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Showing posts with label Dusshera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dusshera. Show all posts

October 17, 2020

Legends behind Navratri and Dusshera Festivals

Every Indian looks forward to October/ November time as it marks the beginning of the major festival season bringing families together for a celebration. 

This year, we are in the midst of a pandemic which may not allow us to join together with friends and relatives as much as we want. However, we can use some novel thinking to connect with each other and enjoy the season with positive thinking. Relating to the gist of the upcoming holidays, Dusshera and Diwali, are the basis of 'the good wins over the evil'.

Dusshera Navratri begins on October 17th and culminates on October 25th which is known as Vijayadashami. Various epic stories are associated with this festival in different parts of India, such as:

  • In Northern, Western, and Central parts of India, they believe that the demon Ravana was killed on this day, hence many towns enact 'Ramleela' for nine days, and on the 10th day, effigies of Ravana are burned. 
  • In Southern India, it is believed that on Vijayadashami, the demon 'Mahishasura' was killed by the goddess Durga also called 'Mahishasura Mardini. 
  • In the Eastern part of India, it is considered that the goddess, Durga, Mahishasura Mardini comes to earth, her natal home, every year at the start of Navratri. She is welcomed with joy and festivities held in every neighborhood. On the 10th day, her idol is immersed in water denoting that she is sent home. 
Most commonly, Dusshera is associated with goddess Durga who is considered as an embodiment of strength, courage, and fierceness. Legend says that the goddess Durga defeated and killed the demon through the strength and power the other gods and goddesses transferred to her. 

While the gods and goddesses share their strength and tools with Durga to fight the demon, they stand as idols at that time. In some southern regions of India, a 'Gollu' is displayed with the arrangement of idols of gods and goddesses depicting this story.

In the spirit of this festival, using the theme of pairing to boost the strength, we're going to share 9-food tips for each day of Navratri: 
  1. Sprouted mung beans
  2. Apples with Peanut Butter
  3. Wheat and Ragi Roti (flatbread)
  4. Spinach and Orange salad
  5. Turmeric - we use this spice in almost all of our dishes. 
  6. Carrots and hummus - healthy snack
  7. Tomato and Olive oil
  8. Beans or chickpeas with rice 
  9. Avocado

We hope you will enjoy them and adopt them to boost your strength and immunity in this uncertain time.

*🌹*🌹*🌹*Happy Navratri to all! *🌹*🌹*🌹*

October 10, 2016

Celebrating Navratri on the Eve of Dusshera!

October 1st marked the beginning of the Navratri celebration, honoring the Hindu deity Durga, the destroyer of demons. Navratri means nine nights. During these nine nights and ten days, various forms or avatars of Durga are worshiped. The tenth day is Dusshera (October 11th). 

In the South (specifically in  Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu), one of the traditions of this festival is a display of toys and figurines called Bommalu Koluvu (Court of Toys) in one's home (as shown above). Our display includes divine presence of Goddesses of Laxmi, Saraswati, and Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Buddha, as well as representations of music and dance with the dancing dolls and musical players. 

The significance of this festival is that good triumphs over evil. This holiday is a great way to renew one's self or start over. A way to get rid of evil or obstacles in one's way and head in a positive direction. I've been stuck in a rut at work the past couple weeks and last week I just decided to tackle those obstacles so I can see a clear path for the new quarter. I realized that by destroying my "demons" or "negative thoughts" I can accomplish a lot. What does this holiday mean to you?


October 22, 2015

Dusshera Wishes for Everyone

From Top Right: Chutney Powder Rice, Mustard Rice, Tamarind Rice, Coconut Rice, and Lemon Rice

In honor of Dusshera and Batkamma (a floral festival of Telangana celebrated by Hindu women), we prepared five kinds of rice dishes.
 My personal favorite is tamarind rice because I love the combination of the tang flavors from the tamarind and the crunchiness of the peanuts. 

Which rice dish is your favorite? How did you and your family celebrate Dusshera today? We would love to hear your stories. 

May this Dusshera light up for you, the hopes of happy times and dreams for a year full of smiles!  

October 18, 2015

Healthy Start with Super Foods

We are continuing our tradition for Dusshera with dishes made with Super Food ingredients such as brown rice, lentils, tofu, quinoa, and leafy greens for eating healthier and better.  These dishes will bring balance to all the foods you may be making for the holiday season.  

We're starting off the dishes with TOFU!! It's healthy, protein enriched and easy to cook. 

