As much as I love traditions and festivals, I abhor rituals that most times comes with it. You might say that it is the rituals which make actually make up a tradition and there is no point celebrating Diwali with unlit candles. But I like to adjust the rituals to my convenience, to bend them around to suit me instead of bending backwards to comply. A lot of it comes from sheer laziness and finding joy in lighting up tea-light candles for Diwali instead of spending hours rolling cotton wicks between your palms.
I liked rolling the cotton wicks and maybe I will do it again some day when I have nothing else to do.But what I am saying is the fact that I have the liberty of not doing it and lighting up the tea-lights instead, liberates me.
Ditto with Saraswati Pujo. I am not a morning person and as a kid I loved my morning sleep on holidays. On foggy mornings of Saraswati Pujo, this was not to be. We had to wake up early, really really early and take shower in the water from the overhead tank, which was still cool to touch. With remains of sleep in my eyes I would then help Ma set up the Pujo. Pujo at home was usually done by my Dada(paternal grandfather) or Baba. Both were stickler to rituals and wanted to start the Pujo at the exact time written in the crumbling pages of the jacaranda colored Panjika. Somehow when I think of Saraswati Pujo along with the nicer parts, I also remember the early morning part and my reluctance in getting up.
So now that the baton has been handed over and I am the Master of Ceremonies I have shifted the Puja time very conveniently from early morning to late evening. That is how we had it last Tuesday, after work, after school, in the confines of the home, we prayed for Knowledge and enlightenment.
Little S also had her "haathe khori", literally translated as "chalk in hand" on the same day. This again is a tradition to make a child write her first letter, thus initiating her into the world of knowledge. But instead of taking her to the temple or any such place, we did the honors ourselves. While I guided her hand to trace out the curves of the first Bangla letter, Big Sis helped her trace the straight lines of the English alphabet.Then Little S went totally berserk and scribbled structures which she declared as lowercase t and p. She, who has to always share Big Sis's markers and easel and such, loved all the attention and the chalkboard and refused to budge from the scene.
Talking of Little S and food, as I have said before she is not really into food. She is also not exactly crazy about veggies. So like all sane Moms who hyperventilate about five serving of vegetables and their kid, I have to find ways to sneak it in. It was easier when she was smaller and did not know much. A Khichuri with plenty of vegetables could be shoved down her throat. But she is 2 and has a mind of her own. Thanks to Didi being around she has tasted lollipos and cheetos. Khichuri is not exciting any more and she loves Chicken Biryani.
So I try to put in a good amount of vegetables in the gravy dish that I make for her. It is usually a chicken curry or an egg curry. Vegetables like beet, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, sometimes spinach makes its way there and gets blended to remove any trace of its original appearance. I tweak the recipe around every other day to give a new flavor. I would not go so far as saying she loves them but at least she gets her quota of veggies that way.
This is an egg curry with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. It can be other veggies. It can be anything other than egg. This is just a base recipe. You can alter and make your own changes around it.
Egg Curry with Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes for the Kiddo
Boil and peel 2 organic eggs. keep aside.
Heat 2-3 tsp of ghee in a deep saucier or kadhai.(Making your own ghee is easy)
Temper with 1/4 tsp of whole Cumin Seeds. Let the cumin sizzle to flavor the Ghee.
Add quarter of an onion finely chopped. Saute till onion is soft and pink.
Add about 1/4 tsp of fresh Ginger-Garlic paste(I make it over the weekend and store for a week)
Fry for a few seconds. Add half of a nice juicy tomato finely chopped. Saute till it is mush and there is no raw smell.
Add about 1/2 cup of peeled and chopped sweet potato. Add about 1/2 cup of peeled roasted butternut squash(I always roast and then peel butternut squash, you can add them raw too).
Add about 1/4 tsp of fresh roasted Cumin powder + a little Turmeric Powder. Saute the vegetables so that they are nicely coated with the masala. When the veggies start browning a little, add about half cup of water. Add salt and let the veggies cook.Add more water if necessary.
Once the veggies are cooked, puree them, either with an immersion blender or by putting them in a regular blender jar.
Add a little more water to the puree and bring it back to a boil. Add a pinch of Garam Masala.
Now add the boiled eggs. Since LS does not like the texture of cooked egg yolk, I halve the boiled eggs and mix the egg yolk into the gravy.
Make the gravy as thick or thin you desire. Adjust for seasonings and garnish with some corriander leaves.
I usually serve this with rice. You can feed it by itself too along with a bread toast or chapati.