Friday, November 5, 2010

Diwali Feast (Curried chickpeas, Dahibade)

Diwali the festival of lights signifying victory of good over evil is a festival for Hindus celebrated in October-November. I have very joyous childhood memories of Diwali. We would decorate the house with earthern diyas and flowers and make rangoli. The house would be full of sweet and savoury treats.
Today after the laxmi puja, we had a special dinner of our favourite dishes choley and dahi vade.

Pindi Choley (Curried Chickpeas)
Named after its city of origin "Rawalpindi" this dish is a big favourite in our house. Original recipe calls for a lot more oil and very little water. I have modified it a bit to suit our needs without compromising the taste. This curried dish is different from other Indian curries as in the absence of onion and tomato. The dark colour is due to the anardana (crushed pomegranate seeds) which also gives it a slight sour flavour.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 cup Chickpeas soaked overnight and drained
3 cups water
salt to taste
11/2 tbsp corriander powder
1 tbsp anardana(pomegranate seeds) powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
red chillie powder to taste
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves whole
1 small cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom whole
  • In a pressure cooker put soaked and drained chickpeas along with salt. Cook on high till the first whistle, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  • While the chickpeas are boiling take the rest of the powered spices in a moderately hot pan and dry roast on medium high heat till the color changes to a darker brown and the spices impart a gentle roasted aroma.
  • Wait for 10 minutes before opening the pressure cooker. Now add the roasted spices to the boiled choley and mix well. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to let the flavours blend in.
  • In another pan heat oil and add the whole spices. Let sputter for 30 seconds and carefully add the spiced choley to it.
  • Cook on high while stirring constantly for about 5-7 minutes. If the dish looks too dry add some water. Remember that chickpeas are very high in fibre and absorb a lot of moisture. So if you serving the dish after some time make sure to adjust its consistency before serving by adding some boiling hot water.
  • Garnish with sliced red onions and slit green chillies.
  • Serve with Naan, poori or roti.

Dahi Vada (Savoury dumplings in yogurt)
Dahi vadas are savoury lentil dumplings served topped with spiced cool yogurt and tamarind chutney. It makes a great accompaniment to any formal dinner or can be served as a cold starter.

Ingredients:(makes 30 small sized)
1 cup urad washed
30 raisins
1 1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 tsp rock salt (kala namak)
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
red chili powder
ground black pepper
oil for deep frying
1/4 cup tamarind chutney
slit green chilies and ginger(optional)
  1. Soak dal for 12 hours.
  2. Grind to a smooth fluffy paste with minimum water.
  3. Beat the batter well (till it floats in a bowl of water).
  4. Take half tablespoon of batter in your palm and put a raisin in the middle. Cover with another half tablespoon batter.
  5. Deep fry the vadas in hot oil at medium high heat till golden brown. Cool.
  6. Immerse them in a bowl of hot salted water for about 10 minutes. Press out excess water carefully and keep aside.
  7. Beat yogurt in a bowl, add some water if its consistency is too thick. Add kala namak, salt, sugar, half the cumin and red chili powder and mix well.
  8. In the serving platter, pour 1/2 cup of yogurt at the bottom. Arrange soaked vadas on it in a single layer. Pour the remaining yogurt on top. Sprinkle with remaining cumin, red pepper, black pepper and serve with tamarind chutney and slivers if green chilies and ginger.

In Kumaon (Hills of Uttar Pradesh, now called Uttarakhand ) culture malpua is a festivity dish. It is made on every festive and auspicious occasion such as Diwali, Holi, Weddings, Birthdays, Child's naming ceremony, etc. When I was a kid my brother and I really enjoyed these yum sweet treats and now my girls do the same. Apart from the delicious taste it keeps alive the festive tradition in our family and I hope to pass it on to my girls some day. Making singhals is a bit tricky and I have spoilt a large quantity of batter when I first tried making these some 12 years ago. You need to hold a lot of batter in your palm and drop it in a continuous spiral shape in the oil. But don't worry the tiny malpuas are just as tasty and are easy to make until you are able to make the spirals. They can also be made using a Ziploc bag. Fill a large Ziploc with batter and snip a large hole in a corner. Now carefully drop the batter in a spiral pattern into the hot oil.

Batter Consistency

 Malpua(tiny balls)
Ingredients: (about 40 malpuas)
2 1/4 cup suji (semolina)
1/3 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
oil for deep frying
  1. Take suji in a large bowl and add ghee. Mix well with finger tips.
  2. Add yogurt and milk and mix to get a droppable consistency batter.
  3. Now add sugar and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave aside for an hour at room temperature.
  4. Heat oil in a deep pan at medium high heat for 7-10 minutes.
  5. After an hour the batter will change in consistency and become drier. Add about 1/4 cup of water to bring it back to a droppable consistency.
  6. Drop spoonful of batter into the oil and deep fry till golden brown. You might need to bring the heat down a bit every so often and then take it back up to prevent them from charring.
  7. Store in an air tight container at room temperature. Will keep for 4-5 days.


  1. Hi Juhi,

    Remarkable and fabulous effort I must say .

    Superbly published with a blend of exotic food

    only connoisseur would ack.


    - Lokesh

  2. The recipes are simple that's what I love about them. I just made the choley and Dahi Vada.

    1. Thanks Shruti. Hope you enjoyed the meal.