A

The Navratri puja this year is being considered extremely auspicious and special since it is lasting for 10 whole days i.e. they are completing their whole cycle, instead of the usual nine and sometimes even eight days. The festival is a celebration of the female form and the power of Goddess Durga and Kali. It sends across the message of victory of good over evil and it is celebrated almost all across the length and breadth of India albeit in different ways.

In my mother’s house we never observed the nine days of fasting. We all used to keep the fast only for the last one day. Punjabis idea of fasting is ridiculously weird…trust me. We were served sabudana or sawankh (samvat ke chawal) kheer for breakfast followed by a dry potato curry, kuttu ka paratha with butter and lassi or yogurt for lunch and dinner was no less either. It was pumpkin curry with singhare ka paratha and kheer. Now, is this the way one is supposed to fast?! But that is the way you will find many Punjabi families fasting 😛 The one word that sums up this kind of fasting is actually feasting! The fast was broken the next day morning with prayer and more food!

B

While I was writing for this post, I realised that apart from the Kesri Kheer (Saffron Rice Pudding), there is no other kheer recipe in my repertoire! So today I am going to share my mother’s sabudana kheer but sweetened with palm jaggery. My obsession with date palm jaggery began a few years back when I had sweets made with date palm jaggery at a Bengali sweet shop. There has been no looking back ever since and I keep looking for excuses to add it to any dessert that I make. Here are the ingredients for this must-try creamy, luscious, gluten free dessert.

½ C Sabudana

750 ml Milk

½ C Date palm jaggery (scrapped and loosely packed)

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

Dry Fruits (almonds, pistachio, raisins and cashewnuts)

1 tsp ghee

C

Wash the sabudana till the water run clear. Soak it in enough water for approximately two hours. Heat ghee and lightly toast the dry fruits and keep aside.

Meanwhile heat a heavy bottom pot and boil the milk, stirring in between to prevent it catching at the bottom. Reduce the heat once it has come to a boil. Drain the sabudana and add it to the milk.

Stir the contents and allow the sabudana to cook low-medium heat for approximately 25 minutes to half an hour or till the tapioca pearls begin to turn translucent. Ensure to stir it at frequent intervals in between the cooking time.

Stir in the cardamom powder and check for the done-ness of the tapioca pearls. They should be translucent and soft now. Take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before adding the jaggery.  Stir the contents to combine the grated jaggery well into the kheer. Stir in the nuts, keeping aside a few to garnish on the top.

Serve warm, cold or at room temperature garnished with nuts (if desired).

Note: The cooking time of sabudana will depend on the size and soaking time of sabudana.

Note: Don’t try and thicken this kheer as the gummy textured sago will thicken it once it begins to cool.

Serves 4 – 5

D

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