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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Significance of Saptami Durga puja and Doi Maach(a bengali fish preperation)

Finally that auspicious time of the year or the most awaited time of the year has come. It's bengali's most beloved festival, Durga Puja time. Once the puja is over, we start to wait for this nicest time of the year again to come. This eagerness is something different, we wait for these days more than our birthdays. Isn't it, it is for me at least. Today is Maha Saptami of Durga Puja and seventh day of Navratri. Saptami is the first day of Durga puja.

Significance of Maha Saptami Durga Puja :

Kola Bow or Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath. This is an ancient ritual of worshiping nine types of plants. Nine plants collectively signify Navadurga Goddesses, nine aspects of Goddess Durga. Nabapatrika being an important part of Durga Puja, is worshipped during Bodhon. The nine plants of Nabapatrika represent the nine Goddesses.The Banana plant or the "Kola Gaach" represents Goddess Brahmani, Colacassia plant represents Goddess Kalika, Turmeric plant symbolises Devi Durga, Jayanti denotes Kartiki, Bel or wood apple Goddess Shiva, Pomegranate (Dalim Gaach) Raktadantika, Ashoka tree symbolises Sokrahita and Arum plant ("Maankochu") represents Chamunda and the Rice plant Goddess Lakshmi. These Goddesses are the nine forms of Devi Durga.

Bathing Ritual :
In the early hours of Saptami, the twigs of white "aparajita" plant  along with  nine bunches of yellow threads are used to tie the Nabapatrika. It is then bathed. In our scriptures the elaborate bathing ritual of nabapatrika is compared with the coronation of a King. Just like the King is bathed with waters from holy places and oceans, bathing nabapatrika too requires the same. All the nine Goddesses representing nabapatrika are bathed with waters from 8 different holy places. This bathing ritual is accompanied with varied mantras and diverse musical instruments for different goddesses.
Popularly known as Lord Ganesh's wife, Kolabou in reality has no relationship with Ganesh. Our scriptures call her Nabapatrika. Interestingly enough, Nabapatrika was actually a popular ritual performed by the peasant folks for prosperous harvest. As idol worship was not common then, people worshipped Mother nature.  
This year the Goddess Durga arrives on an Palanquin and departs on Elephant. Goddess Durga's arrival on an Palanquin signifies an outbreak of epidemic while her departure on Elephant signifies good harvest. (information courtesy:

Tremendously, missing my hometown, Kolkata's Durga puja. It's not only a festival for us, the feeling is like, when a daughter comes to her mother's place after one year. Maa Durga, who is the daughter of this Earth coming her mother's home, to us, after one year. So, the happiness within people is spellbounding. For most of us, it's time to wear new clothes, Pratima darshan, pandal hopping and spending quality times with fun and laughter with friends, family and relatives and off course with good food. Me too, miles apart from my home, celebrating Durga puja by eating Bengali delicacies at home. Yesterday, I made DOI MAACH or fish cooked with yogurt/dahi, a popular/beloved fish preperation. It's a very simple but flavourful dish. Mostly made with Rohu/rui fish. I'll share my joy with you by sharing the recipe with you all................

Ingredients : 
Fresh water carp(I used rohu/rui, Seabass/Salmon/any kind of carp can be used for this recipe) : medium sized pieces
Onion(medium) : 2 
Ginger : ~ 1" size
Garlic : 2-3 cloves(small)
Yogurt : 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder : 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp.
Green chillies : 3-4 
Bay leaves : 1 or 2
Cardamom : 3-4
Cloves : 4-5
Cinnamon stick : 1-2(1")
Oil : 2 tblsp.(for cooking) + oil for frying fish
salt to taste 
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Fresh Coriander leaves for garnishing

Method :
Preperation : 
  • Marinate fish pieces with little turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for at least 1/2 an hour.
  • Meantime, Make two pastes, one of onion and green chillies, and one of ginger and garlic
  • Take yogurt in a bowl, add 1/3 of onion paste, 1/2 of ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and chilli powder, little salt and sugar. Beat to mix well.   
Cooking : 
  • Heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the fish(preferably mustard oil), fry the fish pieces in medium heat until they are brown from both sides, apprx. 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep aside.
  • Take another pan for making the gravy. Heat the cooking oil, when hot, throw bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks, wait for a while, when they turn slightly dark and start spluttering, add remaining onion paste. Add a pinch of sugar right now, as it gives a nice color to the gravy.
  • Stir fry continuously until onion turns slightly brown, add remaining ginger-garlic paste and stir again to mix well. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Now lower the heat completely, and add beaten yogurt mix and mix well with onion-ginger-garlic paste.[If you don't turn the heat to low, the yogurt can curdle due to excessive heat.]
  • Stir fry for 2 minutes in medium heat, then add about 2/3 cup of water. Add the fried fish pieces. Wait for the gravy to boil and cover with a lid. Let it simmer till excess water dried off and gravy becomes thick and creamy. This dish is not totally dry, there gravy should be thick and should coat the fish pieces well. 
  • Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve hot with plain white rice and enjoy...............


Thursday, October 14, 2010 / by / 8 Comments


  1. Günaydın, ellerinize, emeğinize sağlık. Çok leziz ve iştah açıcı görünüyor.


  2. Wow very beautiful post, came to know more about saptami durga pooja, fish in yogurt sauce sounds fantastic and droolworthy..

  3. wow awesome post ..Thanks for sharing dear ...ur dohi mach looks very delicious


  4. happy festival doi maach looks so yum..

  5. lovely looking Dohi maach....soo yuumy

  6. Dear Indrani
    Vijoya -r subhechha tomader sabai ke.
    Nana kaje byasto chhilam tai blog PaDa hoe ni...Kal CR Park, delhi, giye , paka rui nie esechhi ..kal try korbo tomar recipe...boudi-r recipe is bit different, so will give a surprise.
    Ekta notun dharan-er biriyani recipe post korechhi ..TaTaDi banie neo..ha ha
    Bhalo theko

  7. Subh Vijaya dashmi to you n your family Indrani!
    Beautiful post!Doi maach looks so authentic n delicious!

    US Masala

  8. if you are Hindu, how can you be eating fish? the first rule above all else...ahimsa!
    thank you!!!


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