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Showing posts with label Kartika masa somabar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kartika masa somabar. Show all posts

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sagaa Bhajja ( Osa Bara Randha )

Sagaa Bhajja or fried Amaranthus leaves is one of the regular items in a oriya meal. It is a simple and yet flavorful dish. The wide variety of green leafy vegetables available in Orissa add a lot of versatility to this recipe. Kosala sagaa , Leutiya sagga, Khada sagaa, Kalama sagaa, Pita sagaa and Sunisuni sagaa are some of the commonly available ones.

As my grandma said the ideal sagaa bhajja is one in which the leaves should not be bunched together and it should be cooked just right (with a little bite left in it....somewhat like pasta ) and not mushy. She made sure that I perfected this recipe. She is no more but i think about her every time i make this dish.

Usually onions and garlic are added to this recipe but when cooking on a fasting day (osa bara) we rely only on pancha phutana, red chillis and freshly grated coconut to bring alive the flavours of this dish. One has to sure that the oil is heated to the right temperature so that the spices release all their flavours.

During the ongoing Kartika Masa, this is a must have on the Mondays along with a Habisa Dalma and Oou khatta. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 10-12 mins

Ingredients - 4 cups of shredded ( finely cut ) sagaa ( I have used Khada sagaa), 2/3 tsp pancha phutana, 2 red chillis, 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut, 3 tsp oil, salt to taste.

Preparation - Heat the oil in a wok. One has to sure that the oil is heated to the right temperature so that the spices release all their flavours. Too cold a temperature will not allow the phutana to splutter while too hot will burn it and ruin the taste.

Add broken red chilli and pancha phutana. Allow the spluttering to start.

Add the shredded sagaa in small batches and mix with the spices.

Cover and cook for 1 minute on medium to high flame. Remove the cover and stir gently to prevent leaves from bunching/sticking together.

Repeat the above step alternately till saga is done and excess water evaporates. Add the salt and mix in. Switch off the flame and sprinkle freshly grated coconut. Mix thoroughly.

Serve hot with arwa anna, Habisa Dalma and Ouu khatta.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aau (Oou) Khatta

Ouu or Dillenia indica is an exotic looking fruit that is found in Asia ( Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh). Even in India it grows only in the states of Orissa, Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. It bears fruit in the winter months.

Oou khatta is a very integral part of the Habisa ( Kartika Masa Sombar ) meals. It is added to the Habisa dalma and also made into a khatta ( sweet-sour gravy ). This fruit is said to possess medicinal properties and is touted to be good for diabetics. It is rich in phytochemicals and has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Preparation Time - 30-35 mins

Ingredients - 1 Oou/Aau (elephant apple), 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 dry red chillis, salt to taste, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/3 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin-chilli powder, 1 tsp pancha phutana, 3 tsp cooking oil, coriander/freshly grated coconut for garnishing.

Preparation - Pull away and cut the green petals of the oou ( Need to be careful during this as the liquid that oozes out is quite slippery ). Peel the outer skin and cut into long strips about 1 cm wide. Use a pestle or small stone to slightly crush the pieces.

Grind the mustard and cumin seeds into a smooth paste.

Cooking - Boil 3-4 cups of water with salt and turmeric. Add the crushed Oou pieces to this and boil for 5 mins. Drain off all the water and keep aside. (This takes care of the bitterness/astringency if any )

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the pancha phutana and broken red chilli. Allow to splutter.

Add the boiled Oou pieces to the wok and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the mustard-cumin paste and fry for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of water along with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Cover with a lid and allow to cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes. ( Keep checking in between and add more water if required )

Add the sugar and cumin-chilli powder. Cook till the sugar dissolves into the gravy.

Garnish with grated coconut/coriander leaves. Serve with Arwa bhata - Dalma or Bhata - Mutton Curry.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Habisa Dalma ( Kartika Masa Special Dalma )

Kartika Masa is perhaps the holiest month in the Hindu Calendar. Fasting on the Mondays of this month has a special significance as mentioned in the Puranas. Most people in Orissa give up non vegetarian items (and also onions and garlic in some cases) for the entire month. If not for the entire month, atleast the last five days or 'Panchuka' as it is called in oriya is strictly abided by many.

Womenfolk usually keep a fast and eat once a day on the Mondays of Kartika masa. Their meals consist of arwa anna, habisa dalma and aau khatta. This is a special kind of Dalma that is prepared without turmeric and the moong dal that is to be used is not roasted as usual. Only a few vegetables are sanctioned for this recipe. As 'Habisa' was primarily observed by widows in the earlier times, certain restrictions are imposed on the diet. But now a days quite a few married women observe the fasts and even a few rare men have started following these customs.

This changing profile of the devotees following Habisa has brought about a lot of change in the way this dalma is now prepared. Now people have also started adding turmeric and various vegetables. In fact some married women have this superstitious belief that turmeric should be added for making the dalma auspicious. Defying the very reason why widows are forced to skip adding turmeric. Personally, I don't buy any of this logic. Moreover I can't even use vegetables like Taro and yam as I have developed an allergy to these .

So, I will be sticking to the recipe that my MIL follows ( BTW i have added a pinch of turmeric as my son is a little picky ). Read on:

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cups split moong dal
  • 1/2 cup saru/arbi/colocassia
  • 1/2 cup kancha kadali/raw banana
  • 1/2 cup mati alu/yam
  • 1/2 cup amrutabhanda/raw papaya ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1/2 cup mula/radish (optional) ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 cup kakharu/pumpkin ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1-2 pieces of aau (slightly crushed)
  • 2-3 whole red chillis ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds ( Not used in authentic one )
  • 1 tsp jeera-lanka gunda ( roasted and powdered cumin seeds and dry red chilli )
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • grated coconut for garnishing

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add broken red chillis, cumin seeds and bay leaf. Fry for 20 seconds. (Skip the above step if you want to keep it really authentic. But it tastes much better this way. The logic behind this step is that Habisa dalma shud not be tempered hence some people add these tempering ingredients while cooking itself. Crazy logic rite ? But when has religion n logic ever gone together !)

Wash and transfer the dal along with 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Wash and add all the vegetables to it. Add the bay leaf too if you are skipping the tempering. Close lid and cook for 1-2 whistles.

Remove from flame and allow steam to escape before opening the lid. Add the crushed ginger, jeera-lanka gunda and grated coconut.

Serve with arwa anna (raw rice) and Oou Khatta / sagaa bhajja.

This is offered as prasad to Dhabaleshwara ( Lord Shiva ) by the devotees before consumption.

This above pic is a earlier one . I have used quite a few vegetables in this one and have also used a bit of tempering !!

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