Masala Farsi Puri
THEME: #114 DIWALI
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What is Diwali?
Diwali is the most important festival which is celebrated all over India. Popularly known as the Festival of Lights, it is a festival that stretches over 5-6 days for most communities. Also known as Deepawali, Dipavali it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. All these communities may have a different reason for celebrating Diwali but its celebrated with good food, gifts, decorations and new clothes. Hindus celebrate it as a day when Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after defeating the evil demon King Ravana.
Pre Diwali Celebration Day 1
For most Gujaratis the Diwali celebrations began with Rama Ekadashi(11th day of the lunar calendar during Kartik month), whereby if you fast on this day, all your sins are forgiven and you attain salvation. Some fast without consuming food and others fast by taking some restricted foods. Grains, lentils, beans, onion, garlic, asafetida, mustard, fenugreek and many vegetables are not allowed on Ekadashi day. However, sabudana khichdi, moriyo, sukhi bhaji,are some of the dishes I make. Rama Ekadashi is also the day when I clean the main entrance to my home and decorate it with Goddess Lakshmi’s foot prints and a sathiyo or Swastik. It’s a Hinduism symbol with arms pointing clockwise. Before Hilter managed to twist the symbol and made it into a symbol of hate, the original Hinduism symbol symbolizes the sun bringing prosperity and good luck.
A popular Hinduism symbol
Pre Diwali Celebration Day 2
Vagh Baras or Vase Baras is on the 12th day of the lunar Calendar during the Kartik month. On this day the cow and calf are worshipped. Vagh means debt and therefore on this day all debts are cleared and new transactions are done in new ledger books after Labh Pancham. The word Vaak Baras is mispronounced as Vagh Baras. Vaak or Vani means Goddess Saraswati, the one who blesses us with language and knowledge. On this day Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi only comes to bless our homes if before we worship her, we worship Goddess Saraswati. By worshipping Goddess Saraswati, we request her to bless us with good deeds, good words and to help us control our tongues against any evil or hurtful words that we may utter.
Pre Diwali Celebration Day 3
The 13th day of the Kartik month is Dhanteras. On this day Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped but before that, rangolis(floor patterns) are prepared, homes are decorated and also torans (decorated door hangings) are put up at the entrance. A toran made using mango leaves or ashopalav leaves is most auspicious. On this day something of gold, silver or a kitchen utensil is bought and Gujaratis believe that money spent on this day brings prosperity to their families and homes. During the Pooja, old coins, gold ornaments, etc are also offered to Lakshmi. Most Gujarati homes will either prepare lapsi or kansar, along with tuvar dal, rice, rotis, sabjis and savory dishes.
Pre Diwali Celebration Day 4
The 14th day brings Kali Chaudas. Kali means dark and chaudas is 14th. This day is devoted to Kali Ma or Shakti. It is believed that Kali Ma killed the wicked Raktavija on this day. It is also the day it is believed that Lord Hanuman put the whole sun in his mouth thus causing darkness. When he was a baby he was feeling hungry. Thinking that the sun is a fruit he flew up to the sky and put the sun in his mouth. Lord Indra had to hit him with his vajra so that the sun could be released from Hanuman’s mouth. Its on this when we make doodh pak, puri, kadhi, bhajias etc. On this day we remember our forefathers by offering them the food prepared. Its usually placed on the roof top or at cross roads.
15th day of the Kartik month is when Diwali Day arrives. On this day families and friends are invited home. A huge feasts is prepared for all to enjoy. Usually gur na ladwa, alone with tuvar dal, rotis, sabjis, chana nu shaak, rice, savories, etc are prepared and enjoyed by all. Gifts are exchanged with friends and families. Also a day to remember the less fortunate and gift them with goodies or money. In the evenings everyones cracks fire crackers, but personally I like to keep away from these polluting fireworks.
Happy New Year
Gujaratis celebrate their New Year or Bestu Varsh immediately after Diwali day. I remember years back we had to get up really early in the morning, get ready in our new clothes and new jewelry and go to the temple. It was like temple hopping as we’d visit all the temples in town. By the time all the temple visits are over, its lunch time. Then its time to visit all relatives who are older to us to get their blessings.
