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Celebrations: Celebration, Cooking, Cravings…

October 2013
Celebrations: Celebration, Cooking, Cravings…

Festival time is food time! To help you light up your kitchen this season, we rounded up recipes, some traditional, some not—some savory, some sweet.


 From the kitchen of Madras Chettinaad – Alpharetta, Georgia

Owner-chef Narendra Patel is one of the most successful Indian restaurant operators in town, and a graduate of Mumbai’s culinary school. He offered a modern dessert and the traditional masala vadai (albeit, with a modern twist in consideration of allergies and healthy eating). Both of these items will be featured in their buffet during the week of Diwali—“our grandest buffet of the year,” he added with enthusiasm.

SHAHI TUKRA (BREAD PUDDING) (8 to 10 servings)

1 pint whole milk
1 pint half and half
1 12 fl. oz. can evaporated milk
8 oz. ricotta cheese
3 cans condensed milk
1 packet Britannia suji toast or rusk (as needed)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Boil whole milk and half and half together for 10 minutes. Slowly add condensed milk while you keep stirring the boiling milk; add evaporated milk and boil for 5 minutes. Add ricotta cheese and boil for another 5 minutes. Add cardamom powder. Arrange rusks on a flat shallow tray or plate. Pour milk mixture onto the rusks, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve hot.



MASALA VADAI (12 to 15 vadas)
(Gluten free and chick pea flour allergy free)

Tasty vadas can be made for special events like festivals and parties. They are also great snacks any time, often thought of as comfort food.

3 cups yellow or green split peas
2 ¾ tsp. salt (to taste)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. asafetida powder
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 medium onion (chopped)
8 Thai green chilies (crushed)
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch fresh dill (chopped)
8-10 curry leaves (chopped)
1 tsp. chili powder (if required)
Oil for deep frying

Wash yellow or green split peas and soak for at least 5-6 hours. Drain all the water away.
In a food processor grind soaked peas, ginger, cumin, and garlic. While grinding, if water is needed, add as little as possible. The batter need not be a fine flowing batter. It has to be as thick as possible.
Add finely chopped onions, crushed green chilies, coriander leaves, curry leaves, chopped dill, and salt and mix well. Taste the batter and adjust the seasoning.
Heat oil to deep fry the vadas.
Forming the vadas: place a Ziploc bag on the counter top, take a small lime-sized chunk of batter into your palm, and make a ball; place the ball on the Ziploc bag and press it into a flat patty.
Gently drop the vadas into hot oil. Deep fry on medium heat until golden brown, turning once or twice until well cooked.
Remove and keep on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Serve with green mint chutney or Maggie sweet and sour sauce.



From the kitchen of Bhojanic – Decatur and Buckhead, Georgia

Owner Archana Becker-Malhotra is perhaps the most prolific ambassador of Indian cuisine in Atlanta, having made her restaurant the default Indian food choice at Emory University, Music Midtown, and other mainstream institutions and events. She offered a popular North Indian festival staple, the malpua. This creation of her nani’s recipe will be offered on the Bhojanic menu as a festival special only during the week of Diwali. (Available all year round in catering orders)


For Puas
1 cup all–purpose flour
2 tablespoons semolina
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups ricotta cheese (or khoya)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Ghee (preferred) or oil for frying.
For sugar syrup
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom (whole pods or powdered)
1 pinch saffron

For Puas:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, semolina, and the baking powder.
Mix in the ricotta and milk. It should be pancake batter consistency.
Heat a frying pan with 2 teaspoons of oil or ghee.
Using a tablespoon measure, fry spoonfuls of batter to make small pancakes.
Cook on both sides till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
For sugar syrup:
Boil sugar and water together until the syrup thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. About 15 minutes. Soak the malpua in the syrup for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and drain on a cooling rack.



 Submitted by Raj Chakraberti (“with credit to my Ma,
Parnika Chakraberti”)

CHOLAR DAL (4 servings)

One our favorite dishes at my family’s Bengali home during Durga Puja time is cholar dal. Similar to yellow split peas, the chana dal used to make the dish has a lovely, creamy texture. The little bit of coconut and sugar satisfies the notorious Bengali sweet tooth. The recipe is below. It’s best eaten with luchi (or pooris). I most associate it with lunch time.

1.5 cups chana dal
3 oz. coconut flakes (sweetened)*
2 oz. raisins
½ onion (chopped)
3 cloves
4-5 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 T ginger powder
1 T turmeric
1 T cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Chili Powder to taste
*If sweetened coconut is unavailable, just use regular coconut and a little sugar to taste

In a pot, add dal and about 4.5 cups of water (chana dal to water ratio is 3:1). Turn heat to medium and cover. In a pan, add oil (or for a richer version use ghee) and caramelize onions until onions start to turn translucent. Next, add all the other ingredients into the same pan and roast for a few minutes.
Coconut flakes will brown a little bit. Add the pan contents into the dal pot and mix in. Place cover back on. Dal will take 30-40 minutes. Adjust seasoning as necessary. (I often end up adding in a little more coconut). The lentils should retain their shape but be soft when bitten.



 Submitted by Anita and Shivali Singh



1¾ cups milk powder
1 can condensed milk
2 tbsp. butter
4 green cardamoms, peeled and seeds crushed to fine powder
A small pinch of saffron, dissolved in warm water or milk
A small pinch of salt (optional but recommended)
Dry nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios)

Melt the butter by microwaving it for 20-30 seconds.
Once the butter is melted, add milk powder and condensed milk and whisk them well. The mixture should be like a thick batter and there should be no lumps.
Place the bowl back in the microwave and cook for a minute.
Remove the bowl and mix them well with a sturdy spoon.
Place the bowl back in the microwave and cook for another minute.
Again take it out of the microwave and mix in cardamom, a pinch of salt, and saffron water/milk. Mix them well and place it back in a microwave for another 1 minute.
By now you should be able to form small balls of the mixture. Mix them well and microwave again for 30 seconds to a minute.
Let it cool for a minute so that it becomes easy to handle.
Grease your hands, and make small rounds with hands. Press a piece of your favorite nuts in the center and place these pedas on a greased plate until they cool down completely

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