While each community is busy celebrating Dasara in its own ways, the homemakers are busy planning and preparing the menu for this special festival.
Be it the Bengali mutton curry or the ‘fast(ing) food’ like kuttu ke pakode, it is a time to celebrate a variety of flavours. “I really look forward to this time of the year to treat my taste buds to all kinds of delicacies that my mother makes at home. My favourite dish is fried brinjal, which is known as begun bhaja. We also make khichdi, luchi aloo, narkel nadu and pulao mangsho in the main course on different days,” says Dipanjana Das, who is studying in the City. “Our house is always stocked with mishti as well – malpoa, boondi and mishti doi are the ones which are there every year,” she adds.
Each community has its own specialities for Durga Puja. For those who are fasting, the daily meal for nine days can be just fruits and milk.
“At my home, the entire extended family comes over for meal during navaratri. We make things like aloo chaat, yam sabzi, banana kofta, kaju barfi, kuttu ke pakode, kheer, khichdi and til ladoo.
It’s a little strange to eat items that are not part of my normal diet. But it’s just a matter of nine days,” shares Khushboo Agarwal, a homemaker.
Even the Gujaratis are not far away in the culinary part of the festival.
“Every Gujarati family celebrates Navaratri in a different way. On ashtami, we make kheer, aata ka seera, pudi and lal chana ka saag. On navami, naivedyam is made, which is basically a plate full of nine types of sweets, which is eaten after offering it to the gods as prasad,” explains Jyoti Wadhwa.
“The naivedyam is a must, even if the other things are not. It is full of different dry sweets like the shakarpara and peanuts in melted sugar, which tastes almost like
chikki. On Dasara, we start the day with gaanthia (a snack made of papaya strips) and jalebis,” she adds.
The best part of the festival is that even if you show up unannounced at someone’s house, you’ll always be offered whatever food is available in the kitchen.
This is the perfect time to go trying out the different specialties of the various communities residing in the cultural hub that is Bangalore.