Nowadays hubby and I don’t really get up that early. Temple hopping has become difficult because of the traffic and not many relatives are left in Mombasa. However, I try and visit as many as I can.
Along with Gujarati New Year,its also Govardhan Puja, so I prepare something to offer as Annakoot. Annakoot is mountain. A ‘mountain’ of food is offered on this day. Its a special day as it is on this day that Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to protect the people of Vrindavan from the torrential rains. To celebrate this day, a variety of vegetarian food is offered to the deities. In the evening, we put on our best clothes and go to the local community or samaj to meet and greet our community people and enjoy a feast with them.
Celebrations are not over. Next day is Bhai Beej, a day when sisters invite their brothers to their homes for a lavish meal. In return the brothers shower the sisters with gifts and love.
On Kartik sud pancham is Labh Pancham. On this day shopkeepers and businessmen start their business for the year. New ledgers are opened by writing Shubh(auspicious) on the left, Labh (profit) on the right and sathiya in the middle of the first page.
On Kartik Poornima (full moon) or 15th day, is Dev Diwali, the Diwali for Devtas or Gods or the festival of Lights to welcome Gods and Goddesses. Dev Diwali is commemorated to honour the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon named ‘Tripurasur’ Its believed that it is on this day that Lord Vishnu returns after completing his stay with King Bali. Lord Vishnu took on the form of the fish Matsya to rescue the first man Manu on this auspicious day. Its believed that its on this day that Lord Krishna worshipped Radha and also danced the rasa.
What is Farsi Puri?
Coming to the recipe, farsi means crunchy and puri is a fried flatbread. Some make them thin like crackers and some make them thick. Usually savories and sweets are prepared before the festival begins. One of the savory dish that I like to make is farsi puri as it can be made days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Usually, plain flour, oil or butter, salt and spices of choice are used to make masala farsi puri or plain farsi puri. This time, I decided to make masala farsi puri using both wholewheat flour and plain flour. Added spices and dried fenugreek leaves for that extra taste.
MASALA FARSI PURI
Makes approx 40
1½ cups wheat flour (atta)
½ cup plain flour
1 -1¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
¼ tsp carom seeds (ajmo)
4 tbsp cold butter
2 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ cup finely chopped fresh fenugreek (methi)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1-2 tsp green chili paste
¼ tsp hing (asafetida)
1 tbsp kasuri methi
approx ⅓ – ½ cup water
Oil for deep frying
- Mix the flours, salt, cumin, carom and sesame seeds, turmeric powder and asafetida.
- Chop the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture.
- Rub the butter into the flour using your finger tips till you get a breadcrumb consistency.
- Add the ginger and chilli paste and mix into the flour.
- Add kasuri and fresh methi and mix.
- Add the water little at a time and make a dough that is not too soft or too hard. It should not be sticky.
- Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into nearly 40 small balls, the size of a nutmeg.
- Roll each ball into a circle of about 3-3½” diameter with a rolling pin.
- Using a knife make small cuts all over the puri.
- Keep it on a plate or tray and cover it with a cloth so that the puri does not dry up.
- Repeat steps 9-11 with the remaining dough. Make sure the puris are thin.
- Heat oil in a wok or karai over medium heat.
- Drop a tiny piece of the dough into the oil. If it comes up to the top immediately then the oil is ready.
- Depending on the size of the wok or karai gently drop in 6-8 puris.
- Lower the heat.
- Flip the puris over several times. Fry till they are crispy and light golden in colour.
- Remove the puris from the oil and keep it in a colander.
- Repeat steps 15-18 till all the puris are fried.
- Let them cool down a bit before storing in a jar or airtight tin.
- Serve masala farsi puri with tea or coffee.
- Adjust spices according to your taste.
- Don’t need to add kasuri methi if you don’t have any.
- Make sure you roll them thin otherwise they will not turn out crispy.
- Fry the puris over low to medium heat otherwise they will not turn out crispy.
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