Sunday, October 19, 2008

Narkel Naru and Dal Tadka

Its great to be back again .
We had a great time during Durga Puja .Here is my five day report I tried writing for you all.
We hopped many Pandals and saw many mesmerizing Protima(Idol).

Picture below is taken on Navami , This puja pandal was very near to our home .

Durga Puja is known as Sharodo Utsav here .The season is Sharad or Autumn ,so sharodo utsav or is also called as Autumn Festival. Akalbhodhon is the another name associated with Sharad kalin Durga Puja .Akal means untimely, Bodhon means invoking or invoking goddess Durga Untimely).
This is basically based on the mythology, when Shri Rama invoked Goddess Shakti to get her blessings prior in a battle to defeat mighty Ravana.
Goddess Shakti also takes the form of divine Mahishashurmardini according to Bengali belief, who beheaded the buffalo headed Demon Mahishashur after a long and violent battle. This victory is also victory of goodness over Evil, and Brightness over dark ness .

In Present day Context, there are many Mahishahsurs in our souls in the form of hatred, jealousy, evil and ill-will, by invoking Goddess Durga, we pray to her,to kill these pity issues that crop within us and purify our body and souls.

Navaratri- a Nine Day festival of rituals and custom.
Shashti – Durga Puja Starts with sixth Day or shashti. According to Bengali belief ,On shashti eyo ra(married and blessed with children) observe fast .There are other shashti Fast also like the Neel shashti on the Chaitra masher(April) and Ashok Shashti during Basanti Puja , which has the similar significance .After offering pushpanjali ( flowers and leaves of bel tree generally triplets of leaf, considered very sacred is offered to God, Pushp means flower and Anjali means offering to God through a folded hand).
This is the ritual which is performed under Bel Tolay (Bel Tree) break their fast with sweets and fruits. Priest who recites sholokas for the Pushpanjali, gives them Charnamitra( a yogurt ghee based liquid)and fhol Prasad (sweets and fruits).This was a wonderful experience for me.
In the evening Protima is unveiled amidst Dhaak(drums) playing in the back –ground called bhodhon and amontron to Goddess Durga and her Children.
Dhaakis from this day to the last day of Navaratri , would generally take rounds of our complex every morning and every evening with drum beats , calling all residents and letting us know that its time now for celebration. I would generally wake up early in morning with Drum beats.
That was a very wonderful, sweet experience, and a memory that still lingers on my mind.

On saptami - a ritual consisting of placing a small banana plant, wrapped in a yellow color saree ,this is called Kola Bou , and it is placed just besides God Ganesha is observed. It is considered that this plant has Mayer pran or Shakti ,but on a popular belief this plant is known as Kola Bou ,wife of Lord Ganesha.
Pushpanjali lagna was at around 11.30 a.m. and after offering pushpanjali we went to hop many more pandals and Protima.
Here are some of the Picture.

This Puja Pandal was a huge Pandal and crowd was always pouring in to watch and feel it .

here is a pattern carved on Puja Pandal ,made entirely by Plastic Pipes.

When we returned from Pandal Hopping , we were all tired and down , we got the opportunity of having Bhog(Prasadam) which included khichuri ,beguni(Brinjal slices coated with besan and deep fried),alu cabbage curry ,labra(medley of vegetables) ,chatni papad and bonde .It felt absolutely heavenly with that plate of bhog .
Sandhya aroti was a delight to watch with friends and family, and we all then bee lined to the Phuchka counter outside our Puja Pandal .
We also watched the magnificent cultural Program, that was so meticulously prepared by little children’s of our housing society over the last few days .After the cultural Program was over ,then it was the turn of Dandiya ,Dandiya is a raas dance where people would form circles and do the dancing with two wooden sticks in synchronization with the Orchestra playing music in back –ground. Often the best dancers and well dressed traditionally with Ghagra and Choli for Ladies and Cholis and churidaars for Gents , is picked form groups and awarded on the spot.
My Little one also enjoyed the Raas Nritya of Dandiya.
I will conclude the rest about the ashtami ,navami and Vijayadashmi in my next post , stay tuned.

Here are some recipes ,we cooked during one of those days .

