Durga Puja 2012: Mahalaya er Misti Mukh -Komola Rosogolla-Orange Flavored Rasgulla
I can feel Durga Puja is the air, even in London! Today was a wonderful sunny day, little chilly, just like winter morning in Kolkata. Moring that indicate the arrival of Durga Puja or Sharodotsav (festival of autumn)
“Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal. This is also known as Dussehra and Navaratri in other parts of India. Durga is the Goddess of divine power against all evils. The story goes that Mahisasur, the Buffalo Demon, through years of praying, received blessing from Lord Brahma, that no power can kill him, which means he is invincible. But once gaining this power he started ravaging the whole world and killing people. And finally he wanted to uproot the Gods too. The Gods, in dismay, combined their powers to create a beautiful maiden, and each placed his or her most potent weapon in one of her ten hands riding a lion. Her return in each year in the Bengali month of Aswin (September-October) commemorates Rama’s invocation of the goddess Durga before he went into battle with Ravana.The tableau of Durga with her four children – Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi, representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the puja, Knowledge and the Provider – signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess” (www.calcuttaweb.com)
Tomorrow is Mahalay- an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja. It is a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth. It is only from the day of Mahalaya that the preparations for the Durga Puja reaches the final stage. The pandal gives it final touches, shopping gets it final stages and offices gets slow and people wait for the all the fun to begin. The midnight chants of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ sets the beginning of Durga Puja. The day of Mahalaya is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer ‘tarpan’ in memory of their deceased forefathers. Many of my family members will go to ganga ghat to pray and remember their forefathers. Mahalaya also is brings back the memory of listening to all India Radio program Mahisasura Mardini” or “The Annihilation of the Demon. This program has almost become synonymous with Mahalaya. We used rise along with whole of Bengal in the early hour of morning to tune in to the “Mahisasura Mardini” broadcast.
I miss those days of listening to mahalaya. London celebrates Durga puja with all its color, festivity and spirit. My new sari’s are ready with matching shoes and ornaments. Office leaves booked and puja plan made. Still it is never like being in kolkata never like being home. I miss those days of standing in pandal queues at mid night, eating puchka at 5am in the morning and welcoming the new sun. Those days with friends and adda. The day of meeting my mashi’s on astami, nabami at R mama’s place where the puja is 250 years old, Dashami in kolkata and ma’s cooking. Still collecting so much of money after bijoya pronam like a child. I miss home. But now that I am here in London, I will celebrate is as much as possible.
Therefore, Durga puja is here again and the celebration begins from 20th October to 24thOctober. Let us start the festival with some sweets from Bengal. And it has to be rosogolla.
4-Litre full fat milk for chana/paneer
2-tablespoon plain flour
3-tablespoon sugar dust
2-Lemon (juice taken)
1-cup Orange juice
4-drops orange flavor
3-drops orange eatable color
1-orange cut into small pieces to go inside the rosogolla
2-slice orange for decoration
1-Orang zest for garnishing
1. Boil 4 litre the milk in another pan and heat well until boiling point
2. Slowly add lemon juice to make the chana
3. Drain the chana using a strainer/ Muslin cloth. Wash the chana so that it does not smell of lemon.
4. Hang the cloth so that water drain properly from the chana
5. Take the chana in large bowl or on kitchen slab
6. Add the flour, sugar dust
7. Use your palm to knead the chana into smooth dough. The better the kneading the better will be your roshogolla
8. Add orange color and orange flavor and mix well with the dough
9. Meanwhile take water and orange juice, mix well and heat
10. Add sugar on flame and make sugar syrup. It is not thick syrup.
11. Now make balls of the chana. While making the chana ball insert small piece of orange inside each ball. Remember that they will become twice their size once they are in the syrup. Also make sure there is no crack on the chana ball, otherwise they will crack once in the syrup
12. Add the chana balls in the syrup and cover the lit for 7/8 mins. The balls will double in size
13. Take the lid off and cook for 15-20 mins
14. Press one roshogolla if it springs back to its actual size, then you know that it is done.
15. Take off the flame and cool it totally ( say after about 2/3 hours)
16. Garnish with orange zest and serve either in room temperature or chilled