Basanti Pulao

Basanti pulao or Bengali sweet yellow pulao. Bright yellow coloured aromatic rice made with fragrant gobindobhog rice saffron and aromatic whole spices taste heavenly with any spicy curry. A festive dish from Bengali cuisine. Basanti stands for yellow. This sweet yellow pulao called basanti pulao, holud pulao or misti pulao. Basanti pulao also taste great with Basmati rice, so you can use whatever you have.

Durga puja is around the corner. Try this aromatic rice to celebrate your festival. You can also make it for bhog prasad for Goddess. To know about Durga Puja or Sharad Utsab click here. For bhog or naivedya different types of dishes are prepared to offer Goddess Durga. Reading a book Bhog Naivedya by Sujata Shukla. Copy pasting a line from the book, “This is not just faith, but also a nation’s food culture, brought to you on a puja thali!.” I completely agree with it. You can get many more authentic recipes on above Durga Puja post link. As I said you can serve this pulao with any veg or non veg spicy curry. I served it with shahi dum aloo. I will share the recipe soon.

Here are some no onion garlic veg curry recipes which you can serve with this pulao.

Chhanar dalna

Spicy potato curry

Makhana curry

Kaju Curry

Dahi aloo

Aloo kofta curry

Pointed gourd in yogurt gravy

Rasgulla korma

Matar kofta

Shahi paneer

Aloo Paneer

You can also serve this pulao with any non veg curry like

Chicken kosha

Chicken rezala

Dim kosha

Zafrani chicken

Chicken dak bungalow

Rara mutton

Railway mutton curry

Fish kalia

Chhanamukhe ilish

Chicken chaap

Fragrant gobindobhog rice with whole spices made this pulao aromatic. But if you don’t have gobindobhog rice then you can use Basmati rice. I usually make basanti pulao with Basmati rice because gobindobhog rice is not available outside Bengal. Have a look at how it looks with basmati rice. In this pulao I have used basmati rice and instead of saffron used little turmeric powder.

But this time got gobindobhog rice online. I used saffron or keshar to make this pulao basanti or yellow. If you don’t have saffron then you can use little food colour or turmeric. But I recommend to use saffron for the lovely aroma and colour.

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Recipe

Gobindobhog rice – 1&1/4 cup

Ghee or clarified butter – 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

Saffron or keshar – 1/4 teaspoon

Milk – 3 tablespoon

Cumin seeds or jeera – 1/2 teaspoon

Green cardamom – 3

Cloves – 3

Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Bay leaf – 1

Cashew nuts – 15

Raisins – 15

Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated or paste

Salt – 1 teaspoon or to taste

Sugar – 2-3 tablespoon

Bengali garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon

Mace or javitri powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Nutmeg or jaiphal powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Water – 2 & 1/2 cup

Method

1. Wash the rice well. Drain the water completely. Marinate the rice with 1 teaspoon ghee, salt, sugar, grated ginger or paste, nutmeg or jaiphal powder, mace or javitri powder, cumin powder and 1/2 teaspoon Bengali garam masala powder. Get the recipe of Bengali garam masala here. I have used 1 teaspoon salt and 2&1/2 teaspoon Sugar and its perfect for me. Mix everything well and keep aside.

2. Soak saffron for 15 minutes in 3 tablespoon warm milk. After 15 minutes crush the saffron with your finger tips and let it soak for some more time.

3. Crush the green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a mortar pestle.

4. Heat remaining ghee in a pan or wok. You can use half oil and half ghee if you want but ghee taste better. Fry the cashew nuts on low medium heat. Keep stirring to fry the nuts evenly. When cashew nuts becomes light golden brown transfer the nuts on a plate.

5. Now fry the raisins. When raisins fluff up immediately remove from ghee and transfer on a plate.

6. In the same ghee add cumin seeds, crushed green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. When cumin seeds starts to splutter add marinated rice and fry for 2-3 minutes.

7. Add saffron soaked milk, water and fried cashew nuts and raisins. Mix well.

8. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on high heat. After 5 minutes reduce the heat and cook on simmer for 5 minutes again.

9. Now stir the rice gently and check. Add little more water if required. I had to add 1/4 cup more water. Cover and cook on simmer for 5 minutes more or till water absorbed.

10. Add 1/2 teaspoon Bengali garam masala powder, mix and switch off the heat.

11. Cover and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Now fluff the rice gently and serve with any spicy curry.

Recipe notes

1. Basmati rice can be used instead of gobindobhog rice.

2. You can use turmeric powder or yellow food colour instead of saffron or keshar.

If you tried my recipe, you can share your food pictures with me in the social network sites by using hashtag, #batterupwithsujata I would love to see your creations.

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Durga Puja Or Sharad Utsab

“Sarva Mangala Mangalye Sive Sarvartha SadhikeSaranye Trayambike Gauri Narayani Namostute”

Wishing a very happy Durga Puja to everyone. May Goddess Durga bless you and your family.

Durga Puja or Sharad Utsab is a most popular festival in Bengal. And also for us who are living outside Bengal. Durga Puja called Sharad Utsab because its celebrated in Autumn or Sharad season.

Goddess Durga took nine forms to kill Mahishasura, the demon. Each form has its own significance. Nine day of Navaratri devotees worship all the nine form of Godess Durga.

We celebrate it from 6 day of Navaratri to 9 day. Puja end on tenth day called Dasami or Dussehra.

