Plenty on the plate

Season's Best

Plenty on the plate

Deepavali’ is here and people have been shopping for sweets and gifts. They are also getting ready to churn out specialties on the day.

Poonam Jain, who hails from Assam, says that there are no restrictions as far as festival food is concerned. “Some of the items that I make  include ‘chiwda’, biscuits, ‘chawal ka sira’, ‘gaund ki mui’, ‘petha’ or ‘kurma’ and ‘masala ki nimki’,” says Poonam. For the main course, she usually makes ‘puri’ with ‘aloo sabji’ or ‘mutter sabji’ with ‘mirchi ki lunji’. “We often make special drinks like ‘kesariya sikanji’, which accompanies the main meal. Items like ‘kheer’ and ‘dahi vada’ are a must for the festival too,” she says.

“Traditional food and spending time with the family is what the festival season is about,” says Mamta Kulhan from Uttarakhand. “Our specialities include ‘kachori’, ‘dahi bhale’, ‘urad dal pakoris’ and ‘puri sabji’, which are had with dishes like ‘aloo sabji’. ‘Suji ka halwa’ is the  sweet for this season,” says Mamta. ‘Lauki ki mithai’ and ‘besan ka ladoo’ are also made for the day. “The ‘urad dal pakoris’ are time-consuming but they are traditional and so we make them,” she says.

The festival keeps changing by the year, but the ‘pettpooja’ remains the same,” says Kriti Dinesh Kumar from Jharkhand. “Although everything is available in the market and restaurants nowadays, I still love to cook the special dishes for my family. We make items like ‘balushahi’ and ‘motichoor ladoo’, mainly for the festival. For the main course, ‘dal puri’, ‘dum aloo’, ‘kheer puri’, stuffed ‘kachori’ and ‘chole’ are a must,” she says. Kriti says that ‘Deepavali’ reminds her of soft ‘besan ke ladoos’ that her grandmother used to make. “I can never make them as soft like the ones she made.

But I still make them as they remind me of my childhood,” she says. Certain items are prepared only in specific areas, says Amra Sushanth K, who’s originally from Uttar Pradesh. “We make dishes out of ‘zameen khand’. After preparing this, it is offered to the goddess before we consume it,” she says. She  she also makes ‘suran’ and ‘namakpara’ for the day. “My mother also used to make ‘sugar candy idols’ and ‘batasha’ and I’m going to try and make these this year,” says Amra.  

Bharathi KS, a Bangalorean, say that their sweets and food made during the festival vary from region to region. She says that she makes special ‘payasam’ for the festivities. “We prepare ‘shavige payasam’ the day before the festival. ‘Gasagase payasam’ and ‘akki payasam’ are also made for the festival.

Other specialties like ‘barfi’, ‘obbattu’ and ‘Mysore Pak’ are prepared along with ‘chakli’, ‘nucchina unde’ and other ‘namkeen’ items,” she informs adding that ‘Deepavali’ is the time, when woman showcase their talent in cooking. 

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