halwa is usually made with sooji (semolina) but I am going to attempt a pumpkin one! One the blog next. 🙂
These brown chickpeas are unbelievably simple and so damn delicious. They make an excellent lunch or dinner but you could just snack on them all day long like me!
- For the Pooris
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp ghee, melted
- 1 tbsp semolina
- ¼ tsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- oil for frying
- ⅓ - ½ cup water
- For the Chickpeas
- 2 cups brown chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2-3 green chilies, chopped (or depending on how spicy you want your dish)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp black salt
- 2 tbsps ghee
- juice of half a lime
- handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- salt to taste
- For making the pooris, heat the oil in a wok for frying.
- In a mixing bowl add all ingredients with some water to bring to a crumbly mix. Now add the water little by little to bring the dough together. This dough should not be soft but slightly tough but not hard. Knead well. Do not allow the dough to sit for too long. Make lemon size balls.
- Dipping each ball into some oil from the wok, roll out into circles. Try not to use any additional flour for rolling out. the thickness of the pooris should be about medium, not too thin (they won't puff up) or too thick.
- Now check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a small piece of dough. If it rises to the top immediately, your oil is ready to fry in.
- Slide each pooris (one at a time) carefully from the side of the wok. After a 3-5 seconds press it down with a slotted spoon and let it puff up. Once that happens flip. Cook for some 5-6 seconds more and then transfer to a plate lined with a kitchen towel.
- (Make sure that after each poori you need to reduce the heat on the oil and the once ready to slide in the poori, raise it to high again).
- For preparing the chickpeas, wash the soaked chickpeas in cold water. Transfer to a deep pan and cover with enough water. Boil till the chickpea crushes easily if pressed between two fingers. If you have a pressure cooker, give 1-2 whistles and then cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- In a cooking pan, heat the ghee till it melts completely. Add the cumin seeds and the green chilies. Once the cumin starts sputtering add the drained and cooked chickpeas. Saute while stirring often for a few minutes and then add the rest of the dry spices. Cook on low heat till the spices mix and cook. Around 15 minutes.
- Take off heat and add the lime juice. Mix well. Sprinkle the cilantro on top and serve hot with steaming hot pooris on the side and a bowl of halwa.