Indian Deities/Gods/Goddesses Part 2

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More color ……

Idol worship is followed diligently by hindus in India. There are numerous idols of Gods and Goddesses in India and idols of some very famous saints are added to the list as well.Also many of the gods or/and goddesses are also presented in many different forms as well.A lot of families also have Kuldevi or Kuldevta which simply means a particular god /goddess that the family has been worshipping for generations.




Clothing.

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Indian Clothing.

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Traditional clothing in India greatly varies across different parts of the country and is influenced by local culture,geography, climate and rural/urban settings. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men. Stitched clothes are also popular such as churidar or salwar-kameez for women, with dupatta (long scarf) thrown over shoulder completing the outfit. Salwar is often loose fitting, while churidar is a tighter cut.For men, stitched versions include kurtapyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men. In urban centers, people can often be seen in jeans, trousers, shirts, suits, kurta and variety of other fashions.

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In public and religious places, Indian dress etiquette discourages exposure of skin and wearing transparent or tight clothes Most Indian clothes are made from cotton which is ideal for the region’s hot weather. Since India’s weather is mostly hot and rainy, majority of Indians wear sandals.

Indian women perfect their sense of charm and fashion with make up and ornaments. Bindi, mehendi, earrings, bangles and other jewelry are common. On special occasions, such as marriage ceremonies and festivals, women may wear cheerful colors with various ornaments made with gold, silver or other regional stones and gems.

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Bindi is often an essential part of a Hindu woman’s make up. Worn on their forehead, some consider the bindi as an auspicious mark. Traditionally, the red bindi was worn only by married Hindu women, and colored bindi was worn by single women, but now all colors and glitter has become a part of women’s fashion. Some women wear sindoor – a traditional red or orange-red colored powder (vermilion) in the parting of their hair (locally called as mang). Sindoor is the traditional mark of a married woman for Hindus. Single Hindu women do not wear sindoor; neither do over 100 million Indian women from religions other than Hindu and agnostics/atheists who may be married.

India’s clothing styles have continuously evolved over the course of the country’s history. Ancient Vedic texts mention clothes made from barks and leaves (known as phataka).[citation needed] The 11th century BC Rig-veda mentions dyed and embroidered garments (known as paridhan and pesas respectively) and thus highlights the development of sophisticated garment manufacturing techniques during the Vedic age. In 5th century BC, Greek historian Herodotus describes the richness of the quality of Indian cotton clothes. By 2nd century AD, muslins manufactured in southern India were imported by the Roman Empire and silk cloth was one of the major exports of ancient India along with Indian spices. Stitched clothing in India was developed before 10th century AD and was further popularized in 15th century by Muslim empires in India. Draped clothing styles remained popular with India’s Hindu population while the Muslims increasingly adopted tailored garments.

During the British Raj, India’s large clothing and handicrafts industry was left paralyzed so as to make place for British industrial cloth. Consequently, Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi successfully advocated for what he termed as khadi clothing — light colored hand-woven clothes — so as to decrease reliance of the Indian people on British industrial goods.The 1980s was marked by a widespread modification to Indian clothing fashions which was characterized by a large-scale growth of fashion schools in India, increasing involvement of women in the fashion industry and changing Indian attitudes towards multiculturalism. These developments played a pivotal role in the fusion of Indian and Western clothing styles

I will post a whole section on Indian jewellery as it is a vast topic.And very exciting for me as being an Indian women, I love talking about our style of jewellery.

Phir milenge.

Rice kheer

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This being the month of April, my favorite and birth month, I am going to post an easy yet a very favorite recipe of mine – yes, its going to be a sweet called ‘kheer’ or better known as ‘rice pudding’ in English. There are a lot of variations but here’s a simple one made with rice.

RICE KHEER

Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 2 people

Ingredients

1/4 cup short/medium grained rice
4 cups whole milk (go for low fat only if absolutely necessary)
sugar to taste – I used 3 tbsp ( 1/4- 1/2 cup should be enough )
pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1-2 tbsp nuts ( I used almonds, pistachios and cashews)
4-5 raisins (or more if you like it)
1 tsp Ghee (Clarified butter,can find it any whole foods store)

Method
1.
In a saucepan, heat the ghee. Add the chopped nuts along with raisins. Set aside when raisins get plump and nuts turn reddish brown.
2.
In the same pan, roast the rice for 2-3 minutes in low heat.
3.
Now add the milk. Increase the heat to med-high and let it come to a boil.
4.
Give it an occasional stir so that the milk does not stick to the bottom. Non stick pan works great for this. Also take care not to let the milk burn. Even a little burn spoils the milk. Add sugar and give it a stir.
5.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the milk has reduced in half. Keep stirring often. You know its done when the milk has reduced and also the rice has cooked and is soft (not mushy). This process takes approximately 20-30minutes.
6.
Add rest of the ingredients – saffron, cardamom and half of the roasted nuts.
7.
Give it a stir until combined and serve garnished with the remaining nuts.

