Archive | March 2013

Holi Festival

We see the country celebrate holi with vibrant colours, dance, sweets, bhang etc but at home Holi is celebrated in a very simple and different way.

For us, Holi is considered a festival and needless to mention, ‘Sanaacha Sampak’ (Festival food) goes with it. Other than that there is not much pomp associated with this festival. As my MIL refers to it, ‘Kheer Varan’ is what is required. And ofcourse, the speciality for holi is Puranpoli!

For those with small kids < 5 years of age, Holi is the time they are adorned with Maalas (garlands) made out of edible items such as Puffed rice Maala, Sugar candy Maala, Chocolate maala, biscuit maala etc. This is believed to be for ‘Peeda Parihara’. I will have to check on the exact significance of this custom; Nevertheless, it is a fun way to celebrate and kids would enjoy it too.

Disclaimer – Please note that the below documented pooja is the way I perform it based on what I have learnt from my parents/inlaws. We are Marathi Madhwas (Desistha) and I usually try to follow whatever I can with my limited time and resources. Please check with your respective families before performing the functions. Constructive feedback is welcome.

Significance –

Holi is a festival; an auspicious day….

Menu –

Typical festival food with Puran Poli

Procedure –

Perform regular basic Pooja and do neivaidya to God before eating.

Hot Puran polis :)

Hot Puran polis 🙂

Its Holi! Its Poli time!

Its Holi! Its Poli time!

For kids below 5 years of age –

Preparation –

  • Buy a new dress for the kid [‘Pink’ is the commonly prescribed colour for this occasion]
  • Make or buy maalas made out of edible items  (sample pics below)
Beads for sugar maala

Beads for sugar maala

Sample maalas

Sample maalas

Holi Maalas - Puffed rice & Cashew Badam, Eclairs mala, Chocos and Honeyloops mala & Polo maala

Holi Maalas – Puffed Rice & Cashew Badam, Eclairs mala, Chocos and Honeyloops mala & Polo maala

Maalas

Maalas

Procedure –

  • Put on the new dress for the kid(s) (Usually when new dresses are bought, before wearing them, the elders in the family keep it in front of God and put some kumkum on it and then give it to the person wearing it along with their blessings)
  • Invite a few friends/relatives to be part of the function
  • Make the kid sit down on a plank (Paat) or chair facing East
  • Put the maalas one by one (and dont bother if they start eating them immediately :))
  • Once you have put all the maalas, do Akshana (aarathi) to remove drishti. Then you can remove the maalas and let the kids feast on the goodies!

Tips –

  • If you do not have the time to make Puranpolis, any simple Kheer should be just fine to celebrate the occasion.
  • Get the maalas, new dress ready well in advance before the function. If you are in India, you can buy these maalas readymade (esp in Chennai, Bangalore – not sure about other places)
  • If possible do the function for a few kids (maybe neighbour kids) along with your own – it makes it more fun and kids cooperate better in a group!

Rise and fall of the Cupcakes!

It seemed like a perfect Saturday morning for some nice Chocolate vanilla cupcakes (with some dark choco chips) but something went wrong… the cupcakes rose perfectly in the oven and then just fell making a huge crater in every cupcake! It was disappointing as I had planned to make a big batch and had lots of cake batter.

Tried to google out what could have gone wrong and the reasons were all extremes – either the oven was too hot or not hot enough, either there was too much of baking powder or too little, either the cake batter was mixed too much or too less! Trust me it just did not help and I still dont know the reason for this disaster.

However, the cupcakes tasted absolutely Yum! My son also loved it. So the next day we were having some guests over and I decided to salvage the cupcakes and make a nice icecream cake dessert for dinner.

Here is what I did (Disclaimer – the idea is not fully original. Inspired from lots of recipes I have seen earlier on TV, net etc) – Took out the cupcakes and crumbled it. I lined a bread loaf tin with some aluminium foil, then put one layer of this crumbled cupcake (tightly packed), then one layer of pista icecream (readymade), then one layer of broken bourbon biscuit, one layer of vanilla icecream and finally made a chocolate fudge topping and poured it on top. Froze the whole thing and made slices before serving. The dessert turned out really special. Look at how it turned out below –

The icecream cake

Slicing the cake

Plated up – Ready to be eaten 🙂

It tasted great and everyone enjoyed it.

Tips –

1) I had put a very thick layer of the cake and as it was frozen it was a bit harder than required. It would have been better to put a thin layer and probably I could have put another layer between the icecream layers.

2) When you are building up the layers, you need to have the icecream frozen but also soft for spreading evenly. Also, keep freezing it all at every stage. Especially when I put the chocolate fudge, which was hot, I had to make sure that the rest of it was completely frozen so that I could put the chocolate layer and put it back quickly into the freezer.

3) You could include nuts, tutti fruity etc – just use your imagination!

It was an easy dessert to make as most of the stuff was just bought readymade from the store but by just putting it this way, it felt like a special dish 🙂 Enjoy!