Durga Puja and Dussehra Recipes

The victory of good over evil, this is the very essence of Dussehra. Various parts of the country celebrate this festival in their own way. It is a spectacle to watch Ram Lila in Delhi and regions around the capital. The Nadahabba of Mysore is not just a visual treat but a multisensory one. Bengalis welcome Ma Durga as one welcomes their own family members. The pageantry in the city of joy and the regions around has to be seen to be believed. And while the ambience is all that and more, food is one up. As during any Indian festival, food plays a central role and is enjoyed differently in different parts of the country. Here are a few recipes that are worth trying during this festive season:

1. Vegetable Chop

Cook time: 60 minutes
Serve: 4 persons
Type: Snack


Beetroot: 1
Carrot: 1
Potatoes: 2
Panch phoran: 1 tsp.
Green chilli: 1-2
Ginger: ½ inch
Sugar: 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Garam masala: ½ – 1 tsp.
Salted peanuts: ½ cup
Coriander leaves: a bunch
Corn flour for dipping
Bread crumbs for coating
Oil to fry


  1. Grate beetroot and carrot. Boil and grate potatoes too.
  2. Take a pan and add a couple of teaspoons of oil. Add panch phoran and let it splutter.
  3. Add in finely chopped green chillies and ginger.
  4. Fry them well. Now add the veggies and season them with salt and sugar.
  5. Add garam masala and mix well. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in finely chopped coriander leaves and crushed salted peanuts.
  6. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Smear oil in the palms and shape them into cylindrical cutlets.
  7. Make a thick paste of the corn starch. Dip the cutlets in the slurry and coat them evenly with breadcrumbs.
  8. Fry them in medium heat.
  9. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

2. Hilsa in Mustard Sauce

Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 persons
Type: Main course


Hilsa fish: 4 pieces
Turmeric powder: 3 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Oil: 3 tbsp
Nigella seeds: 0.5 tsp
Green chilli: 4 pieces
Coconut milk: 0.5 cup
Coriander leaves: 1 bunch


  1. Marinate the fish with 2 tsp turmeric powder and salt. Keep in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil and lightly fry the fish and keep it aside.
  3. Add the additional one tbsp. oil in the same pan. Heat and add nigella seeds and two chillies. Fry on low heat for a minute.
  4. Add the remaining turmeric powder and fry for one minute, add a little water while frying on low heat.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the fish to the boiling gravy. Reduce the gas to low and cover the pan.
  7. After 4 to 5 minutes, turn the fish pieces. Add the remaining chillies and sprinkle the coriander leaves on top. Cover and put off the gas.
  8. Open after 3 to 4 minutes and serve on a bed of steamed hot rice.

2. Aloo Posto

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serve: 4 persons
Type: Main course


Poppy seeds: 3 tbsps.
Green chillies: 2
Baby potatoes: ½ kg
Mustard oil: 2-3 tbsps.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Turmeric: ½ tsp.
Salt to taste
Sugar: ½ tsp.
Coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Soak poppy seeds and green chillies in warm water for about 10-15 minutes. Grind them into a fine paste.
  2. Boil and peel the potatoes.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Let them crackle. Add the boiled potatoes and sauté them in the mustard oil. Add in turmeric powder and toss well. Add the poppy seed paste and mix well.
  4. Season with salt and sugar. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes on low heat. If it is too dry sprinkle some water.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with luchi.

3. Tomato Chutney

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serve: 4 persons
Type: Accompaniment


Mustard oil: 2-3 tbsps.
Panch phoren: 1 tsp.
Red chillies: 1-2
Tomatoes: 4-5 (red and ripe)
Ginger: 1 inch
Dates: ½ cup
Sugar: 1 tsp.
Salt: ½ tsp.
Raisins: ½ cup


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add panch phoren and let it crackle.
  2. Add in a couple of broken red chillies. Fry them for a couple of minutes.
  3. Throw in finely chopped tomatoes, grated ginger and finely chopped dates.
  4. Add sugar and salt. Mix well and cover and cook for about 5 minutes till the tomatoes are nice and soft.
  5. Add in raisins and cook for another minute or so.
  6. The chutney is gooey, sweet and salty.

4. Paayesh

Cook time: 45 minutes – 60 minutes
Serve: 4 persons
Type: Sweet


Gobind bhog rice: ¼ cup
Milk: 1 litre + 500ml
Bay leaf: 2
Cardamom: 1-2
Raisins for garnish
Jaggery: ½ -1 cup (as per taste)


  1. Soak the rice for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Take a heavy bottom pan and bring the milk to a boil. Keep stirring so that no skin is formed.
  3. Drain the rice and add it to the boiling milk along with the bay leaves.
  4. Simmer till the rice gets cooked. Ensure to stir in regular intervals so that it does not stick to the bottom of the vessel and burn. This would take about half-hour or so. More milk can be added if it becomes too thick.
  5. Remove from heat and add in crushed cardamom and raisins. Mix well.
  6. Cool and add in jaggery powder. The consistency should be rich, thick and creamy.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

Every festivity in India brings in loads of joy and adds in yet another reason to celebrate life and make merry. It also brings in a reason to try out new delicacies from different parts of the country. Food has always been a harbinger of togetherness.

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