The Three Fishes.

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There were three big fishes living in a lake who were very close friends. All three of them were very different from one another. The first one believed in FATE. He thought things cannot be changed and what had to happen will happen no matter what. The second one was INTELLIGENT. He thought he knew how to solve a problem if he had one, with his intelligence. The third one was the WISE one. He thought long and hard before acting.

One day, the wise fish was happily playing around in the water, when he overheard couple of fishermen talking. “Look at that one, what a big fish… This lake is full of big fishes like this one. Let us come tomorrow and catch them.”

THe wise fish hurriedly swam to his friends to tell the news. “Let us get out of this lake before those fishermen come back. A canal I know can take us to another lake,” the wise one said.

The intelligent fish said, ” I know what to do if the fishermen come and catch me.”

The fish which believed in fate said, “Whatever has to happen will happen, I was born in this lake and I am not going to leave it.”

The wise fish didn’t want to risk his life, so he took the canal and went to another lake.

The fishermen came back the next morning and cast their net. The other two friends were caught in it along with many other fishes.

The intelligent fish thought of a way to escape, it acted as if it were dead. The fishermen threw him along with other dead fish back into the lake. But the fish which believed in fate was still jumping in the net and the fishermen struck him dead.

Moral of the Story: Intelligence wins over might.

Simply peas & potatoes.(Aloo Matar)

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Aloo means potato and Matar means peas.
Keeping in mind all the non – Indians, I am giving sme simple recipes.Things that I make when I want to keep it simple and quick.
Even so, for Indian cooking, there are some basic spices to need to have on hand.You can go and buy the smallest packets of the following:
Turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder and seeds,mustard seeds,hing(astofoetida) coriander powder,curry patta (its little green leaves
garam masala( its mix of ground up whole spices). We also use a lot of fresh green and red dried chillies, cilantro for garnish as well as to make lots of chutney along with fresh mint.Ginger garlic paste also is a regular ingredient in most dishes.

For Simply peas & potatoes you will need:

A cup of frozen peas
Two cups of diced potatoes(any kind,washed and cut)
a pinch of hing(imp as its an antiflatulent)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 green chilli slit in the middle
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tbsp oil(vegetable,canola or olive)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
a handle of cilantro leaves chopped
2 pinches of sugar
1/2 a lime or 1/4 of a lemon
salt to taste
A pinch of garam masala optional.

1) In a non-stick pan on medium flame, heat the oil then add hing,now the cumin seeds,let it turn dark brown.
2) Next add the green chilli and garlic.let the garlic turn pink.
3)Now add turmeric pwd, saute for a minute,add the potatoes, peas and saute
for 10 minutes.
4) Now add salt, sugar, lemon or lime juice and saute for another 5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
5) Sprinkle cilantro and serve.

Note: Can add more green chillies if you like it spicy.This dish can be added to a sub with cheese and grilled onions.It can also be a stuffing for a grill cheese sandwich too.

There are many variations to this dish but this is the basic and simplest.One can add ginger garlic paste instead of just chopped garlic.You can even add tomatoes and a little water to make gravy in this dish.Tomato paste works as well.Also add cauliflower or carrots with the potatoes and peas. Try it and enjoy!!

Phir Milenge!

Easy Rice.

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Indian food staple – Rice.
There are different types of rice and different methods to make it.
I want to give you a simple recipe. The simplest way to cook rice is
take one part of rice and two parts water add few drops of oil and salt
to taste. let it boil on high and then lower the heat. Cover and let it
simmer till the water has been absorbed.Serve with any gravy and enjoy.
But you have to remember that different kinds of rice require different
quantity of water.Read the instructions on the rice packet.

And if you are willing to put in some more effort, here’s another recipe.
This is how I like it.

Serves 3-4 people.
Of course accompanied with some chicken in gravy or lentil soup or even tomato soup.

Ingredients:
Basmati rice – 1 cup
water – 2 cups
1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
1/2 inch piece of cinnamon
2 medium sized dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon clarified butter(better known as ghee)
Salt to taste.

You can use butter instead of ghee or olive oil can be a healthy choice.If you use oil just 2 tsp will do.

1) Wash and soak the rice 10 minutes to half hour.
2)Slice the red onion and gather your ingredients.
3)In a pan heat the ghee/butter/oil, add cumin seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon.
4)When the seeds turn dark brown, add onions and fry till they turn pink.
5)Strain the rice and add to the onions and roast them for a minute.
6)Add the 2 cups of water and salt to taste.
7)On a medium flame, let the rice come to a full boil.
8)Now lower the heat, cover partially and let the water get absorbed completely,
the rice is now ready to eat.

Note:You can add add frozen peas/diced carrots/diced potatoes(sliced green chillies too if you like a bite to your food) to make it a simple pulao or more nutritious for kids.
Enjoy!!