Today is the ninth day of the Navratri (literally means Nine Nights) festival in India. This means that yesterday on Ashtami (the eighth day) many north Indian homes celebrated the Kanjak Puja which is the worship of Goddess Durga.
We both grew up in Punjabi households and this festival has been a part of our childhood and we have many fond memories of this day- especially the yummy and delectable home-cooked feast. So, I was “whats app-ing” with my mum when she told me that she is off to make this scrumptious meal. I obviously wished I was there to enjoy it and so decided to take down the recipes from her and there we were attempting to recreate this classic meal. As usual, I am two days behind in posting this but then you don’t need a festival to cook this feast- this is comfort food for many of us and here is how we made it-
- 1 cup kale chane (bengal gram)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons amchoor (dry mango powder)
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
- ¼ cup sooji (semolina)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
- 2 tablespoon almonds, slivered
- A few raisins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Water, enough to knead
- A teaspoon oil plus oil for frying
- Soak the kaale chane overnight and drain the water the next day.
- Boil & cook the kaale chane in fresh water (for one cup kaale chane about 2 cups water) until cooked. This will take about 20-25 minutes. You could either use a pressure cooker, which is faster or cook them in a pot of water covered with a lid (this could take about 30-45 minutes). After cooking/ boiling there should be some water left, keep it aside for later use.
- In a small pan, put the oil on medium heat & then add in all the dry spices and the chopped green chilies. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Then, add this roasted spice mix into the cooked & boiled kaale chane and mix well. If this seems dry, just add the water that was set aside in step 1. Your kaale chane are ready!
- Heat the ghee in a kadhai / wok/ pan and then add the sooji to it.
- Now keep stirring continuously until the sooji gets golden brown in colour. Make sure you don’t over-roast the sooji. The roasted sooji will have the grainy consistency of wet sand.
- Now add the cardamom, raisins and almonds or any other dry fruits of your choice.
- While you are roasting the sooji, in a separate pot and on medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
- When the sooji is roasted, gently add the water and sugar mixture stirring all the while to prevent lumps from forming. If any lumps do form, make sure to break them with the back of the stirring spoon so you get a smooth paste-like consistency. Cook the mixture till it is thick and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. (Be very careful while adding the water to the sooji mix as it will be very hot and will bubble.)
- Knead the dough using the flour, water and a teaspoon oil. The dough should be smooth. Rest the dough for half an hour.
- Now heat oil in a kadhai/ wok/ fryer. Meanwhile, make balls of the dough and roll them out into small rounds of 4-5 inches diameter. To test the oil, put a small ball of the dough in the oil and if it immediately rises up the oil is ready.
- Now put one rolled out puri into the oil and lightly press it with a spatula so that it puffs up. Flip it over and once both sides are golden brown, take out the puri.
- Serve hot with kaale chane & sooji halwa.
You can obviously make each one of these individually. The Sooji Halwa makes a great dessert and the Kaale Chane are packed with nutrients that can be had just as a snack!