For us its celebration time. Its autumn season. Clear blue sky with white cloud, different types of flowers including Shiuli or harsingar are the significance of Durga puja.

why it is celebration time?
According to mythology, Goddess Durga visits her paternal home with her four children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik at this time every year and after staying here for four days, she returns to her husband lord Shiva on Dasami or Dussehra. The immersion ceremony on Dussehra represents her journey back home. We will discuss on this day at the end. And a big thank to Sujata Shukla for suggesting me to write this post. Thank you so much. Also sharing some recipes that you can make for bhog prasad at the end. Please scroll down to get the recipe links.

Today is Sashthi or sixth day of Navaratri. Starting day of Durga Puja. We celebrate the homecoming of Goddess Durga. Maa comes home for few days. So it’s not only celebration time but also a feasting time. Many people thought why we all not observe fast on these days. No for us these four days are the happiest days of the year. So enjoy it with different kinds of veg and none veg dishes. You don’t have to restrict yourself.

You can see everyone wearing new clothes. Specially faces of our happy kids makes us more happy.

Today is the first day of Durga puja. In morning is the time for Ghat Sthapna. Ghatasthapana or Kalash Sthapana is the most significant ritual of tha first day.

Mothers keep fast on this day for the well being of their kids.

Idol prepared in the pandal or Puja mandap. But it will be decorated and the priest will do all the ritual in the evening.

On sixth day of Navaratri is the time to preparing for 4 day Durga Puja. Kalparambha ritual is perform in the beginning of Durga Puja.

Preparations on Sasthi consists of three aspects-
a> Kalparambha
b> Bodhan
c> Adhivas and Amantran

Kalparambha- This ritual is done in the early hours of the morning. It deals with the Sankalpa to conduct the puja properly and by abiding all the rituals and customs. The ritual consists of installing the ghata, water-filled copper pot, at a corner of Durga mandap and offering worship to Durga and Chandi.
Bodhan – This is performed at the dusk. Durga Puja falls midway through the sleeping period of the Gods and hence they need an ‘awakening’; which is nothing but the Bodhan.

Adhivas and Amantran– The procedure of invocating the Devi in the bel tree, post the Bodhan , is known as Adhivas. The ritual consists of the following steps-

  1. Devi Durga and the Bel tree are first worshipped
  2. Twenty-six sacramental things are sanctified by touching Devi Durga and the Bel tree with them.
  3. To get rid of evil effects, a red coloured thread is tied around the altar where Puja is done.
  4. Then ‘amantran’ is done, which is not but inviting the Devi to accept the Puja the next day. Then the Devi is worshipped and arati is done. These marks the end of proceedings on Mahasasthi and the daily Puja starts on the next morning. Source

Day 2 Maha Saptami or seventh day of Navaratri.

On this day puja began with Vedic hymns and playing of Conch and beating of drums. As prasad different types of fruits and sweets offered to Goddess. And distribute among the devotee.

In afternoon moong dal or yellow lentil khichdi, mixed vegetable, five types of fried vegetables, chutney and kheer or rice pudding offered to Goddess. You can get the recipe of khichdi here.

Aarti ceremony or waving of lighted lamps will be performed in the evening. Aarti with the sound of conch blowing and drums makes the environment divine.

Photo courtesy

Picture from Google

Photo courtesy Suchismita Roy

Maha Ashtami today.
The eighth day starts with elaborate puja and pushpanjali rituals followed by the Sandhi Puja. Sandhi Puja is performed when Ashtami Tithi ends and Navami Tithi starts.

In Sandhi Puja ritual offering of 108 lotuses and lighting of 108 lamps is must.

Garland of 108 lotus offered to Goddess.

And 108 lamps are ready to be lit.

Photo courtesy Shoumik Bhattacharya

Picture credit Suchismita Roy

Usually luchi and halwa offered as prasad in Sandhi puja. After Sandhi Puja prasad is ready to be served to the devotees.

In evening devotees performe dhunuchi naach or dance. This dance is performed holding a dhunuchi or earthen pot. Some burning coconut husk placed in these earthen pot with dhuno or powdered essence sprinkled in it. I don’t have any pictures but got these two beautiful pictures from Google.

Ninth day or Maha Nabami today 🙏

After all the ritual puja, pushpanjali, hawan and bhog. Today’s bhog or offering platter consists of pulao, peas and potato curry, eggplant fritters, tomato chutney and kheer or rice pudding. Sorry forgot to click today.

And last day for panda hopping.

10th day today. Happy Dussehra or Happy Vijayadashami to everyone.

As I have mentioned after staying here for four days, she returns to her husband lord Shiva on Dasami or Dussehra. The immersion ceremony performed on this day.

On this day after morning puja and offering dahi chivra or flattend rice and curd priest perform darpan visarjan ritual.

Before the idol is lifted from the stage priest symbolically immerses the idol, by capturing its reflection in a mirror which is dipped in a bowl of water. This ceremony known as darpan visarjan or mirror immersion. People take their last darshan of the Goddess through the mirror. Here is a picture from Google.

Married women apply sindur or vermillion on the forehead of Goddess and then apply sindur on each other. Its called sindur khala. And women also offers sweet and beetle leaf or paan to Godess.

Now Goddess Durga prepared to leave to back home.

After all the joy and festivities now its time for devotees bid farewell to Maa Durga with tears in their eyes. Praying mother Godess to come again next year.

A large number of devotees join the procession to carries Goddess for immersion or visarjan in the river.

May Goddess Durga bless you and your family with all the happiness, wisdom, health and success 🙏

Photo courtesy Suchismita Roy

Updating this post with some recipes which can be offered to Goddess as bhog prasad.

1. Bhoger khichuri or khichdi

2. Luchi

3. Radhaballabhi with aloor dom

4. Pulao

5. Khajur aamsotto chutney

6. Mango chutney

7. Nolen gurer paesh

8. Kheer/paesh or rice pudding

9. Misti doi

10. Fried rice

11. Mohanbhog
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