The Making of Kali Maa

Today, I am going to share the the making of my Kali Maa.

Kali Ma, called the “Dark Mother,” is the Hindu goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction. The pictorial representation of Mother Kali , at first glance, is strange and bizarre to the eyes and minds of westerners. She is the most misunderstood Goddess. I will perhaps share her story in my next Kali Maa post may be in Madhubani style. So, I started my sketch by deciding the layout and the form of art to make this. I choose the line art initially with a mix of Kalamkari. I have recently tried my hands on kalamkari and I am liking what I have drawn. Kalamkari literally means, Kalam – pen and kari – work, i.e., art work done using a pen. Vegetable dyes are used to color the designs applied on cloth. The art is popular in several parts of South India. I am of course not doing it the traditional way.

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When I say Kalamkari, I mean their style of making figures, their style has such round and fuller bodies with beautiful eyed faces. I am also fascinated with the single toned shades of colors they use. I read about it and found that the color pattern used in kalamkari is unique and follows different themes. This is one of the main features of kalamkari art. Women figures are always depicted using yellow colour, Gods in blue, and demons in red and green. The backgrounds are generally red with motifs of lotus. However, Kali Ma has a black complexion. Maa’s black complexion means that she is inscrutable and cannot be known by wordly people full of ignorance. Darkness stands for ignorance. I choose a blue black color for her complexion and then picked a very dark grey for the background. By the way, I am using Sharpie to do the outlines and using an acid free Carson for watercolor sheet with acrylic colors.

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I took some pictures of the outlined drawing also. It in itself is a complete line art of Kali Maa. So far I was very happy with the way it was coming up. I started adding the colors. Usually the God figures made in Kalamkari are very loving and poise. Kali Maa is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities. Kali Maa’s fierce form is strewed with some awesome symbols. Her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which she is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of ‘Kala’, the Sanskrit term for Time. Her white teeth show her inner purity, and her red lolling tongue indicates her omnivorous nature.

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Maa Kali wears a garland of skulls and skirt of dismembered arms because the ego arises out of identification with the body. In truth we are beings of spirit and not flesh. It symbolizes that she is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the illusory effects of maya (false consciousness). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight bonds that bind us. I knew a few of the symbolization of Kali Maa and read about the rest before starting to make her. I finally chose a shade of yellow/mustard and green for the background and see how beautiful it turned out to be !!!

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I just didnt like how the skulls came out to be. Is it looking out of character ??

Chicken Seekh Kabab

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Oh, Seekh Kabab , this dish is very close to my heart. WHY ??? That’s because in my wedding, we had some special Seekh Rolls which ofcourse being a bride I could not try. I just kept hearing about them throughout the function. When my close friends and family were coming up to the stage to meet I was hearing things like, ” Oh you have got a nice a family, you are going to enjoy the rest of your life, ” etc and then following these lovely wishes there was something like how about the Seekh Rolls ? Do call and let me know from where did they order those.

Next morning after the guests departed, in my new home, we were all opening gifts and eating the left over. I was offered the Seekh Kababs rolls finally. It was really awkward since it was my first day but then I had them and those were…just out of this world. I just had a bite and we had some neighbors coming to meet the bride. You know, in India they call it Muh Deekhayi. My Brother-in-Law literally got up and said to us (not too loudly), ” Should I tell them, that the new bride is hogging on the Seekh Rolls inside her Ghoonghat. She will come out and meet you guys once she is done.” It was very embarrassing….. they were just trying to make me feel comfortable in the new environment. What a bunch of fun loving people I live with.

So that was all about how I feel for Seekh Kabab. I love them and have learnt to make them. See the quick and easy recipe.

Ingredients :

Chicken – minced – 500gms
Green chillies – finely chopped – 3
Ginger Garlic paste -1 tsp
Onion – Finely Chopped – 1
Corriander leaves – finely chopped – 1/2 bowl
Chicken Masala – 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala – 1/2tsp
Garam masala – 1/4tsp
Corriander Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt to Taste

 

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For Making Seek Rolls:

  • Take a bowl, add the mince chicken in it. Add sliced onion, green chilli, ginger paste, salt, corriander leaves, chicken masala and garam masala powder in the bowl and mix them well.
  • Dampen your hands with some water. Take some portion of mince chicken, roll it into a ball shape and then wrap it around a skewer. Gently press it to make the seekhs.
  • You may grill these in a griller, cook these in oven or use a grill pan for stove top.
  • Oven Cooking – Place them on an oiled baking sheet, spray them with olive oil and broil them on High in your oven for 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Griller Cooking – Place a foil on the griller and place the kebabs. Spray some olive oil. Flip them over when these turn golden brown.

