It's all about victory of good over evil...a celebration of courage..welcoming auspiciousness and remembering home ...
Narkasur , the demon , had fought against neighbouring kings and imprisoned 16,000 women, daughters of the Gods and saints. He had also defeated Lord Indra(known as the king of the Gods) and taken away the magnificient "kundale" (earrings) from the ears of Aditi, mother of the Gods. When Lord Krishna learnt about Narakasur’s deeds, he decided to engage him in battle and liberate all the celestials.
On hearing of this proposed battle Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife, took this task upon herself and with his help killed Narkasur with Krishna’s sudarshana chakra (a wheel originally given to him by Lord Vishnu). As a symbol of the victory Lord Krishna smeared his own forehead with the demon’s blood. On his return, the womenfolk massaged his body with scented oils and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth.
In the south western state of Goa in India, effigies of the demon Naraksura are paraded throughout the day and burnt in the evening.
The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas, worshipping another form of a goddess in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra. It is known by different names in different regions, namely – Kali Chaudas, Narak Chaudas, Narak Puja, or Roop Chaudas. However, the most well known name of this festival is Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali), as it falls a day before Diwali festival.
I chose two dishes to welcome the goddess of wealth at our home and to celebrate the goodness in all of us ...her footprints adorned my home...
Dabi Arbi ka Salan or Stir fried Taro in rich gravy , ..from the traditional kitchens of Avadh...a favourite summer vegetarian dish of old Lucknow
16 nos. colocasia or taro , Arbi
2 ¼ cups of ghee
½ medium sized onion , sliced
7 nos. of garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
5’’ pc. ginger ,coarsely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ cup yoghurt
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
1. Wash and boil colocasia on high heat until completely soft . Dran and keep aside to cool, peel and slightly flatten each colocasia ,wrapped in a mislin cloth.
2. Heat ghee in a pan and fry the onion slices to dark brown in colour ,remove and spread over a paper towel to cool. Crush them finely and reserve.
3. Fry colocasia in the same ghee over medium heat ,turning one until golden brown. Drain and place on paper. Discard all by 4 tbsp of the ghee.
4. Grind ginger and garlic into a fine paste.
5. Heat the reserve ghee over medium heat . Add the ginger –garlic paste and stir fry.
6. Add the fried onions and stir for a minute,stir in red chilli powder and 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil.
7. Lower the heat and slowly mix in whisked yoghurt to the liquid so that it doesn’t curdle. Simmer on low heat until it thickens. This should take around 20 minutes.
8. Add garam masala , check seasoning ,add the fried colocasia and simmer till it has absorbed some of the gravy .
9. Garnish with coriander leaves .
Yakhni Pulao , A lamb and rice Pulao from the kitchens of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan
750 gm lamb with bones
2 ¼ cups of rice
2 tbsp of garlic
1 ½ tbsp of coriander seeds
2 ,1’’ sticks of cinamom
Salt to taste
1 ½ cups of ghee
2 tbsp of ginger paste
1 cup yoghurt
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 cup of onions, sliced and fried and ground to a paste
1 tsp powdered black peppercorn
1tsp saffron, kesar
¼ tsp vetiver essence, kewra
5 nos. powdered green cardamom
Placing on Dum...
1. Cook the lamb with garlic ,coriander seeds,cinnamon stick ,salt and 1 cup water on low heat until soft and tender.Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside to cool.
2. Strain the stock and separate the lamb pieces. Temper the stock with 4 cloves and keep aside.
3. Heat the ghee in a pan;sauté the ginger paste. Add the lamb pieces and stir fry.
4. Add the yoghurt and garlic paste.
5. Continue to fry until the moisture evaporated and add the brown onion paste and mix well.
6. Add the black pepper powder, saffron, vetvier essence and half of the green cardamom powder. Add the stock and increase the heat. Bring to one boil.
7. Lower heat and simmer.
8. Parboil the rice with enough water and cover. Add the remaining cloves and green cardamom powder.
9. When the rice is parboiled and each grain is separate , spread the lamb mixture over the rice, seal the pan and place on Dum (placed tightly sealed in an oven) for 5-7 minutes.
10. Serve hot garnished with golden crisp fried onions.
Wishing you all a very Happy and prosperous Choti Diwali ....May the light of courage and happiness shine brightly in your lives
*Recipe courtesy - Salma Hussain