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Every year, during Ashtami my daughter gets invited to various neighbors and friends homes as a Kanjak. And every year she comes back home with goody bags filled with gifts and lots of ashtami Prasad; the good old Chana, Puri and Halwa.
I always used to wonder why this combination, until a blogger friend Krishna's grandma revealed its relevance.
1. Puri, Chole and Halwa makes for a full meal and because it is prepared with desi ghee, it boosts our immunity for the weather change
2. Back in the days, when gender inequality was prevalent, this was the kind of feast girls enjoyed the most.
3. These 3 food items have the least risk of contamination and are easy to prepare in the morning.
4. The most popular one being, these are Durga Ma's favorite food items and inviting kanjak's means inviting Mata to your house and offering her favorite food items.
Now my daughter and her friends start at 7 in the morning and go house to house, of course where ever they are invited. By the time they reach their 3rd house, they cannot eat anymore of the asthami prasad. However delicious it is, kids can get bored of eating the same thing over and over in the span of a few hours. Why just kids, even we would.
And so, this year, I would like to suggest to my dear friends and neighbors to add a twist to the regular Ashtami Prasad so that Kanjak’s will savour it despite the repetition. And I hope Mata also wouldn't mind a little variation. She is our mother after all!
The first variation is, instead of kala chana and poori, why not offer mini kala chana tikkis or even mini kala chana parathas with dahi.
And second one is, instead of sooji ka halwa, why not try sooji cake? All kids love to eat cake. And this they would eat with most relish.
So here is the recipe of Sooji Cake which if made into cup cakes will be an even bigger hit.
Sooji/Rava/Semolina- 2 cups
Curd (not sour) – 2 Cups
Sunflower oil – 1 cup (I prefer to use Sunny Lite Sunflower oil which is fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids and Antioxidants)
Powdered Sugar – 1 and ½ cup (may add ½ cup more if you like more sweet)
Baking powder – 1 and ½ teaspoonfuls
Baking Soda – ½ teaspoonfuls
Saffron strands – a pinch
Salt – a pinch
Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoonful
Chopped Almonds – For garnish
Grease a cake tin with oil and dust with flour and keep aside. If you are making cup cakes then line the cup cake try with cup cake liners and keep aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius.
In a bowl mix together oil and powdered sugar. Add curd and whisk again. Add saffron strands and vanilla essence and Sooji and mix so that no lumps remain. The batter should be like dosa batter consistency. If you feel its thick, you may add a little water.
Let this mixture sit for about 30 minutes. At this point the batter may have thickened a bit and you can add a little water to make it pourable.
Then add baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour this mixture in the cake tin, or add 1 tablespoon batter into each cup cake mould.
Sprinkle chopped almonds on top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Please note that baking time may vary from oven to oven so keep a check after 20 minutes.
Hope, this year the Kanjak’s will be pleasantly surprised with this treat. Happy Navratri!
NOTE: You may add 1/4th cup desiccated coconut in this recipe to add more flavour to this cake.