Navratri fasting comes to an end on Ashtami (eighth day). This day is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm all over the country. Food and offerings are made to ‘Maa Durga’ (Goddess Durga).
Many Hindus worship little girls ‘devi’ to symbolise them as the ‘Goddess‘ herself. This Pooja is either done on Ashtami or in some families, Navmi (ninth day). This is usually known as Kanya Pooja or Kanjak Pooja. The ritual is to wash the feet of these little girls and then offer them beautiful ‘chunnari‘ (colourful scarves) along with bangles, toys among other attractive gifts! They are then offered delicious food too….that’s when Sookhe Kaale Chane is served along with Poori and Sooji/ Rawa/ Semolina Halwa or Pudding . And trust me..it’s a divine combination.
Hot, fluffy Pooris with the spicy Sookhe Kaale Chane and that Halwa studded with dry fruits and lots ghee is to die for! This is the menu served all across the Northern Part of India. I am not too sure what goes into the menu in other regions as there is a lot diversity when it comes to celebrating festivals in India.
I remember when I was a little girl, I used to go visit a few places as my Mother’s friends would invite me over for the Kanya Pooja! It was so much fun…and then later I would have my friends and some other girls over at my place for the same Kanya Pooja 😀🙏🙏 and we would all tuck into this delicious meal.
I would actually wait for it for days!! My Mom, she makes such delicious Sookhe Kale Chane, Pooris and Halwa😋😋…I just can’t resist when she has all these things lined up in front of me! 😂 Her recipes are so simple and yet very flavoursome
Although, all over Northern India, the recipe for these Chane and Halwa remains pretty much the same…just an ingredient here or there might be different.
Lets go on with my Mother’s recipes…
️Yield: serves 3-4
Sookhe Kaale Chane
Equipment: a wok, a ladle, measuring cups/ spoons.
3 cups boiled Kaale Chane (soak them overnight and boil them for 2-3 whistles in a pressure cooker) (Bengal Gram)
salt to taste (we use regular salt for this)
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
a pinch of hing (asafoetida, optional)
1 tsp red chilli pwd
1+1/2 tsp roasted cumin pwd
1+1/2 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp amchur pwd (dry mango pwd, optional)
chopped coriander to garnish
Once the chane have been boiled, drain all the water and set them aside. Now, heat the wok, once it’s hot enough, add the oil. Now, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them splutter a bit. Next, add the boiled chane and season with salt.
Mix well and add the other dry spice mentioned above. Mix them well. Cover with a lid and let it all cook for 4-5 mins. As the chane are boiled, we don’t need to wait too long for them to cook. Once done, turn off the gas and garnish with chopped coriander. 😬 that’s it, it’s ready!
Equipment: a large mixing bowl, measuring cups/ spoons, a wok, a slotted spatula, rolling pin, rolling board.
2 cups wholewheat flour
salt to taste
3 tbsp warm ghee
1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
water as needed to knead the dough
oil for frying
Take the flour in the the mixing bowl, add salt and carom seeds to it. Give it a good mix. Make a well in the centre, and add the ghee in the well and mix again. Now add water little by little into the flour and make a firm dough (kadak). Cover it and let it rest for about 30 mins.
Next, make equal sized balls of the dough, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough. The diameter can be 3″-4″ or even more. But do not roll them too thin. The thickness should be about 3mm or so. Do the same for all the dough balls and keep on a plate. Heat oil for frying in the wok. Once it’s hot, fry one or two Pooris at a time, be careful not to splash any oil. About 30 seconds on the first side and 15 seconds or less on the other side will give perfect and fluffy Pooris. Do the same for the entire batch and set them aside. They are ready 👏👏
Sooji Ka Halwa:
Equipment: a heavy bottomed wok, a ladle, measuring cups/ spoons.
1 cup Sooji (semolina)
7-8 tbsp sugar (adjust as per your taste)
4-5 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp cardamom pwd
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
some chopped dry fruits to garnish
Heat ghee in the wok, then, add sooji and roast it on medium flame until it turns slightly golden. Now add the milk and water in the roasted sooji.
Give everything a stir. Add the sugar and cardamom pwd next. Keep stirring (it will look very diluted at this point, but slowly the sooji will absorb the milk and water & the sugar will melt too). Once it’s dry enough to a consistency of your liking , turn off the flame and garnish with some chopped pistachios and almond slivers or fried cashews too 😀 that’s it! Serve it piping hot with Pooris & Sookhe Kale Chane! 💕
(Note: Adding milk will give a very rich flavour. Skip it if you wouldn’t like that, simply add an extra 1/2 cup of water to replace it. You will notice that I add the sugar directly to the sooji instead of making a sugar syrup, that’s because this method is sure shot. You will never face any issues of the sugar burning or not melting. My Mom has been doing this for the last 45+ years. It always works!)