It is possibly the best time of the year in Mumbai right now. And my favourite too. The Monsoons (however much I love them! ) are finally on their way back to where they come from. The air is filled with a festive spirit and us Mumbaikars, we’re ready to soak in all the gaiety and delicious dishes that keep doing the rounds. I am the happiest because this also means extra leaves from work (always a pleasure) and going back home. Like you Kanika, Rakhi for me was a family affair too. Getting back together at home is always a welcome change especially when you live in a city like this.
While Ma was responsible for the festive meals back home, I am on my own yet again, facing the challenges posed by the festivals lined up. The current favourite being our cute little Ganpati, who is visiting the city and has us all excited! You should be here to believe the sights, the sounds and the hype that goes on during the Ganpati Visarjan. It’s something one should experience at least once in a lifetime. What I love about this festival is that, it just gets everyone together. In a country of great divides, this festivals unites India’s largest city like nothing else. We are all just mere people, basking in the presence of the heavenly. We simply give in to his charm. We are all on one side, for a change 🙂
I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the festival with my cousins and family here in Mumbai. Sharing with you a few snapshots of the idol and festivities.
So while the Lord sits and enjoys all the attention, we cook! Just about anything and everything to please him, make him stay longer and also make him visit us again. Well, I’m not complaining about all the cooking, cause I get to relish so much food 🙂 especially the modaks.
While I’m still to try my chef hands at an authentic Ganesh Chaturthi sweet, here’s what I did for the day. Took an easy way out 🙂 and made Puri Bhaji. One cannot go wrong with this simple dish and yet it feels like a festive meal (psssttt… oil and potatoes! can they ever go wrong?) It’s a very simple dish (loaded with calories, but who cares?) that I prepare occasionally on festivals when I am pressed for time, energy or both.
All you need is potatoes, flour and oil… and a huge appetite!
I also made Kheer, not the best I’ve made to date, so I will be sharing that in another post on some other festival maybe.
Ganesh Chaturthi Puri and Aloo Bhaji recipe
For the Bhaji:
6-7 medium potatoes boiled, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium onion finely sliced
half a teaspoon turmeric
a dash of lemon
salt to taste
chopped coriander (dhaniya) for garnish
For the tempering:
1 teaspoon mustard seeds or rai
2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil
4-5 green chilies sliced open
6-7 curry leaves
For the Puri:
2 cups of flour
2-3 teaspoons ghee
a pinch of salt
Oil to deep fry
Preparing the Bhaji:
Wash the potatoes and boil them with a pinch of salt in a pressure cooker. Once cool, peel the skin and cut them into 1 inch cubes. Set aside until you prepare the tempering.
Heat oil in a kadhai (or skillet), add mustard seeds and after they sputter, reduce the heat to low flame and add the curry leaves. Then, add the chilies and sliced onions. Fry for 2 minutes, and then add turmeric. Cook the onions till they are translucent, then add the boiled and cut potato cubes.
Don’t worry if your potato cubes are crumbling, you will see that the over boiled part of the potato will enhance the flavor of the bhaji.
Add salt to taste and cook for a few minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Preparing the Puri:
Add salt and ghee to the flour and knead the dough with just enough water. The puri dough should be quite soft and not hard at all. When done, pull it apart to see if it stretches easily, if it does, it is just perfect. Let the dough rest for about half an hour.
Make small puris (round if you can manage 🙂 and deep fry in oil heated at medium high flame.
Serve hot with the bhaji and before you enjoy a morsel, say “Ganpatti Bappa Moraya!”
Note: Here’s a promise to myself. The next time when the Lord is visiting, I shall be fully equipped to make a feast and do away with shortcuts 🙂