Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The Holy Nine Days
Today is the start of Navaratri- nine days and nights of festivities for us. Prayers are offered to three main Goddesses- Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. It signifies the victory of good over evil. This festival is celebrated throughout India but the form of celebration (and food too) varies. In Tamil Nadu and some southern states, a few odd number of steps are set up and dolls that represent important religious deities are placed on these steps. This is called a "Golu".
This is a festival for the ladies and a celebration of womanhood. We invite people we know to see the arrangement and send them home with special food preparations made for the occasion along with a small bag of gifts.
In most Southern states, Sundal, a snack mix made of lentils or beans is a daily preparation. It is served to the guests and each guest is sent home with sundal packed in pages from the previous day's newspaper. In our family, we do not use onions and garlic on holy days and so most of our sundals have grated coconut to boost flavor. For Day 1, I made a sundal made of channa dal. Nupur has a great chart of the different lentils and beans for reference.
Channa dal sundal
Channa Dhal - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp (I love the taste coconut oil gives)
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red Chilly - 2, broken
Green chilies- 2, finely chopped (optional)
1 sprig of curry leaves
Clean the channa dal and soak in warm water for 10-15 min. Cook with enough water (with a pinch of turmeric added) to submerge lentils. When the dal is almost cooked add about 3/4 tsp salt. Continue to cook until completely tender but not mushy. Try not to over cook. Decant the excess water completely and set aside for a couple of minutes. Heat up the oil and fry the mustard seeds, urad dhal and chilly. When the mustard splutters, add the green chilies and curry leaves. Add the cooked dhal and 1/2 tsp salt (the salt added earlier would have been decanted off with the water) and stir for a few minutes. If interested, you may add a handful of grated coconut (I always do it).
This is a protein-rich snack especially for vegetarians and is very portable.
Posted by Mika at 8:33 AM