Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beetroot Dal

Durga Puja has started in full swing from today and it would be four years in a row I am outside Kolkata during Durga Pujo. I will miss the maddening clamor of Kolkata illuminated in the garb of one of its much awaited and celebrated festival of the year. Few days before in a party someone I met asked me about the hullabaloo with Durga Pujo and I quoted her the lines of Vir Sanghvi who crooned the essence of Durga festival beautifully in his words "You can take the craze of Diwali in Delhi, ...Christmas in London, summer carnival in Rio de janeiro, Valentine's day in Paris and then add it to the month long madness of Olympic Games or the world cup and cram all that into a span of 5 days and you still wouldn't know what you are missing if you haven't been in Kolkata during Durga Puja". Such is the craze with Durga Puja that people all through the years count days for this mighty festival to begin and plan for months on how to spend those precious five days.

Like thousands others, I have plentiful of beautiful memories connected with Durga festival. First crush, new dresses, fight with friends, food feasting, getting together with relatives and friends from different parts of the globe all of these and lot more take place in the span of those five days amidst the glitter of lighting and melody of sound. From the first strike on Dhak till the immersion of the idol and even after that, the mood of the festival pervades every home in Kolkata. Once the pujo is over, people visit each other's home to exchange greeting of the festival by eating different homemade sweets and delicacies. Sitting in a foreign land in an uncanny silence occasionally broken by the sound of dish water and microwave beeps, I miss a lot the sweet clamor of Kolkata and most of all 'the people'. With 10 weeks into my pregnancy, it will be more than a year waiting when I will be able to visit my homeland again. Sigh !

Ingredients:                                                    Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

ü  1 beetroot (chopped)

ü  2 cups of toor dal

ü  1 onion (chopped)

ü  1 tomato (chopped)

ü  3-4 cloves of garlic (chopped)

ü  4-5 green chillies (chopped)

ü  1 tsp turmeric powder

ü  1 tbsp sambar powder

ü  Salt to taste

ü  1/2 tsp cumin seeds

ü  2 dry red chillies

ü  White oil for cooking


1) Wash toor dal repeatedly under running water and then put the dal in a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water and beetroot. Add turmeric powder and put the lid in place. Pressure cook till 2 whistles. Bring the pressure cooker down to room temperature to open the lid or keep the cooker under running water for a while to let the steam out and open the lid.

2) In a wok, heat oil. When oil turns hot, add cumin seeds and dry red chillies and let the ingredients sputter.

3) Then add garlic, onion and green chillies. Fry till onion turns translucent. Add tomatoes and sambar powder. Saute for 2 minutes till tomato softens. Add the cooked lentil and 2 cups of water. Add salt and bring the lentil to a boil.

4) Serve hot with rice or roti.


  1. congratulations!!! a fan of ur recipes and ur writing from cologne, Germany.

    since 2007 I have been living outside India. I spent 2007 durga puja in glasgow, scotland inside a closed theatre hall and i promised to myself- 'no matter where i stay, no matter what i do i am goin back to kolkata for durga puja'.Until now i have been able to keep that promise and it feels simple wonderful to be there in my city, with my people during durga puja time... it has been no exception this year- met family, friends, relatives, school teachers, read bengali newspaper, swallowed singara and puchka like a starved immigrant, woke up to the sound of dhak and watched in delight as the city got ready in the evening with lights, decorations and beautifully dressed people... now I am back here in Germany sitting in my office and dreaming about those awesome 9 days i spent in India.

  2. Hi Teddy, I can absolutely relate to your feelings about Durga Puja and it's awesome to know that you make sure to visit Kolkata during the festival. Those five days have magical charm to take all your sorrows away and the get-together with friends and family over foods and feasting is an irreplaceable experience.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note for me. Subho Bijoya.