Today is Saraswati Pujo. Even few years back before shifting to Bangalore, I used to actively partake in the celebration and merriment surrounding the pujo. Saraswati being a goddess of education and academics, many schools and colleges in West Bengal observe this pujo religiously every year amid a lot of pomp and splendour. Since I was serving as a teacher in a school then, I had to stay involved with a host of things starting from decoration to catering food to students. Besides academics, Saraswati pujo holds its attraction among students and youngsters for another reason. All the women and young girls, on this auspicious occasion, drape the 12 yards of sarees looking their prettiest selves. Naturally, romance takes on the air with lot of young people choosing this occasion to express love for their beloved.
When I was young, I used to start pleading to my mother for allowing me to wear one of her gorgeous sarees months before the pujo as we all girls wanted to look our best on this special day. With all the books and papers amassed in a heap in front of the idol, we after offering our prayers used to indulge in the mighty 'pet puja' that followed with khichuri, labda, narkel nadu and many such traditional delicacies.
Now in Karnataka, hardly any trace of pujo is felt anywhere. The noise created by the loud music in different pandals heralding the arrival of yet another occasion to celebrate, the clamour of young boys and girls, an array of delectable cuisines on offering to the deity, getting together with friends and family in rejoicing the feast...all are missing here. On special moments like this, I miss being in Kolkata a lot.
Ingredients: Cooking time: 20 minutes
ü 200 gm boneless chicken (boiled and shredded)
ü 2 medium sized tomatoes (pureed)
ü 75 gm sweet corns
ü 2 eggs, beaten
ü 5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
ü Few curry leaves
ü Few pudina or mint leaves
ü 1 tsp garam masala powder
ü 1 tsp paprika powder
ü 1 heaped tsp of black pepper powder
ü Salt to taste
ü 2 heaped tbsp of cornflour mixed with 1/2 cup of water
ü 120 ml of chicken stock
ü 2 tbsp of sesame oil
1) Heat sesame oil. Add chopped garlic and brown them. Add tomato puree. Sauté for 1 minute.
2) Add mint leaves and curry leaves. Stir around.
3) Add the corns, garam masala powder, paprika powder, black pepper powder and salt. Mix in. Cook covered for few minutes on medium flame.
4) Slide in the shredded chicken and the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil. When the soup starts bubbling away, pour the cornflour mixed water and stir cook till gravy thickens.
5) Finally add the beaten eggs and stir around for 1 minute till eggs blend into the soup.
6) Check the seasoning one final time before turning off the heat.
7) Serve hot.