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  • On few occasions, I make these in the regular non-stick pan on stove top.
  • Just spary some Olive oil to keep them soft.
  • See the pics. When the rolls were half cooked I cut each roll into 4-5 pieces.
  • Keep the flame high.

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Tips:

  • Add a spoon of oil in the mixture to keep the Seekh rolls moist and soft.
  • Make a dip. I use a spoon of mint chutney and mix it with yogurt. Add some bhuna jeera , red chilli powder and salt to it. You may add some chopped onions also.
  • I used raw chicken and minced it in the food processor.

 

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DRY EGG CURRY

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Its been more than 10 years and I still remember that day, my to be Mother-in-Law was in the hospital and that’s where I was called by In-Laws to first see me. It was nothing serious my Mom-in-law had some stones and those were removed, so a light after-surgery day. It was a short notice, I being myself, I didn’t even once think of going to a salon to get the facial, I instead thought of something else.

My mom has always taught me to take fruits or flowers for someone you go to meet at the hospital. We being punjabis ; Fruits is a big no no. I mean Punjabis do not eat Apples and Oranges when assisting someone at the hospital. I did, however, take fruits and flowers, I just added some aloo parathas and egg curry to it. I knew the Hospital cafeterias are pathetic and they might be bored of eating Dalias and Khichidies. 

IT WORKED WONDERS , they absolutely loved it !!! I didnt know my Father-in-law was a big foodie.  He still remembers it and asks me to prepare it for him. You too impress your loved ones. See the recipe below :

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Ingredients:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1 Large, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 cup – finely chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Rajmah Masala – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Chili powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala – a pinch (optional)
Eggs – 6, hard boiled and peeled
Cilantro – chopped 1/4 cup

For Making the Dry Curry :  I know that’s an oxymoron I used but what else do I call it 

  • Boil Eggs separately.
  • Heat Oil in a skillet or a pan on medium flame.
  • Add Cumin Seeds, when the cumin seeds popup, add onions and saute.
  • When the onions turn brown, add Ginger-Garlic paste. Saute for another minute or so.
  • Then add tomotoes to it.Add salt, Turmeric, Coriander Powder want to and cook well.Add half the cilantro.
  • Add some Rajmah Masala now.
  • Cut eggs the boiled eggs into halves and slide the gravy on top of them.
  • Garnish the dish with the remaining Cilantro leaves.

Tips:

  • It is a dry dish so the onion and tomato dry gravy should be fully cooked before you serve.
  • Add eggs only after you are done cooking.
  • I used chopped Onions and Tomatoes to make this 11 years ago. For the ones in the picture I used onions and tomato paste blended in the blender. Either way works out good.
  • If you don’t want to use Rajmah Masala – add Bhuna Jeera powder -1/4 tsp, a pinch of black pepper powder and a pinch of Garam Masala.
  • You can add 2 tsp of yoghurt (optional) after the onion tomato paste is half cooked.

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Nariyal Gulab Jamun

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In my last post I wrote was about making the Gulab Jamuns the traditional way; well not really “THE” traditional way. However, I am going to share even quicker way of making Coconut Gulab Jamuns.

I used a Gits Gulab Jamun Mix which is easily available in any Indian grocery store. Add a little milk to the Mix and make small Jamun Balls. Add those to the sugar syrup.

Please note that this post does not intend on promoting the Gits products.I am only sharing my experience of using this product.

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Click on the link below to see how to make the Sugar Syrup.

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Soak the Jamun balls in the Syrup for two hours. In a plate spead the cocnut flakes.Take the Jamun balls out in a strainer so that the Jamuns are dried on the outer. Hold the strainer off in the air for 3-5 mins, to let the Jamun drain the syrup. Place them on the plate with the coconut flakes. Roll these Jamun Balls on the coconut flakes. Refrigerate them and serve them cold.

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Yes, I know you see the Nariyal Ladoos in the pic. I will share the recipe soon. Till then enjoy the Jamuns.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun – Indian Doughnuts

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Gulab Jamun is a traditional Indian dessert and has countless fans! Lets learn how to make it.

