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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Phalahari Choley (No onion No garlic recipe)

Today is the first day of Panchuka or the five holiest days of the Hindu month of Kartika. While it is a standard practice among all (almost) oriya folks to refrain from eating non-veg throughout the month, these five days are strictly adhered to. The days begin with 'Brundawati Puja' or the worshiping of the Tulsi plant. Beautiful and colorful patterns called 'Muruja' ( Rangoli ) are drawn around the Tulsi 'Chaunra' or the pot/pedestal on which the plant has been placed. In addition those folks who observe 'Anla Nabami' or the day preceding 'Panchuka', a small 'anla' or gooseberry plant is also worshiped along with the Tulsi.

As this month is the peak time for all Shiva devotees, one witnesses long queues at the Shiva temples or 'Dhams' especially on the Mondays. Most folks residing in or around Bhubaneshwar try to visit Dhabaleshwara or Lingaraja, both of which are popular Shiva temples. Another popular destination during Panchuka is the Jaganaath Dham at Puri. Lord Jagannath and his siblings take up five different get-ups or 'Beshas' during those five days. These are in the order - 'Lakshmi-Narayana Besha', 'Bankachula Besha', 'Tribikram Besha', 'Lakshmi-Nrusingha Besha' and the 'Raja Rajeswari Besha'. The last day getup or the 'Raja Rajeswari Beshi' is a splendid sight with the deities decked up with huge golden ornaments and limbs.

In some of the Odia families Panchuka also means giving up on eating onions and garlic. Hence the lunch menu is largely restricted to dalma, arwa anna, saga, bhaja and khatta. For dinner, it is usually paratha/puri along with dalma or a no onion-no garlic version of alu dum/kabuli chana/santula/buta dali-kakharu tarkari. While I usually prepare kabuli chana/choley with onions, there is a very delicious version that is reserved for osa-bara days. Read on for the simple yet delicious recipe -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

2 cups kabuli chana/garbanzo beans
3-4 small potatoes (cubed)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin cubes
2 small tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp choley masala/curry powder (use a no onion-no garlic one)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1-2 dry red chili
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp kasuri methi
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
3 tbsp oil

Preparation - Soak the kabuli chana overnight. Wash and cook with 1 cup water, salt and turmeric. Remove from flame after 4-5 whistles on medium flame. Keep aside till steam escapes. Drain excess water

Boil the potatoes and pumpkin cubes till just done. Drain the excess water and keep aside.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the broken chili and cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the finely chopped tomato.

Allow the tomato (2-3 mins) to soften before adding the choley masala, chili powder, potato and pumpkin pieces. Fry for 4-5 mins till they start getting mushy. Add the drained kabuli chana at this stage. Mix together and cook for 3-4 mins.

Add 1 1/2 - 3 cups boiling water along with garam masala and sugar. Rub the kasuri methi between the palms to warm it before adding it to the wok. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5-6 mins.

Remove from the flame. The consistency of the curry will thicken as and when it cools so be careful about the water proportion.

Serve hot or warm with paratha/phulka/rotis.

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