Roundup of Recipes for Basant Panchami Saraswati Puja

Basant Panchami Saraswati Puja - Bengali Recipes


February 13, 2016 is celebrated as Basant Panchami Saraswati Puja in parts of Bengal and Bihar. I was rather unaware of this festival till I met Madhumita, a who is now one of my closest friends. A Bengali to the core, Madhumita and her family are also responsible for introducing me to many lesser-known delights of Bengali Cuisine. Every year, without fail, Madhumita will remind me of Saraswati Puja and Durga Puja; and this year was no different.

I will try to make something uniquely commemorative of the festival tomorrow, but in the meantime, here is round-up of a few vegetarian recipes that can be made to celebrate Basant Panchami Saraswati Puja.


Amti – Maharashtrian Style Tuvar Dal with Kokum and Coconut

Maharashtrian Tuvar Dal Amti

I have been banned from eating tamarind for a while. As a result, the regular Sambar and Pulusu are off the menu in my home. And that is a problem as they are regular fare. :) So I have been subsisting on all kinds of dals: Tomato Pappu, Palak Dal, Lasooni Dal, Hare Lehsun ki Dal, Varan, and more…

However, I do miss the tangy taste of tamarind. So I timidly broached the subject with my doctor when he suggested that I could occasionally use Kokum and you should have seen me beaming. 😀 😀

So this past weekend, I made Amti, which is a simple and super tasty tuvar dal flavoured with Kokum, Coconut, and Goda Masala. It is super simple to make and super tasty. I made it along with Batatachya Kaap or Maharashtrian style pan-fried Potato Slices. Simply heaven!

Amti - Maharashtrian Style Tuvar Dal with Kokum and Coconut
Prep time
Cook time
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Amti is a Mharashtrian style tuvar dal flavoured with coconut, Goda Masala, and Kokum.
Recipe type: Mains
Cuisine: Indian, Maharashtrian
Serves: 4 Cups
  • Tuvar Dal - 1 Cup
  • Kokum - 3
  • Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Tomato - 1
  • Goda Masala - 1 tsp
  • Grated Jaggery - 2 tbsp
  • Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - ¼ tsp
  • Rai or Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Jeera or Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Hing - A Large Pinch
  • Curry Leaves - A Few
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste
Method to Cook the Tuvar Dal
  1. Wash the tuvar dal well till the water runs clear.
  2. Soak the tuvar dal in 2 cups water for about 10 minutes. It helps the tuvar dal cooks quickly and well.
  3. Pressure cook the dal for 4 to 5 whistles.
  4. Mash the dal completely. When mashed with a ladle, the dal should get completely mashed.
  5. Set aside.
Other Preparations
  1. Chop the tomato to fine pieces.
Method to Make Tuvar Dal Amti
  1. In a pan, heat the ghee.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and fry till the change colour.
  4. Add the curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  5. Add the tomato pieces.
  6. Stir-fry till the pieces are well-stewed and mashed.
  7. Add the hing, turmeric, Goda masala and red chilli powder.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Add the mashed dal and a little water (if required).
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add the kokum.
  12. Let the Tuvar Dal Amti simmer a bit till it changes colour because of the kokum. The Amti will become darker in colour.
  13. Turn off the heat.
  14. Add the grated jaggery, coconut and salt.
  15. Mix well.
  16. Serve with rice and ghee, or then chapati.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4


Tur Dal Amti - Maharashtrian Style Dal

Veg Sherva or Shorba – A Side Dish for Vegetarian Pulao

Vegetarian Sherva or Shorba - Side Dish for Veg Pulav

Vegetarian Pulav is very mildly spiced  and needs an accompaniment to liven it up. The most common way to do that is with Papad or Raita. However, sometimes you might crave something spicy to accompany you crave something spicy to accompany the Veg Pulao and this where the Sherva helps.

Sherva is a spicy onion and tomato based gravy that is served as an accompaniment to Biryani and Pulao. It can be make it plain as shown in this recipe or then add potatoes or chicken to it. I usually like Sherva with Pulao as I feel Biryani is already spicy and anyway, it is just too many tastes. This week, I made Sherva to accompany Ragi Sangati which I am eating regularly.

Veg Sherva or Shorba - A Side Dish for Vegetarian Pulao
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Veg Sherva is a spicy tomato and onion-based gravy that is an excellent accompaniment or side dish to mild Veg Pulao or Qabooli.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
To Grind Together
  • Finely Sliced Onions - 1.5 Cups
  • Finely Chopped Tomatoes - ¾ Cup
  • Desiccated Coconut - 3 tbsp
  • Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 1 tsp
  • Grated Ginger - ¾ tsp
  • Grated Garlic - ¾ tsp
  • Mint Leaves - 10 to 12
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
Other Spices
  • Bay Leaf - 2
  • Black Cardamon - 1
  • Green Cardamom - 3
  • Shah Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Cloves - 4
  • Cinnamon - 1.5" piece
  • Mace - 2 small pieces
  • Roasted Cumin Powder - ½ tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric - ¼ tsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste
Method to Make the Sherva Paste
  1. Over a medium flame. heat a broad-bottomed pan.
  2. Add the oil to it. Let the oil heat a bit.
  3. Add the sliced onions and fry till the onions start to change colour.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chillies.
  5. Stir-fry for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Add the mint leaves and stir-fry for a few seconds.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes.
  8. Stir-fry till the tomato pieces are stewed and soft.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Add the desiccated coconut.
  11. Mix well and set aside.
  12. After the mix cools, grind to a smooth paste. [i]Add a little water, if required. I normally do not without any water because the onions and tomatoes have enough moisture.[/b]
Method to Make the Vegetarian Sherva
  1. In the same pan, in which you cooked the Sherva paste, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Add the bay leaves.
  3. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 seconds.
  4. Add the cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera, and mace.
  5. Stir-fry till the aroma of the spices is released.
  6. Add the ground Sherva paste.
  7. Stir-fry till it changes to a darker colour and the oil starts to leave the sides.
  8. Add the red chilli, turmeric, cumin, and coriander powders.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Add 2 Cups water and salt.
  11. Let the Sherva simmer till it thickens a bit.
  12. Serve warm with Vegetable Pulao or Qubooli.
If you have Biryani Masala with you, you can use it in place of the dry spices.

I have seen some Sherva recipes that use Dahi or Yogurt. If you want to add Dahi, then add about 2 tbsp after the paste has been sauteed.Saute well till the dahi is mixed with the paste. Then add the water and simmer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4

Veg Sherva or Shorba

Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam or Pachadi – Andhra Style Green Chilli Chutney

Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam Pachadi - Andhra Style Green Chilli Chutney

Mention “Roti Pachadi” to any Andhra and you will see them smile from ear to ear. :) “Roti Pachadi” literally means chutneys made using a mortar and pestle. Using the traditional traditional grinding stone, gives chutneys a unique taste and texture that a mixer-grinder cannot replicate. I have been meaning to document the rich collection of “Roti Pachallu” and here is a great start.

Yesterday, I made Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam Pachadi (Andhra Style Green Chilli Chutney) using this traditional way after ages and the result was amazing.

Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam is very very spicy and just a dab of it is enough to satisfy any craving for spicy food. I ate it as a side for Mudda Pappu Annam yesterday.

You could also try the Maharashtrian-style Green Chilli Pickle or Hirvi Mirchi cha Thecha.

Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam or Pachadi - Andhra Style Green Chilli Chutney
Prep time
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Pachi Mirapakaya Kharam is very very spicy and just a dab of it is enough to satisfy any craving for spicy food.
Recipe type: Chutney
Cuisine: Indian, Andhra Pradesh
Serves: ½ Cup
  • Spicy Green Chillies or Pachi Mirapakayalu - 30
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves or Kothimeera - 3 Handfuls
  • Rai, Mustard Seeds or Avalu- 1 tsp
  • Methi, Fenugreek Seeds or Menthulu - ¼ tsp
  • Oil - 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste
  1. Ensure that the green chillies are dry. I dried them on a cotton cloth for about 2 hours. Do not cut the chillies. Keep them whole.
  2. Ensure that the fresh coriander is dry. I dried them on a cotton cloth for about 1 hour. Do not dry it longer or it will wilt.
  3. In a shallow pan, heat the oil.
  4. Turn the heat down to low-medium.
  5. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they start to pop.
  6. Add the fenugreek seeds and saute till they start to change colour.
  7. Add the green chillies.
  8. Saute till they start to change colour. Ensure that the heat is low-medium, otherwise the green chillies will pop.
  9. Add the coriander and saute till it wilts.
  10. Turn off the heat and let the mix cool to room temperature.
  11. If you are using a mixer-grinder, pulse to a coarse paste along with some salt.
    If you are using a mortar and pestle, grind in small batches to a coarse paste. Do not pound as the green chilli pieces will fly.
  12. Enjoy with rice, roti, idli, or upma.
If the green chillies are wet, damp or cut, they will start "exploding" as you saute them.

If the chillies start popping, just cover the pan with a plate for a few minutes.

Do not grind into a smooth paste. The Pachi Mirapakaya Pachadi should be coarse in texture.

Eat with caution as it is very spicy.

If you want variety, add some mint leaves.


Pulihora Pulusu – A Recipe from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Pulihora Pulusu - Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Special Recipe

Pulihora Pulusu, as the name suggests, is a gravy that is made from the tamarind paste used to make Chintapandu Pulihora or Tamarind Rice. Pulihora Pulusu is quite popular in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as a tangy accompaniment to rice. The taste is the same as that of Pulihora but far more tangy.  The advantage that you have is that you can adjust the amount of pulusu you add to rice.

Another great way to eat Pulihora Pulusu is as an accompaniment to Ragi Sangati, Idli, or Dosa. If you make this pulusu very thick, yu can store it and use it as a ready-mix for Pulihora; much like the Pulikachal of Tamil Nadu.

I made this dish at the request of one of the followers of my blog, Dr. Srisudha. She actually asked me for this recipe ages ago, but I quite forgot about it till she reminded me again this past weekend. Here you are Dr. Srisudha. Hope you like it. :)

Pulihora Pulusu - A Recipe from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Prep time
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Pulihora Pulusu is a tangy tamarind-based gravy that is used as accompaniment for rice, idli, or dosa in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is essentially the same gravy used to make Chintapandu Pulihora or Tamarind Rice, just thinner in consistency.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh, Indian
Serves: 4
  • Tamarind - 2" Ball
    Thick Tamarind Pulp - ⅓ Cup
  • Peanuts - A Handful
  • Udad Dal or Minapappu - 1 tsp
  • Chana Dal or Senaga Pappu - 1 tsp
  • Rai or Avalu - 1 tsp
  • Red Chillies - 2 or 3
  • Green Chillies - 2 or 3
  • Curry Leaves - 10 or 12
  • Hing or Asafoetida or Inguva - A Large Pinch
  • Grated Jaggery - 1 tsp
  • Haldi, Turmeric, or Pasupu - ½ tsp
  • Sesame Oil or Nuvvula Nune - 1.5 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste
Method to Make Tamarind Pulp (If you are using tamarind)
  1. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup hot water for about 15 minutes.
  2. After 15 minutes, using your hands, mash the tamarind well.
  3. Squeeze the tamarind to extract the pulp.
  4. Add 1 cup of warm water to the tamarind.
  5. Once again, squeeze out a second round of pulp.
  6. Discard the tamarind. You can use this leftover tamarind to clean brass idols and vessels.
Method to Make Pulihora Pulusu
  1. If you are using readymade tamarind paste, dissolve it in 2 cups of water.
    Use the tamarind water madeusing the procedure above.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, heat the oil.
  3. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  4. Add the udad and chana dals.
  5. Fry till light golden brown.
  6. Add the peanuts and fry till the peanuts start to pop.
  7. Add the slit green chillies, split red chillies, and curry leaves. Be careful because the moisture in the curry leaves will cause the oil o splutter a bit.
  8. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 seconds till the chillies start to change colour.
  9. Add the turmeric and asafoetida.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add the tamarind water and salt.
  12. Over a low flame, let the Pulihora Pulusu simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes.
  13. When the Pulihora Pulusu thickens a bit and loses the raw taste of the tamarind, turn off the heat.
  14. Add the grated jaggery and mix well till it dissolves.
  15. Serve hot with steam rice, idli, or dosa.
If you have Pulihora Pulusu and want to make Chintapandu Pulihora (Tamarind Rice), just heat it and simmer till it becomes a thick gravy. Mix with steamed rice.

You could also add some Nuvvula Podi to the Pulihora Pulusu to give it a different taste.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4





Thalipeeth - Maharashtrian Speciality


Thalipeeth is a traditional Maharashtrian pancake made with flour of multiple grains. There are very many variations of the Thalipeeth Bhajani  or Thalipeeth Flour. But essentially, it is a mix of rice flour with other flours such as jowar, bajra, udad dal, wheat, ragi, etc.

Here is a Thalipeeth Bhajani that I have used and like very much

You get ready-made bhajani very easily everywhere in Mumbai. Some popular brands include Bedekar or my personal favourite Bhagirathi Products.

The thing about Thalipeeth is that it is very healthy, nutritious, and absolutely yummy!!

Preparation Time: 10 Mins

Cooking Time (Per Thalipeeth): 10 Mins

Makes: 8 Thalipeeth


  1. Thalipeeth Bhajani – 3 Cups
  2. Onion – 2 Medium
  3. Green Chillies – 4 to 6
  4. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Chopped Coriander Leaves – A Handful
  7. Oil for cooking the Thalipeeth
  8. Salt to Taste


  1. Peel and chop the onions to fine pieces.
  2. Chop the green chillies to fine pieces.
  3. Mix the thalipeeth bhajani, onions, green chillies, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, and coriander leaves.
  4. Add enough water and kenad into a moist but firm dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
  6. Roll each portion into a ball.
  7. Grease a sheet of foil with a few drops of oil.
  8. Place a ball of dough on the foil.
  9. With a moist hand, firmly press down on the dough and spread it out evenly into a thick pancake.
  10. Make 4 or 5 evenly spaced cuts or holes on the surface of the pancake.
  11. Heat a tava/griddle.
  12. Add 1/2 tsp of oil and spread evenly.
  13. Place the thalipeeth on the hot tava.
  14. Drizzle a little oil along the edges of the Thalipeeth and in the cuts on the surface.
  15. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The side touching the tava should brown while the top side should start to dry.
  16. Flip the thalipeeth over to cook the other side.
  17. Drizzle a little oil along the edges of the pancake and in the cuts on the surface.
  18. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.
  19. Serve hot with white butter or dahi/curd/yoghurt.

Green chilli pickle mixed with curd is an awesome accompaniment to  thalipeeth. :-)

My Favourite Accompaniment for Thalipeeth

  1. Beat 1 cup of dahi or yogurt till smooth.
  2. Add 1 tsp of Green Chilli Pickle and some salt to it.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Serve with hot Thalipeeth.

Ragi Sangati, Ragi Mudde or Ragi Kali

Ragi Sangati - Andhra Style Ragi Mudde or Ragi Kali

Ragi is a miracle food. It is loaded with calcium, fibre, iron, and Vitamin D. As a result, it helps in weight-loss, treating anemia, strengthening the bones, reducing cholestrol, and much much more. It also helps cool the body. In fact, it is very easy to incorporate Ragi into any meal that you wish. You could make Ragi Dosa or Ragi Malt/Ambali for breakfast, or then Ragi Roti, which can be used as an alternative to rotis or chapatis.

If you are a rice eater, try making Ragi Sangati, which can be used in place of rice. Ragi Sangati is very popular in Andhra Pradesh, especially in rural households where it is used as a substitute for rice. It is made by boiling Ragi flour with a touch of salt and a little rice till the mix starts to form a ball (mudda). It is then quickly rolled into a ball with a wet hand and then doused with a dollop of ghee. It can be served with any pappu (dal), pachadi (chutney), or pulusu (sambar) as a side dish.

Ragi Sangati tends to be dense in texture and is best eaten as soon as it is made. It is also an acquired taste, so I would recommend that you start eating it in small steps. Because of its cooling properties, many avoid eating Ragi in cooler weather.

Ragi Sangati is very similar to Ragi Mudde made in Karnataka or Ragi Kali made in Tamil Nadu. The only difference is that while Sangati uses some rice, neither Ragi Mudde nor Ragi Kali has any rice in it.

Ragi Sangati, Ragi Mudde or Ragi Kali
Cook time
Total time
Ragi Sangati is essentially Ragi flour and rice boiled in water till it is thick enough to form a ball. It is served with dals, chutneys, or sambar as accompaniment. It is one of the easiest ways of incorporating Ragi into your diet.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
Serves: 4
  • Ragi Flour - ⅔ Cup
  • Rice - 1 tbsp
  • Water - 1.75 Cups
  • Salt - ½ tsp or to Taste
  1. One a medium flame, boil the water with the rice till the rice is cooked.
  2. Add salt and mix well.
  3. Lower the flame.
  4. Add ragi flour and mix well.
  5. Continue to cook on low heat while stirring till the dough comes together as a ball.
  6. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Wet your hand using cold water.
  8. Quickly divide the Ragi Sangati dough into 4 parts.
  9. Roll each part of Ragi Sangati into a ball.
To Serve the Ragi Sangati
  1. Make a small indent in the Ragi Sangati mudda.
  2. Add some ghee into the indent.
  3. Serve with any dal or chutney. I ate this with Tomato Pappu and Beerakaya Pachadi.
I used a short-cut. I used steamed rice that I had and used just 1.25 cups of water. This worked beautifully.

To make Ragi Mudde or Ragi Kali, omit the rice and use just 1.25 cups of water.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4