Tofu Butter Masala Curry
We're always trying new spice mixes to help us in the kitchen. At one of our most recent grocery shopping trips to Patel Brothers Cash and Carry (in Parsippany), we found Suhana branded Paneer Butter Masala Mix -  great for gravy style curries. 

You can use this spice mix with any protein (paneer, tofu, or meat). We had tofu at home so we used that instead of paneer. Below is our recipe:

- 1 cup tofu (firm or extra firm), cut into 1" cubes
- 2 medium tomatoes, crushed (or you can use 150 grams of tomato puree)
- 1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots (optional)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 50 grams of Suhana Paneer Butter Masala Mix
-  3 tbsp unsalted butter 
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 cup water

1) Make a paste of Suhana Paneer Butter Masala Mix and milk and set aside. 
2) Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onion and cook until the onion mixture looks translucent. Then add crushed tomatoes and cool till the oil oozes out. 
3) Add the paste and cook for two to three minutes. 
4) Add water, tofu, and butter. Cook till gravy thickens. Then add frozen peas and carrots and cook for a couple minutes. Turn off stove and garnish with fresh coriander. 

***Enjoy with your favorite flatbread, rice and/or quinoa.***

Spice Mix Review
The spice mix is easy to work with and doesn't require a lot of steps. A lot of times, we find that spice mixes tend to be on the spicy side but this spice mix was just right. Everyone enjoyed the curry and it was easy to eat with chappati or roti as well as rice. We would definitely recommend all to try.

October 6, 2013


UPDATE: The winner of the $25 Gift Card is Andrew: I've loved Indian food, as well as other Asian food for as long as I can remember. This was due to the exposure that you get to it living in Sydney, which (as I'm sure you know) is very multicultural. I use lentils in all kinds of dal dishes, changing the spice mixture slightly, as I please each time. And then, of course, there are chickpeas, broad beans, etc. There's just so much available for a good low fat diet, and it's delicious, too!
Congratulations, Andrew! Your gift card will be emailed to you soon. 

Thank you all for participating. We enjoyed reading your responses and are delighted that you have subscribed to our blog. 

Wow, how time flies! We're just a week away from Dussehra, which falls on Sunday, October 13th this year. Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This year, we're celebrating the holiday in our own way by participating in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk and 5K Run in our community. It's time to take a STAND against Heart Disease! My mom and I have been participating for the last few years and cannot think of a better way to celebrate Dussehra than joining the cause once more. 

TAKE A STAND for your health! Share your thoughts and you can win. 


One winner will receive a $25 Gift card to, delivered via email. 

To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post and answer the following question(s):

How do you incorporate spices and/or lentils into your cuisine to stay healthy? (Click on spices and lentils for examples)

You can receive up to 3 additional entries to win by doing the following:

1) Subscribe to Indian Khana Made Easy by RSS. Come back and let me know you've subscribed in an additional comment on this post. 

2) Become a fan of Indian Khana Made Easy on facebook. Come back and let me know you became a fan in an additional comment on this post.

3) Follow Indian Khana Made Easy on Twitter. Come back and let me know you've followed in an additional comment on this post.

Deadline: Monday, October 14, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

October 17, 2012

Creamy Tofu and Karela Curry

This is for all vegetarians and healthy conscious people alike. A well balanced meal includes carbs, protein, fats and oils. When it comes to choosing the right ingredients to add the proper nutrients to our meals, one that comes mind is TOFU.

What's so great about Tofu? 
- Low in sodium and cholesterol  
- Low glycemic index
- Good source of protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, selenium, calcium, and manganese. 

With all these positive attributes, what's not to love. We like using a couple different varieties of Tofu: Firm, Extra Firm and Tofu Steak (available in Cajun, Garlic & Pepper, Grilled). These add extra flavor to our dishes.

One of the many ways we use Tofu is adding it to our vegetable gravy curries that are eaten with Indian flatbreads (such as roti, chappati, naan, paratha), and/or brown/white rice. This week's tofu recipe includes Karela (also known as Bitter Melon or gourd), another healthy and nutritious ingredient. So let's start cooking!

Creamy Tofu and Karela curry served w/ Brown Rice & Roti

- 1 lb Karela, chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
- 7.25oz Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes
- 3/4 cup Salsa (Mild, Medium or Hot)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Ranch dip*
- 1 tsp Mustard and Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric (Haldi)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Salt (or as needed)

In a large saucepan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds for seasoning. When they start spluttering, add onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add karela, turmeric, and salt. Mix well and cover pan with tight lid. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until karela is cooked. (Hint: Test it by piercing a knife or fork through a piece of karela and it should go in easily.) Next add tofu pieces, salsa and dip. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

***Quick Tips: 
- If ranch dip is not readily available, add sour cream. 
- Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to reduce the bitter taste of Karela.  
- Check out other yummy Tofu recipes: Tandoori Tofu, Potato & Tofu with Spiced Tomato Sauce

October 16, 2012

It's Pumpkin Picking Time!!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, everywhere!

