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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Vasant Panchami/Saraswati Puja and Bhoger Khichuri

Vasant Panchami is a festival that marks the onset of season, Spring after a chill winter. "Vasant" means Spring and "Panchami" means fifth, therefore, Vasant Panchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of month of Magh(February-March). The festival also celebrates the agricultural fields' ripening with the yellow flowers of Mustard crop, which Hindus associate with Goddess Saraswati's favorite color, yellow.
 Goddess Saraswati symbolizes creative energy and is considered as a goddess of knowledge, art, music, wisdom and learning. In Bengal, Saraswati Puja is arranged in all educational institutions like in all schools, colleges, art & music schools etc and in almost all Bengali homes who has school and college going children. As Goddess saraswati loves yellow, all the girls and women wear yellow coloured clothes that day and offer puja to Goddess. Poetic and musical gatherings are held in some communities in reverence for Saraswati. Among other food items like, fruits and sweets, This Khichuri(Rice and lentil mishmash) along with some fries and curry are also offered in many homes and then distributed among family members, neighbours and friends.

Today I'm sharing the recipe of this Khichuri which can be offered to any puja. As it is offered to God, it is made without onion and garlic. 

You Need ::
Gobindobhog/Basmati Rice : 1 cup
Moong dal: 1 cup
Green peas: ½ cup
Potato (optional) : 3-4
Ginger, minced: 1 tbsp.
Turmeric: 1 tsp.
Red chili: 1 tsp.
Cumin: powder : 1 tsp.
Ghee (clarified butter): 2 tbsp 
Salt to taste

Spices to temper :
Bay leaf: 1
Dry red chili: 1
Green cardamom : 4-5
Cinnamon stick: 1, 1” piece
Clove: 4-5

How To : 
  1. Dry roast moong dal on medium low flame until it turns slightly brown, then wash it well. Soak dal in little water for at least 1/2 an hour, drain and set aside. Wash rice and set aside.
  2. Heat ghee in a large heavy bottomed pan until melted, fry the potato pieces slightly adding a pinch of salt. Remove the potatoes and temper the ghee with spices mentioned in the "spices to temper" list.
  3. Once spices start spluttering, add ground spices, grated or pasted ginger into the pan and mix lightly with a dash of water until ghee separates from masala. Add fried potatoes and peas now and cook for 2-3 mins.
  4. Add soaked moong dal and rice now and mix well with the spices. Add 2 cups of hot water along with salt to taste and bring it to boil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until rice and lentil,both are cooked. 
  5. Lastly add 1 tsp. Of ghee on the top, check the seasoning and remove from heat.

Serve this khichuri with any vegetable made without onions and garlic, like bandhokopir ghonto(dry cabbage curry) or cauliflower curry.

Finally, ending this post with this Saraswati Vandana....if you or your children are somehow associated with any kind of art, literature, music and learning, as we all are, recite this mantra to get her blessing.

                                  " Jaya Jaya Devi Charachara Sare      
                                     Kuchojugosobhito Muktahare
                                     Veena Ranjita Pustakahaste
                                     Bhagabati Bharati Devi Namohastute !"

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