This is being sent to Jugalbandi’s Click:Crusts.
The arrival of fall here, with crisp air, and wide fluffy clouds in the deep blue skies reminds me very much of Durga Puja. Having grown up in the West Bengal, in the eastern regions of India, this is the biggest religious festivals for the Bengalis. The festivities continues for a month, but the actual ceremony lasts for 5 unique days characterized by unique tastes for each day.
The last day coincides with Dussehra. Idols are taken away in large processions for immersion in water. Following the Immersion, the evening is accompanied by some delectable snacks and desserts such as’ “nimki” (a crunchy deep fried delight), “narkel nadu”, “rasogolla”, “payesh” and “sandesh”.’
Durga Puja is a festival, celebrated in West Bengal without religious inhibitions. It is also a lot of socio-cultural celebration that tends to renew kinship with friends and relatives. The immersion is followed by meeting and greeting of relatives and friends. Men follow the embrace, while the younger members do Pronam (touching the feet) to the elders. Variety of mouth watering (and now memory stirring) sweets are prepared at home. Savouries like Nimki are often made at home to be distributed to friends, relatives and well-wishers.
I do not get to attend Durga Puja here, but the cravings for the delicacies still remain … Nimki is the easiest and the quickest to make, and with the approach of the Durga Puja next week, I started making few of the sweets and the savories. Nimki can be stored in airtight containers for quite a few days.
1.5 cup Whole Wheat Flour or All purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kalonji/Nigella seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin/Jeera seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Water – less than 1/2 cup
5 tablespoons Oil
2 cups Oil(for deep frying)
Take flour in a bowl, add kalonji & jeera seeds, salt, black pepper, asafoetida, and 5 tbsp oil. Mix well till the flour starts looking like bread crumbs. Then add water to make it into a tight dough. Knead well for 7 min.
Make 20 small balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten the balls to a very thin circles.(They do not have to be perfect)
With a sharp knife cut criss cross to make little diamond shapes.
Heat oil in wok/pan.
Add the prepared nimki to oil and fry on slow heat. Fry them in batches if you need to.
Remove the nimki when light brown and keep aside. Drain excess oil by keeping them on a paper towel.
Serve with tea or as a any time snack.