Narkoler Naru


Fresh coconut meat grated 2 cups
½ cup of sugar or add less as per taste
4-5 tbs of ghee
MethodTake out the coconut from the shell and make small pieces, Grind it in Mixer with the half cup of sugar, make a smooth mixture, taste it, if needed add little more sugar.
Heat up ghee, now add coconut and sugar mixture and cook at med-high for 10 -15 mints stirring continuously .Make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to base to the base of pan.
Since the sugar and coconut meat is mixed evenly the cooking time is saved here.
When it starts to collect and comes out smoothly from the sides of Kadai or there is a slight change of color, this is ready.
Now grease a plate with ghee, and take out the mixture and gently flatten it .Let it cools.
Now make small portions and roll them into small rounds
Store it in air tight plastic or steel container, make sure the containers are not moist, it’s better to sun-dry them for sometimes before storing narkel naru in them.
This remains fresh for 1-2 weeks, provided it lasts.
Narkel naru is our childhood favorite sweet and we still find it so delectable and flavorful.
My Mom would make them in bunch and store it before the Puja Starts up.
Making them reminds me of my childhood memories of Durga Puja.Its kind of a connection I share with my mom; hope my little one picks it form here to carry on…

These Narus are made with sugar so white in color ,there is also more popular variety made with Jaggerey or Gur which imparts a little dark color .Narus made with Gur is more popular than the sugar based narus and the flavor also differs.

Dal Tadka

Lentils belongs to fabaceae which is included in Legume family , and is grown all over India. Pigeon pea is a split lentil known as Arhar or toor dal,is a good source of protein and iron .Dals are an integral part of a vegetarian cooking .
Here is the simple recipe for our home-made dal tadka.
Arhar and Moong dal ½ cup each

1 tsp of sugar
2 dry red pepper
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2-3 tbs of mustard oil
2 tej pata
2 tbs of ghee
MethodSoak the dal in water for 5mints and then wash it thoroughly.
Now transfer the dal in Pressure cooker , add 2 -3 cups of water, cook for 4 mints at high, discard the white froth with spatula, low the flame . Add more water ,if required .
Add turmeric powder and salt.
Cover and cook at high, one whistle and lower the flame, cook for 4 mints at low.
Let the Pressure subside and then open the cover. Add sugar now .
Heat up a kadai , add ghee , add cumin seeds ,tej patta ,dry red pepper split in between and fry for 1-2 mints at high , now carefully temper the cooked Dal with it , stir and cook for 2-3mints .This is tadka or in simple flavoring the dal , smoked and fried cumin seeds and Tej Patta gives a very earthy flavor .
Cooking Dal often depends on how you give a simple tadka to cooked dal.A simple Dal can have very flavorful taste with the correct flavoring and tempering or tadka .
Take out in a vessel and serve with Rice.

This recipe is going to Sra's Place When My Soup Came Alive who is hosting this month's My Legume-Love Affair .Originally started By Gracious Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook .Hope to see many more interesting Love Affairs .

Happy cooking Friends.


  1. Hi Jaya, enjoyed reading your report. That puja pandal so big is a revelation. The bhog is a full meal, right? Here, as far as I know, it's only a cup of anything, at the most. :-)

    Thanks for the entry. Please check your mail, too!

  2. Really informative and dal looks so yumm.

  3. looks like you had a great time during pujo... narakeler nadu ta darun...

  4. Hi Jayshree,
    Subho Bijaya to you and to your family. I wish u like a little surprise on my blog, so check the link below

  5. Sra,
    Bhog(prasad) remains our all time fav and yes it was a full meal,Thanks for reading my report LOL..

    Thanks dear.

    narokel naru hoye emon, ek baar Khele baare -baare khete eche kore.

    warm welcome here ,shubho bijoya to you also .
    hugs and smiles

  6. That is a great write.:-)
    And nice snaps too.

  7. To be awakened by the sound of drums must be magical. What incredible celebrations!

    Your dal tadka is lovely, so rich in turmeric color.

  8. Sharmila
    thank You dear

    warm welcome and its a pleasure to have you here.
    Yeah its absolutely a very divine experience.Thanks for stoping by.

  9. Hey Jaya...gud to see you back..the pics are very nice ..and the coconut burfi looks simply yummy

  10. Hi Jaya! Hope you had a good break...both dishes look delicious...

  11. Priti,Sagari,Vijaya
    thanks you all for coming here.
    hugs and smiles

  12. Dugga, dugga...
    beautiful pics....

  13. Great post and pictures of the celebration...the sweet and dhal look yum :-)

  14. Nice post, Jaya! Looks like you had a fabulous Durga Pujo. The pandal looks fabulous!

  15. I love narkel naadu... and peethe...
    Oh you have caught me drooling!!

    Happy Diwali!

  16. Swati,Vani,Sia,Usha
    thanks you all for coming by.
    It means a lot for me.
    Happy Diwali to you all .
    Hugs and smiles

  17. My first time here.

    Thanks for sharing the pujo pandals and the details. I have not attended pujo for many years now, but feel very nostalgic. ar koto din narkol naru khayi ni:-((
    I remember a jethima used to make the purely white ones and they looked and tasted divine. Thank you so much for sharing.


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