Monday, November 12, 2012

Beetroot Chops - and warm wishes for a Happy Diwali

Kali Puja (or Diwali) as it’s known to us Bengalis – is upon is and instead of sprucing my home, lighting it up and cooking et al, I’m travelling this year.

We did have a pre-bash of sorts at home, but that does not do justice to the spirit of the festival. Travelling at this time is unlikely – perhaps these are some of the maladies of leading a super busy urban life where a festive holiday eats up the festival altogether. Perhaps not that bad – and I might be needlessly beating myself up, as the place where I’m travelling to is more decked up than an Indian bride and looks as if the stars themselves have descended to bless the newly wed!! But then Kali Pujo spirit needs to be preserved and stories need to be passed from generation to generation. Isn’t that how I learnt it all too…

So I brace myself up. As Mr husband navigates through the narrow arteries of the joyous Jaipur, I prepare to tell a tale to my little one. The legend of Kali Pujo .
It is her- all dressed for Diwali,
strapped in the rear seat. Listening
to the legend

I start at birth.Ma Kali was born from Durga Ma’s forehead as Kal Bhoi Nashini to save heaven and earth from the growing cruelty of the demons. Why ma? I wish she’d ask me, but she is too small now. Never mind. I carry on. Kali Thakur was born to protect the world from two demons called Shambhu and Nishambhu, who posed a challenge to disrupt the peace of the kingdom of heaven. All the gods then prayed to Ma Durga, and that’s how Kali Ma came into being.

Once the demons were slaughtered , Kali Ma made a garland of their heads and wore it around her neck, killing anyone who came her way. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in shame, and this put an end to her fury. This is the form in which we pray to her – with her tongue stuck out and lord Shiva beneath her feet and a garland across her neck.

We celebrate her victory as Kali Puja . My daughter is scared at the sight of Kali Thakur, but then I tell her that it is only because she is so angry at the evil in this world. Kali is the destroyer of all things bad, and  so we much worship her on this day. Isn’t it time to get our priorities straight; safety comes first! I wink at her.

Re-thinking – can you really ward off evils like Shambhu and Nishambhiu just with prayers at midnight. We need more than that; I’m set to take appropriate action immediately. I’m not a big fan of the evils anyways; I cannot blindfold and trust anyone without making an attempt to please the gods and ward off evils with lights all over.

So I came prepared already. A big batch of my special beetroot cutlet is sitting quietly in my refrigerator. For any hungry devil spirit who wants to lurk around my house while we are out.

Beetroot Cutlet

2 medium size beetroots, grated
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1 large onion, boiled and mashed  (only if you must, puritans do not agree with my onion addition!)
1 cup shelled boiled peas
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tsp ginger juliennes
1/2 tsp pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp garam masala
1tbs all-purpose flour
1 egg (optional)
1 tbs  bread crumbs
Salt to taste
oil, for pan fry
1 medium red onion rings/ chopped (to serve)

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except oil, and raw onions rings.

Make the patties from the mixture in elongated shape. This is messy.

Refrigerate for a few minutes. Wrap in a cling flim.

In a kadai, heat the oil till it smokes and deep fry .

If you want to shallow fry then you can transfer the patties to a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes,this will add a crispy coat with less calories.

Serve hot with chopped raw onion rings.

Enjoy with your near and dear ones. Here’s my way of wishing you and your family members a safe and happy Diwali and a fantastic Kali Pujo
Sending this entry to Cooks Joy
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