Back To Normal Routine
Its after a very long time that I had a very relaxing holiday. Relaxing means no cooking at all, no blogging and just lazing around doing what I want. I slept, I read, I walked a bit and spent quality time with my eldest son, daughter in law and her parents. Visiting Bali was a truly a surprise for me. When I use to see postcard pictures of Bali, blue seas, sandy beaches it was not really on my wish list. When you have sandy beaches and blue sea and sunshine in your backyard, Bali was not that alluring. I think if my son and daughter in law had not decided to settle there, hubby and I would probably not have visited Bali. However, I am so glad that we went there last December. Though we were not able to see much of Bali because of my daughter in law’s accident, we managed a few day trips.
Bali is a predominately a Hindu island. However, their customs and rituals are so different from the Hinduism practiced in India. The temples are an architect’s delight. Mostly built from the black lava stone and wood you will not get to see deities there. Most of the structures are like an offering platform, the size and elaborate carvings and decor depending on which God it is for and how rich the village is. The Balinese people believe that God is around them all the time. Offerings are placed on these platforms. There are over 20,000 temples in Bali. You will find small shrines everywhere from the rice fields to the shops. Each village will have its own temples. Each family will have its own temple in the courtyard.
The offerings too are different from the ones in India. The Balinese Hindu offering is called canang sari. Canang is the small palm leaf basket and sari is essence. Each offering placed in the basket has a specific meaning. On the base of the canang is placed the peporosan. Peporosan comprises of betel nut, betel leaf, gambier, lime and tobacco to represent the three main Hindu deities. Gambier for Brahma, betel nut for Vishnu and lime for Shiva. This is covered by ceper (a palm leaf tray) which symbolizes the Ardha Candra (earth and moon). Raka raka (any type of fruit) is placed and topped with sampian urasari (decorations made from coconut leaves) which symbolizes the stars. Finally its topped with flowers of specific color and placed in certain cardinal positions.
North and blue or green flower for Vishnu
East and white flower for Iswara
South and red flower for Brahma
West and yellow flower for Mahadeva
On top of that an old Chinese coin or paper money is placed. An incense stick is lit and sprinkled with holy water.
Besides these essential items, Canang sari will contain specific offerings depending on the trade or source of income. E.g. a grocer may add a sweet or cigarette, a baker a small piece of bread, a warung (eatery) a small lump of rice and meat.
I know the above is totally unrelated to today’s theme, but I wanted to share a bit of Balinese culture with you. Our FoodieMonday/Bloghop group decided to visit Himachal Pradesh, the #129th theme chosen by Aruna who blogs at Aahaaram. I will be writing a bit more about this beautiful northern state later on. The hilly terrains makes it difficult for the people to have access to fresh vegetables therefore the Himachali or pahari cuisine is mainly meat, dairy and lentil based. Spices are abundantly used to make the food rich and tasty.
Some famous Himachali or pahari dishes are dham, mittha, babru, chana madra, auriya kaddoo, mash daal, chha gosht, kullu trout, patande, tudkiya bhath, akotri, bhey and siddu.
I chose to make Siddu or Sidku which is commonly made in Kullu, Shimla, Manali,Mandi and Rohru. Siddu is a simply yeast bread dough filled with a filling and steamed. Finding any two same recipes for this steamed dish was difficult. The fillings vary from peas, onions, lentils to poppy seeds. Siddu can be sweet or savory and are commonly made during the winter season. I decided to make a savory walnut and poppy seed filling.
Check out some healthy steamed Indian snacks that some of my fellow bloggers have made:
For the dough:
1 cup wheat flour
½ tsp instant dried active yeast
½ tsp ghee or oil
¼ tsp salt
½ – ¾ cup lukewarm water
For the filling:
¼ cup poppy seeds (khuskhus)
½ cup (approx. 12-14) walnuts
1-2 walnuts finely chopped ( to add later to the paste)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1-2 green chillis finely chopped
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp salt
some chutney or sauce
some melted ghee
little flour for dusting
little ghee for greasing
Preparation of the dough:
- Put the flour, salt,ghee and instant yeast in a big bowl. Mix well.
- Add lukewarm water and form a pliable dough.
- Dust the worktop with little flour.
- Put the dough on the worktop and knead till its smooth.
- Shape the dough into a ball. Rub little ghee over it.
- Grease the bowl with some ghee.
- Put the dough in the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or a lid.
- Let the dough rise till its double the size. Mine took about 1½ hours.
Preparation of the filling:
- Soak the walnuts in little water for 20-30 minutes.
- Roast the khuskhus in a frying pan over low heat for 1 minute. Keep stirring it constantly so that it doesn’t burn.
- Remove the khuskhus from the pan.
- Remove the walnuts from the water.
- Grind the walnuts and khuskhus together to form a paste.
- Remove the paste into a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients i.e. chopped onion, chopped walnuts, salt and the spices.
- Mix the paste.
Preparation of siddu:
- Gently deflate the risen dough and divide it into 6 parts.
- Roll each part into a ball.
- Take one ball and using your thumb and fingers create a small cup.
- Add 1 tsp of the filling.
- Bring the dough together over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal.
- Gently shape the filled dough into a ball. Slightly flatten it.
- Repeat steps 3-6 with the remaining dough and filling.
Steaming the siddu:
- Heat some water in a steamer or a pan.
- In the meantime grease the perforated plate or tray of the steamer with some oil.
- Arrange the filled dough balls in the tray or plate.
- When the water is hot, place the tray or plate in the steamer.
- Make sure the water is not touching the plate or tray.
- Cover the steamer.
- Steam the siddu for 20 minutes.
- Remove the siddu from the steamer.
- Serve it with your favorite chutney and some melted ghee.
- Remember to oil the steamer plate or tray otherwise the siddu will get stuck.
- Siddu can have a savory or sweet filling.
- Siddu can be flatten balls or shaped like gujiyas.
- The dough should not be too hard or too soft.
- Its best to divide the filling into 6 parts so that all the siddus are filled equally.
You may want to check out my other steamed snacks: