Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diwali in Nepal...

In Nepal...

Surrounded by majestic Himalayas, Nepal, is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society and the only Hindu Kingdom of the world. Hindus in Nepal celebrate the Diwali festival with bright lights, gift exchanges, fireworks, and elaborate feasts to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of light and wealth. Various houses and shop front in Katmandu, Nepal, displays the bright lights typical of Hindu communities during Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated here with the usual Hindu festivities and rituals. Diwali in Nepal is known as Tihar. Just like most places in India Diwali is celebrated here to honor the goddess of wealth and god of prosperity-Lakshmi and Ganesh respectively. The festival here continues for five days. Every day has its special significance. The first day is dedicated to cows as they cook rice and feed the cows believing that goddess Lakshmi comes on cows. The second day is for Dogs as the Vahana of Bhairava. Preparation of delicious food especially meant for the dog is a typical characteristic of the day. Lights and lamps are lit to illuminate the entire surrounding and some of the specialty items are prepared to mark the third day of the festival. Fireworks, Lamps and crackers are widely used. The fourth day is dedicated to Yama, the Hindu God of Death. He is prayed for long life. The fifth final day is Bhhaya Dooj dedicated for the brothers who are wished long life and prosperity by their sisters.
Delicacies are:



Shikarni (Shrikhand in maharashtra)


Ingredients

200 gm of Yogurt

1 gm Saffron

5 gm Cinnamon

40 gm Sugar

5 gm Cardamom

5 gm Almond

3 gm Black Pepper

Method:

Tie yogurt in a muslin cloth and let all the water content drain off.

Mix the yogurt with sugar, powdered cinnamon, cardamom, cardamom, black pepper saffron and whip.

Strain the remaining moisture content with the muslin cloth and serve chilled topped with Almond or any other dry fruits.
 
 
 
Nepali Vegetable Momo


Ingredients:

Dough for wrappers:
3 cup All-purpose flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Pinch of salt

Filling:
3 cups assorted vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, carrot, green peas, red pepper, green pepper), finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon timur
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh red chilies, minced
1 cup cottage cheese (paneer), roughly crushed
2 tablespoon clarified butter
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 tablespoon water-flour mixture (thickening agent)
Salt to taste

Instructions:
For Dough:
In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well, knead until the dough becomes homogeneous in texture, about 8-10 min. Cover and let stand for at least 30 min. Knead well again before staging the wrappers.

For Filling:
In a non-stick pan heat clarified butter, splitter fenugreek until it turns dark. Add chopped onions and sautee until just slightly light brown. Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, and chilies. Fry for 30 sec. Put vegetables and stir-fry until slightly soft. Do NOT over stir-fry the vegetables. Salt and pepper the vegetable mixture. Add cheese, green onions and cilantro, mix well. To solidify the vegetable mixture, add one tablespoon of flour-water mixture. Mix the mass over until thickened. Transfer the vegetable filling into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow cooling.

Put it together:
Give the dough a final knead. Prepare 1-in. dough balls. Take a ball, roll between your palms to spherical shape. Dust working board with dry flour. On the board gently flatten the ball with your palm to about 2-in circle. Make a few semi-flattened circles, cover with a bowl. Use a rolling pin to roll out each flattened circle into a wrapper.
For well excecuted MOMOs, it is essential that the middle portion of the wrapper be slightly thicker than the edges to ensure the structural integrity of dumplings during packing and steaming. Hold the edges of the semi-flattened dough with one hand and with the other hand begin rolling the edges of the dough out, swirling a bit at a time. Continue until the wrapper attains 3-in diameter circular shape. Repeat with the remaining few semi-flattened dough. Cover with bowl to prevent from drying.
For packing hold wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of the filling mixture and with the other hand bring all edges together to the center, making the pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling. This holds the key to good tasting, juicy dumplings.
Heat up a steamer, oil the steamer rack well. This is critical because it will prevent dumplings from sticking. Arrange uncooked MOMOs in the steamer. Close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 8-10 min. Take the dumplings off the steamer, and immediately serve.
To serve, arrange the cooked MOMOs on a plate dressed with an ample amount of hot tomato achar.

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