India is a land of festivals. One can find one part or the other celebrate it all through the year. Holi is one such festival which falls early in the beginning of the year. Its a festival of colors celebrated by all the communities irrespective of religion, language and area. This is one thing which I love about my country the most. Every celebration is enjoyed and celebrated by one and all.
Though holi is highlighted with the festival of colors, it has some historical, religious history too behind it. Traditionally celebrated by hindus, off late, it has cut across the religious facts and has become one of the communtiy celebrations of all time of this era. A party atmosphere is created everywhere, young, old, rich, poor, all take part in this celebrations.
The historical banknote of this festival goes like this. Hiranykashyap, a powerful demon king, who was very arrogant due to his indestructible nature, a boon granted to him by Brahma, started to believe he was god. He wanted everyone to worship him. But his son was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship him, like the other common man who did that.
The king was upset and angry about this and asked his sister Holika to help him out to kill his son. Holika, who had the boon of resistance to fire, was asked to sit on pyre with Prahlad, the son of the king. She thought that Prahlad could be burnt alive which did not happen as he his devotion to Vishnu saved him from this. Instead Holika was burnt to ashes. This win of good over the bad marks this festival.
There’s one more version ro this regarding the colorful part of this festival. Krishna, an avtar of Vishnu played with Radha, a gopi (a cow herd girl) and her mates were applied colors by Krishna which later lead to the playing with colors part of the festival. I wish one and all that you all be blessed with a life splashed with all bright colors and winning good over evil in every way thus making us a more refined and good individuals in thoughts and actions.
As all the festivals, this festival is also marked by its food and sweets. There’s one distinction to this. Holi is highlighted by the drink Thandaai. This is a milk drink which is made with nuts and spices which I’ll be posting soon. Poori is speciality of any celebrations in many parts of India. There are different types of pooris which are made flavored and stuffed.
Today I’ve chosen Methi (fenugreek leaves) poori and simple Potato curry(aloo bhaji) which is the set norm of curry which goes with Poori.
Poori is a speciality which is prepared during special ocassions and festivals. This poori is a mix of fresh fenugreek leaves and carom seed powder. Since fenugreek is very bitter and water content is more, I’m marinating it with some salt and turmeric. This will help in reducing the bitterness. When the water from the leaves along with bitterness combined with the flour, will create a taste which will not be great for palete.
Yogurt will give the softness and crispiness needed for the bread. I’m using Greek yogurt in this recipe. Ordinary normal yoghurt can be repalced too. Greek yogurt will give that extra creaminess and an added richness to the pooris. Carom seeds are very good in maintaining your digestive health. Since Poori is fried and potatoes are heavy and can produce gastric issues, I added carom powder to balance all the negativities and make it more healthier in the possible way. Indigestion, gas, abdominal pain and burning sensation will disappear if you add this wonder seed to your food.
Potato curry is a simple dish which is flavored by the essence of onions, ginger, mustard, chillies and curry leaves. Tempering of few lentils adds to the aroma and taste. Potatoes should be well cooked and soft. Mash it up with some chunks. Attaining the correct texture and consistency will balance the curry and gives the right flavor for this curry.
Simple to make and yummy to taste, this can be an indulgence for the weekend.
Clean, wash and drain the leaves. Chop finely. Put in a bowl and add the turmeric and salt. Mix up well and rest for half an hour.
Add all the ingredients except yoghurt and water to a bowl.
Squeeze out the water from the prepared fenugreek leaves and add to the dry ingredients. Combine everything together using a dough mixer or your hand.
Pop in the yogurt and mix up well.
Slowly add the water and knead into a fine smooth pliable dough a little firmer than you do for chapathis. Grease with some oil or ghee. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
After the resting period, make balls of a small lime. Flatten it out to half inch thickness round pooris.
Deep fry in hot oil till golden in color on both sides.
Pressure cook the potatoes for 4-5 whistles till its well done. Cool down a bit. Peel and mash with chunks and keep aside.
In a hot pot, add couple of tablespoons of oil followed by the mustard seeds. Crackle it. Add the lentils and allow that also to splutter.
Pop in the split chillies, ginger and curry leaves and fry till aromatic.
Add the sliced onions and saute till tender and wilted. Add the turmeric and cook further for few minutes.
Throw in the mashed potatoes and combine generously. Cook for couple of minutes by stirring.
Add the water and combine. Adjust salt. Those who wish to have dry bhaji can avoid the water and continue with rest of the procedure.
Finally add a teaspoon of ghee and coriander. Mix up and serve hot with pooris by giving a squeeze of lime.
Happy cooking and Happy Holi