India is a land of festivals. Round the year you get to celebrate one festival or the other. A major section of people take part in every celebrations. My life has been a journey from childhood. As my dad always shifted from place to place and hospitals to hospitals, we always had the opportunity to interact with different people of different countries and Indians from different parts, and a caravan of friendships were formed during these years. Later, after getting married and shifting to UAE, the process continued. The most interesting and touching part what I noticed in this part is that irrespective of region and language, we all remained Indians and took part in all the celebrations and festivities inter twining the traditions and strengthening the bonds of friendship.
Talking of festivals, its festivities time again with the festival of colors. I wish all my well wishers a colorful year ahead and happy Holi. Holi is an ancient festival celebrated on the day after the last full moon of Phalguna, the last month of the Hindu calendar (between late February and early March). Traditionally, this was a major religious festival celebrated by devotees of Hinduism. Today, however, Holi is celebrated not only by Hindus, but also by non-Hindus in South Asia, as well as peoples of various communities around the world.
The popularity of Holi today may be understood when its other name, the ‘Festival of Colors’, is taken into account. One of the features of Holi is the use of colored powders and colored water during the festival. Several days before the celebration itself, markets would be filled with colored powders of every hue for the festival-goers to purchase. Whilst this is the norm today, there are those who still make the colored powders by themselves, usually from flowers, in their homes. The coloring of friends and strangers with powder and water is particularly enjoyed by children. Nevertheless, adults also participate enthusiastically in this color fight that begins in the morning of the festival. This color fight seems to be the highlight of Holi, and provides us with the most recognizable images of the festival. In fact, during this celebration, social barriers are broken down, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, are all on an equal footing (Input courtesy: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/mythological-origins-holi-ancient-and-colorful-festival-south-asia-003777).
There are two reasons why I’m coming up with vegetarians dishes. One holi and the other is the lent season. Hope you guys find these recipes useful and highly palatable. Shahi Vegetable Kurma is a extravagant rich dish. Shahi means royal, kingly or deluxe, that itself will explain the essence of this dish. There are different ways of making it. I have this habit of getting things to the topmost level (which according to my daughter is overdoing things:))), when you gear up for occasions and food is an highlight of the event, naturally you have be at your best. This is what I’ve done exactly.
The choice of veggies are up to you completely. I added the veggies which my family like. Sautéed everything in the spice powders and ginger garlic paste to that the vegetables are infused with maximum flavors. I used my gravy base (http://simiskitchendiaries.com/gravy-base-curries-roast-stir-fries/) instead of adding tomatoes and tomato puree so that its gets enriched in more way. The traditional recipe holds cashews, poppy seeds, almonds for enhancing the flavor and thickening the gravy. I fried cashews and onions and added it along with almond meal and desiccated coconut. The paste I made this was more in quantity so that I can keep some for later use. You can add whole cashews and raisins to the curry if you are a fan of nuts. My kids are not enthusiastic about these things, so I avoided adding it. This is a mildly favored dish enriched with nuts and coconut, a royal way to celebrate your occasion and a fulfilling way to satisfy your fasting palette.
Heat a pan with some oil. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till fragrant. Add all the powders and fry till aromatic.
Add diced potatoes, carrots and peas. Combine everything well, frying for 5 minutes on high flame. Close the lid and cook till all the veggies are half done.
Now add the diced mushrooms, incorporate again and cook till mushrooms are done adding half a cup of water and required amount of salt.
Add the paneer to the vegetable mixture and cook for 5 minutes under medium flame so that all the flavors get infused into the paneer too.
Now add the gravy (the recipe for this can be found in my website, the link of which I’ve given in my intro).
Integrate everything. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter at this stage.
Make a paste of cashews, onions, desiccated coconut and almond powder combining coconut milk. Keep adding the coconut milk till you get thick pouring consistency paste.
Add almost 1 cup of this paste to the curry. Stir well until well blended. Allow it to simmer till the flavors are infused with the paste and a balance is attained.
Finally add the chopped coriander and stick back the lid on and keep for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot with Rice or Rotis and enjoy !!!!!