Happy Durga Puja everyone. Bijoy greetings. For Bengali Hindus this is by far the biggest religious celebration. In India it’s ten days long. Abroad, it’s more like two days and people try to squeeze in what they can. In mythology it’s based on Durga’s defeat of the demon Mahishasura. During this festival time in West Bengal, pandals or temporary elaborate religious structures celebrating Ma Durga are created. People go pandal-hopping for hours. Of course all that hopping works up an appetite so people snack on streetside biryanis, kathi rolls and of course delicious foods at home.
This week I’ve been making favorites (recipes image links below)like bandakopeer torkari (cabbage with peas), labra (mixed vegetable), biryani as well as pear chaatni. I’ve most often had chaatni which uses juicy fruits like cranberry, tomato or pineapple but I changed up my usual recipe a bit and was pretty happy with the result. Chaatni is basically a relish meant to add a touch of tang and sweetness to any dish. Because pears don’t have much natural acidity, I used lemon juice.
2 Anjou or Asian pears, peeled and chopped small.
1 T panch paron
1 cinnamon stick
1 T brown sugar
1 t lemon juice
chili powder to taste
1 t cumin powder
(raisins – optional)
Heat a small pan to medium low. A a touch of oil. Toss in panch paran and cinnamon stick. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes till the spices are fragrant and darken. Add in pears and a few ounces of water (should be enough to cover about 50%). Bring to a medium heat. Add in brown sugar, chili powder, cumin powder and lemon juice. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s done when the fruit is cooked all the way through. Serve with biryani or any Indian dish.