It's that time of the season again. What's your favorite variety? I never knew there were so many varieties of pumpkins until I went to farmers' markets and picking myself. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a little digging to learn more about this "fruit". Did you know that it was a fruit? Each variety has unique attributes in color, texture, taste and usage (such as baking, cooking, decorating). Here's some interesting nutritional facts:

- High in fiber
- Low in calories, cholesterol, and Saturated fat
- A good source of:
            - Vitamin A
            - Vitamin E
            - Thiamin
            - Niacin
            - Vitamin B6
            - Folate
            - Iron
            - Magnesium
            - Potassium
            - Phosphorus and more
- Even the seeds are high in protein, iron, & B vitamins.  

Now that we know a bit more about their nutritional value, it's time to get cooking. But which type of pumpkin is good for baking and/or cooking? New England Sugar or Baby Pam Sugar Pies are good for baking because they tend to have a sweeter flavor. For Indian cooking, we prefer West Indian Pumpkin also known as Calabaza Squash. It's great for curries and spicy soups. Check out our recipes below:

Seasoned Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Curry

Chunky Pumpkin Sambhar


October 15, 2012

Seasoned Brown Rice Enriched with Lentils & Vegetables

Rice is a staple food in most, if not all, Asian dishes. In South Indian cooking, white rice is served with all of our vegetable curries and rasams. After reading more about the various kinds of whole grains that are beneficial for us, we made a healthy switch to brown rice - which brings us to the first super food ingredient. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice. That means it doesn't raise blood sugar levels as much after you eat it. Any measure that can be taken to lower the risk of getting diabetes sounds good to me. It's also a great source of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B-6.

Below is a great way to spice up brown rice and enjoy eating healthier.

Seasoned Brown Rice with Moong Wadi and Stir Fry Vegetables

- 2 cups Brown Rice/Brown Basmati*
½ cup Moong Wadi (Sun-Dried Lentil Clusters)
- 2 cups Frozen Asian Stir Fry Vegetables
- 8oz can Tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Chili Sauce (Asian variety)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 4 tbsp Olive oil/Vegetable oil

In a large saucepan heat oil, add moong wadi and stir fry until they turn yellow to reddish-brown color. Then add cumin seeds; when they splutter, add rice and fry until mixture becomes whitish. Next add ginger-garlic paste, chili sauce and garam masala. Fry for two minutes and transfer the contents into an electric rice cooker. Then add 6 cups of water, tomato sauce, salt, and allow it to cook. (Hint: use the cup that comes with the rice cooker for the water measurement; otherwise measure 4 cups of water using a regular measuring cup) Stir every 5 minutes to evenly cook. When rice is more than half cooked, add frozen vegetables. Mix well, close cooker with lid and cook until it's done.

***Quick Tips:
- 1/4 cup of uncooked rice = 1 serving
- Check out another great recipe with brown rice.  


Navratri: 9 Ways to Boost Your Health!

October and November are very joyous months for Indians all over. Why you may wonder? Two of the most important Hindu holidays take place during this time - Dusshera and Diwali. There are many interesting stories associated with the celebration of Dusshera, and they vary from region to region in India. As with many Indian festivals, this festival is associated with GOOD conquering EVIL, and it is depicted with the story of three main goddesses (Gauri, Lakshmi, and Saraswati). They unite to form a powerful 'Shakti' or force called Durga who kills Mahishasura, a powerful demon. Another popular story is that Lord Rama kills Ravana, the ten headed demon. The festival is celebrated by taking part in religious activities and fasting for nine days called Navratri, which begins on October 15th this year. People culminate with joyous festivities on the tenth day, which is known as 'Vijayadashami' and it is a very auspicious day. Any task (such as kids' education, new businesses or ventures) that is initiated on this day is believed to be successful.
'Navratri' and 'Vijayadashami' are always associated with STRENGTH, POWER, FORCE, and SUCCESS. Thus, we wanted to utilize the occasion to provide some useful tips and recipes of 9 super food ingredients that are power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants that benefit our health.

1) Brown Rice
2) Pumpkin
3) Tofu
4) Lentils
5) Yogurt
6) Sweet Potato
7) Sesame/Flax seeds
8) Leafy greens
9) Almonds/Walnuts

Let the healthy cooking and eating begin!!!