Ingredients:

For Sugar Syrup

1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
2 drops of Rose Essence (optional)

For Gulab Jamuns

1/2 cup non fat Milk Powder
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter / Desi Ghee
1 tbsp fine sooji
1 tbsp Maida
2 tbsp Milk
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
A pinch of salt

Method

Making the Sugar Syrup (Chaashni)

  • For Making Sugar Syrup. Take sugar in to a sauce pan.To that add water, mix and bring that to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the syrup comes to a boil, lower down the heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins.
  • Then turn off the heat. And season the syrup with cardamom powder and rose essence and mix it well.

Making the Jamuns

  • Take a bowl and add milk powder, maida, sooji, baking soda, ghee(butter) and mix well.
  • Now add milk, kneed it well to make a soft dough. Cover and allow to rest for 10 mins.
  • Now divide the dough in to small equal portions and make small dumplings/ Jamun balls.
  • Heat some oil in a fry pan. To test if the oil is ready – drop a small piece of dough in the oil.
  • If the dough bubbles immediately, the oil is ready. Fry 6 to 8 balls at a time, turning frequently, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on lined baking sheet. Gently add the balls to the sugar syrup and let it soak the syrup for 30 mins.

Tips

  • Do not overcook sugar syrup, else most of the water will evaporate and the syrup with become very thick.
  • The Jamun dough should be moist, when you roll them in to dumplings.
  • The Jamun balls will not soak it well.After resting the Jamun dough, if you find that it has dried out, add little extra milk to make it moist.
  • If you find the Jamun’s too hard after they are done and not able to soak the syrup well, the last try is to give a quick boil to the Jamun soaked syrup. Maybe just for a min.

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Puppy Love

Its time for the amazing feeling of being loved…Puppy Love

 

When you feel tired and distressed, when you have a heavy heart,
when your eyes are filled with tears and you need a new start….
Nothing else but a puppy love is what you need….
Nothing less than a warm tight hug….
Nothing less than a wet lick on your face….
To give you the strength for the new chase…

The Story of Goddess Durga

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I am so fascinated with Making Durga Ma, I have shared several posts showing the creation of Durga Maa..I thought of sharing the story of HER.

Goddess Durga according to popular Hindu conception is the divine daughter of Himalaya, and his wife, Menaka, a Manasputri of Brahma, the Creator. It is said in the Markandeya Purana that though she pervades the Universe, and is co-extensive with creation, yet she manifests and incarnates herself on special occasions with a view to help the Devas in the performance of their divine work. Though thus manifested and incarnated, she is neither limited nor conditioned but is Nitya or Eternal.

 

 

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The goddess is also known as the wife of Lord Shiva and the mother of Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartikeya. She has ten hands out of which she holds different arms in eight of her hands and conch and lotus in the rest two. Even the Pauranic Durga or Uma has been described as the Mother of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, and yet she has been depicted as the consort of the last-named God of the trinity.

 

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Goddess Durga as worshipped by the Hindus, is the Primordial Energy of the Universe that creates upholds and destroys. It is through Her that a vision or glimpse of the Absolute and Infinite is possible. She is neither the Dawn, nor the Night, nor the Sun, nor any beautiful and wonderful phenomenon of Nature; but she is the very essence on which everything that is subsists. She is the Brahmamaya through which the Universe has been manifested. The Hindus try to realise this grand conception of Her in their life by symbolising Her in a figure of clay, and worshipping Her as the Primordial Energy of the Universe-the Mother of the Gods and of all Creation.

 

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In West Bengal Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and show. She is considered to be a form of Shakti. The legend holds that Goddess Durga visits earth once in a year and the people treat her like a daughter. In other parts of the country the goddess is worshipped but in a different form and different way. This is because the goddess is known among the Hindu in various incarnations and forms. As per as the figure of the goddess is concerned she has ten arms, three eyes and each of arms bear a weapon. Ten of her arms represent ten directions in Hinduism and it signifies that the goddess protects her devotees from all direction and all harms.
She has three eyes. (I have made only two). The left arm represents desire, the right eye represents action and the central eye represents fire. The goddess is bound on a lion. A lion on the other hand symbolises power, determination and will. Thus it can be said that as the goddess has made the lion her slave it is obvious that she has power, will and determination which is suggestive of the fact that unless an individual possess the all the three qualities one will not be able to win over the demon of ego. All the arms which she holds in her ten arms is also symbolic and each has a separate meaning associated with it.
Thus it can be concluded saying that Goddess Durga with all her accessories is a way with the help of which the devotees are inspired to imbibe within them the spirit of power and determination of mind and character.